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Monday, September 08, 2008

Join Me at Park Ridge VFW Veterans Town Hall Meeting on TBI/PTSD Brain Scan Imaging

This Tuesday, I'll be taking part in a veterans' issues town hall meeting hosted by the Park Ridge VFW #3579 ("Illinois' Friendliest VFW Post") and State Senator Dan Kotowski. Kotowski has been a great champion of area veterans, his leadership bringing together the Northwest Suburban Veterans Advisory Council, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the federal VA, private health care and local community members in common cause.

These groups are now all working together to provide this area with a Military Support System and model PTSD diagnosis and treatment program administered by The Vet Center at Alexian Brothers Medical Center.

It's an exceptional resource for the community.

The Center's new Veterans Imaging Program [VIP] is using state-of-the-art brain imaging or mapping technology – more powerful than a standard CAT scan – called MEG to detect the neurobiological signs of PTSD. MEG promises to quickly and accurately spot these brain changes found in PTSD patients in a completely non-invasive way. And this same technology can be used to help detect traumatic brain injury.

We'll be talking about both PTSD and TBI tomorrow night, and I invite you to join us if you're in the area.

[UPDATE Sept. 28, 2008]: A surprise guest, IL Director of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth, very easily and graciously upstaged all of the rest of us. A top thrill for me of the year to have the chance to share a few moments with her and to thank her for her service to us both in and out of uniform. Photos:

vfw_01 vfw_02 vfw_05 vfw_07 vfw_08 vfw_06

In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.


Kotowski to host town hall meeting on veterans’ issues

WHAT: Illinois Senator Dan Kotowski, 33rd District will join with a panel of experts to provide information and consultation for veterans and family members on a wide variety of veterans’ issues, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), its treatment, and the services that are available to veterans in our communities.

WHO: Sen. Kotowski, Ilona Meagher, author of the book “Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops,” representatives from a model PTSD program at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Warrior Assistance Program. The Warrior Assistance Program provides confidential assistance for Illinois Veterans as they transition back to their everyday lives after serving our country.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2008

WHERE: Park Ridge VFW Post #3579, 10 W. Higgins Rd., Park Ridge, IL

RSVP: Reservations can be made by calling Sen. Kotowski’s legislative office at (847) 797-1192. Veterans and family members are encouraged to attend.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Patrick Corcoran (847) 687-7579

More on the Veterans Imaging Program in a June Chicago Tribune piece written by Kristen Kridel:

An Elk Grove Village hospital plans to use brain-imaging technology to determine whether combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder also might suffer from undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries.

A "magnetic stethoscope" primarily used to study epilepsy and autism will help determine how brain function is altered by PTSD, officials at Alexian Brothers Medical Center said Wednesday.

The MEG technology—short for magnetoencephalography—allows doctors to read magnetic signals produced by the brain when exposed to visual or auditory stimuli, said Jeffrey Lewine, director of the Alexian Center for Brain Research.Those signals appear to differ in a veteran who only has PTSD compared with one who has PTSD and traumatic brain injury, Lewine said.

The combination can be hard to diagnose but critically affect proper treatment, according to Lewine. "You have to know what you're treating to get the right treatment," Lewine said. "Behavioral testing doesn't always distinguish the different components. We need to look at the biology." ...

The Elk Grove hospital's veterans imaging program will be part of an expanded support system aimed at serving veterans in the northwest suburbs suffering from duty-related neurological and psychiatric problems, officials said.

Participating in the hospital's effort are the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Administration and the Northwest Suburban Veterans Advisory Council.

State funding approved last year targets veterans with PTSD, officials said.

"Isn't it about time we do this in the United States of America?" said state Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), who sponsored the legislation.

"This is the one thing we can agree on." ...

Researchers will use MEG with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG), Lewine said. Together, the technologies will allow clinicians to generate sophisticated 3-D images of brain activity.

It's important to know which medical issues a soldier is dealing with because treatments differ. Those suffering from both afflictions would be oversensitive to medications usually prescribed for someone with only PTSD.

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