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Brainiac

Big Data: Investigating drug effectiveness

The second wave of combat helicopters of the 1st Air Cavalry Division fly over an RTO and his commander on an isolated landing zone during Operation Pershing, a search and destroy mission on the Bong Son Plain and An Lao Valley of South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. The two American soldiers are waiting for the second wave to come in. (Photo by Patrick Christain/Getty Images)
Patrick Christain/Getty Images
An isolated landing zone during Operation Pershing, a search and destroy mission during the Vietnam War.

304: That’s how many military veterans suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder were included in a major clinical trial of the effectiveness of the commonly prescribed drug, prazosin. Thousands of people with PTSD have used the drug to try to ward off the nightmares. The drug works by blocking a certain receptor in the brain, attempting to moderate the body’s natural response to stimuli. But the results of the new trial — conducted in a dozen Veterans Affairs facilities in several states over a period of six months — found that the drug was no more effective than a placebo.

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