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DOD Awards UT Health Science Center $45 Million For Global PTSD Study

UT Health Science Center

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has been chosen by the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration to lead post traumatic stress disorder studies of military members and veterans.

The STRONG STAR Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP) grant was announced by the White House along with DOD and VA officials over the weekend. It is a unified, worldwide effort to defeat combat-related PTSD.

The $45 million grant allows the UT Health Science Center to expand its existing clinical trials for treatments of PTSD but also to look more closely at its detection.

Dr. Alan Peterson, professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine and STRONG STAR-CAP Director, said new studies will start about every six months and the funding means the research can keep up with new science.

He said it could also mean landmark discoveries. 

"Some studies are looking at the genetics involved," Peterson said. "We've screened individuals before they've deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and we're now following them up to look at gene-environment interactions and factors that may be related to the development of PTSD. So, in theory, we might be able to prevent PTSD at some point in the future."

Although the funding will mainly be used to study the effects of traumatic war experiences among soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans of previous wars may become participants as well.

The UT Health Science Center will collaborate with more than 20 university and military partners from around the country that will design the studies to be conducted at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, Wilford Hall Hospital at Joint Base San Antonio, and Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Texas.

The new funding also will allow the research to expand to other facilities nationwide.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.