DAYTON Ohio (WDTN) — Wright State University was just awarded $160,000 for clinical trials.

WSU researchers will use the funding to conduct a stage 1 clinical trial using electroencephalogram transcranial magnetic stimulation (eTMS) to treat the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans and first responders.

Matt Sherwood, Ph.D., a research associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology at Wright State will lead the trial. Wave Neuroscience is sponsoring the trial conducted by Sherwood and a team of four Wright State graduate students.

According to a press release from WSU, Wave Neuroscience applied for funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to conduct the FDA clinical trial. The company is also responsible for developing the software that interprets EEG recordings, which determine the stimulation parameters that are used for the personalized protocol.

The team will gather data on the effects of eTMS on a group of 30 people who have PTSD. Trial organizers claim the benefit of eTMS as a treatment for PTSD is that it is a non-invasive treatment and highly localized. Sherwood said this gives eTMS an advantage over taking medication, which is distributed throughout the entire body.

“PTSD occurs when exposure to a traumatic event causes the brain to develop abnormal neural pathways, which lead to heightened emotional responses and social anxiety. These responses can be triggered by stimuli that remind a person of the traumatic event,” said Sherwood.

According to researchers, when beginning treatment, the patient receives a baseline brain activity recording to establish individualized stimulation parameters. The treatment involves a small black coil positioned over the patient’s head and emits a magnetic field in a cyclical-based paradigm that non-invasively stimulates that brain for 20 minutes each session. The treatment is repeated 20 times over five weeks.

“The treatment area of the magnetic field is about a one-centimeter sphere which induces an electrical field with it,” said Sherwood. “The electrical field causes sodium and other chemicals to move with it, which may have the potential to change brain activity at the neuronal level, to help drive normal responses to everyday emotional events.”

After researchers collect and submit the data, they will begin the second phase of the research project. The second phase will be a controlled study involving a sham group and an active group. The goal of the second phase will be to determine the efficacy of the treatment.

WSU researchers hope to achieve FDA approval of eTMS. This would enable third-party billing for the treatment of PTSD.