For an increasing number of soldiers-unfortunately-the real battle begins after they return home. So far this year, the Army has recorded an average of one suicide per day-and 18 percent increase over the same period a year ago. In June, the number of suicides among active-duty soldiers spiked at 26, the highest number in a single month since the military began keeping records.
The alarming trend has sparked a new effort to confront the problem from within the ranks and some are hoping the latest weapon might be a nasal spray.
The Army has awarded researchers at the University of Indiana's School of Medicine $3 million for development of thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH.
The hormone has been shown to have antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects but cannot be injected or ingested orally. Dr. Michael Kubek, who leads the research team, uncovered a breakthrough by using nanoparticle technology. The new tech allows microscope particles to break the "blood-brain" barrier, releasing the drug slowly into the brain as needed. To deliver the particles, Kubek and his team have developed a nasal spray.