Two senators filed a bill in the Senate Dec. 9 that would create a pilot program for an innovative technology, Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy, to address medical challenges for veterans with severe brain and emotional injuries.
“Our veterans sacrificed everything to defend our freedoms and it is our responsibility to make sure they get the care they were promised,” said Sen. David A. Perdue (R.-Ga.), who was joined by Sen. Gary Peters (D.-Mich.) in submitting the bill, which is the companion to a bill that passed the House Nov. 29 on a voice vote.
Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy, which has acquired the slang “brain zapping” among military and veteran patients, pulses energy at the brain with the effect of calibrating neuron connections, so that the brain’s wires are tuned up like a guitar and functioning as they were before the patient’s troubles began.
More than 400 veterans have been treated in non-governmental programs, such as the one at the Brain Treatment Center, an affiliate of the University of Southern California’s Center for Neurorestoration that treats veterans without charge.
Dr. Charles Y. Liu, the director of the USC Neurorestoration Center, said, “At present, the medical establishment has not found a way to truly change the fundamental course of many of the physical and cognitive challenges our veteran’s experience.”
Yin, who is also a professor of neurological surgery, neurology, and biomedical engineering at USC’s Keck Medical School said, “Neuromodulation is broadly viewed as the only clear pathway to a scalable solution to treating large numbers of patients. Magnetic EEG/EKG-guided resonance therapy is the only patient-specific, non-pharmaceutical, non-invasive neuromodulation strategy of which I am aware that has the potential to dramatically alter the prospects of our veterans in this way.”
One veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, retired Marine Col. Jeff Lindquist, said the Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy succeeded, where other programs did not produce results.
Lindquist said in the 10 years since he retired from the Marines he has struggled with PTSD, chronic pain, opioid dependence, depression, and insomnia.
“Not only has this treatment option helped me to manage the impact of these seemingly intractable conditions, it has also been a game-changer for members of my family and close Corps friends, who have struggled with substance dependence and mental health issues,” the colonel said.
Perdue said the pilot program would be administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but it already has been endorsed by leaders in the active-duty military force.
“If successful, this pilot program could set a new treatment standard for veterans dealing with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said. “It is our duty to support our veterans and improve their health care options, and I look forward to doing all I can to advance this pilot program.”
Peters, who served as Navy supply officer, reaching the rank of lieutenant commander, said he joined Perdue in filing the bill because so many veterans are held back by conditions they acquired during military service.
“The effects of traumas, like PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, chronic pain, and opiate addiction weighs heavily on many of American’s veterans,” Peters said.
“Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy technology has significant potential to successfully treat these conditions, and establishing a pilot program with the Department of Veterans Affairs will allow our veterans to benefit from this new medical advancement.”
The reality of the legislative calendar means that it is unlikely for Congress to reconvene before the current session expires. But supporters of the bill urged senators Perdue and Peters to formally submit the bill to the Senate, so that relevant committees and senators who track veterans legislation were aware of the bill and the program going into the new congressional session.
In the past, members of Congress have urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to incorporate the Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy into its programs, but VA officials insisted on clinical trials–a problem solved by the Perdue and Peters bill, which was championed in the House by Rep. Stephen T. Knight (R.-CA).
The program spelled out in the bill itself would be set up at two different medical centers operated by the VA for one year. Up to 50 veterans would receive Magnetic EEG/ECG-Guided Resonance Therapy in a monitored and individualized non-pharmaceutical, non-invasive neuromodulation procedure that applies magnetic stimulation to help facilitate neurorestoration of proper brain function.