Some very exciting research on imagery and PTSD is about to be launched at the Durham V.A./Duke Medical Center using groundbreaking outcome measures from brain scans (fMRI’s) and neurosteroid markers with mass spectometry and radioimmunoassay.. Hello again.

Some very exciting research is about to be launched at the Durham V.A./Duke Medical Center that will look at the effects of a 12-week guided imagery intervention on women veterans suffering from PTSD from sexual trauma (a whopping 20% of women in the military, we’re told). They’ll be working with our Relaxation & Wellness imagery and our Healing Trauma imagery, and control group will be listening to the music only.

What’s most groundbreaking about this study is the way outcomes will be assessed - not only with many standardized psychological measures, such as the CAPS questionnaire and the Beck Depression Scale, but with brain imaging through functional MRI’s and with some very fancy bloodwork that looks at neurosteroid markers - far more sophisticated measures of stress than the usual salivary cortisol etc.

The study was begun by the one and only Marian ("Mimi") Butterfield MD, a prolific, creative and gifted psychiatrist and researcher, much beloved and hugely respected, who very sadly died of breast cancer just a few weeks ago, after a long battle that she was winning up until the very end. (This was how we got together, in fact. She was using the Health Journeys cancer and chemo imagery, which she found helpful, and she contacted me to thank me and ask if I’d be interested in getting some research done with guided imagery at Duke.) Luckily, a terrific post-doc fellow Mimi mentored and trained, Jennifer Strauss, PhD, who did a great deal of the work on the proposal, will be taking over and completing the study.

The study is being funded by the Samueli Institute. Wayne Jonas MD, former head of the CAM office at the NIH, is the director of this terrific organization, which funds mind-body-spirit research in rigorous, scientific fashion around the country.

So, you’ll be hearing more about this study as it comes along.

Take care and be well,