An interesting study is underway, funded by the Department of Defense, looking into whether or not dogs help sooth soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This is only one of the many medical research projects that they are pouring millions into.
The study will be conducted by research psychologist Craig Love through the Walter Reed Army Medical Center along with Joan Esnayra the founder of Psychiatric Service Dog Society. Dogs used by the Society have been assisting people with a variety of mental illnesses since the late 1990′s with about 10,000 dogs in use at this point.
Love and Esnayra surveyed 39 people with PTSD who were teamed with psychiatric service dogs.
Eighty-two percent have reported fewer PTSD symptoms since they have had the dogs, and 40 percent said they were using fewer medications.
“The longer the team had been together, the more likely they were reducing symptoms and medications,” Esnayra said.
But the researchers said they had often faced skepticism from the scientific community about the value of the dogs.
“It’s too touchy-feely,” Esnayra said.
That didn’t deter the Defense Department.
“Sometimes the scientific community is conservative,” said Capt. E. Melissa Kaime, director of the Defense Department’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.
“Where there’s a good idea but not much data, we’re willing to take a risk.”
Source: KansasCity.com – Defense Department finances study that pairs dogs with troops suffering PTSD
picture courtesy of Garvey Scott