The effect of military motion-assisted memory desensitization and reprocessing treatment on the symptoms of combat-related post traumatic stress disorder: first preliminary results

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2013:191:125-7.


Although the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the general and military population seem very similar, combat-related PTSD (cr-PTSD) is typically thought to be more severe due to the repeated and prolonged exposure of traumatic events. Therapeutic adherence is reported a problem in military populations compromising treatment efficacy. Therefore, a new potential supplementary treatment is specially designed for patients with cr-PTSD. This intervention is called Military Motion Memory Desensitization and Reprocessing (3MDR). The treatment incorporates key elements of successful treatments as Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and adds motion to the condition. We aimed at designing a treatment procedure that preserved dual task processing principle, yet introduced new engagement by performing the desensitization during motion by to walking on a treadmill. Moreover, we aimed at exposure to real high-affect pictures of deployment setting. Subjects walk a repetitive cycle while walking and viewing high affect pictures of deployment scenes. Dual task processing was maintained by an oscillating ball. Aspects of presence are adhered to, to maximize possible positive outcome.

Method: Two veterans with chronic PTSD, received four weekly sessions of 3MDR therapy. The indicator of effectiveness was difference in CAPS (Clinical Administrated PTSD Scale)-score. The treatment was designed on the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN) facility.

Results: The 3MDR treatment did further decrease PTSD symptoms. Patients were highly satisfied about the treatment and had no attention to drop out.

Conclusion: The results of the two cases suggest that the 3MDR treatment is a successful, more additional treatment that goes further into the patients affect where other treatment may stagnate. The presence was highly appreciated. Further research with more patients needs to be performed to obtain more reliable results.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis
  • Combat Disorders / psychology*
  • Combat Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy / methods*
  • Young Adult