Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brain Injuries Involving Military Personnel

It is suspected that as many as 320,000, possibly more, military personnel have come home with brain injuries that have affected their lives. Brain injuries affect personalities, emotions and often their mobility. Some will have an inability to understand speech but will still possibly be able to read, some will no longer be able to laugh, they may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological problems such as denial of any problems. Some may not be able to recognize faces, may be flat and robotic in his speech, be unable to retain information, unable to feed themselves or be unable to form complete sentences. Depression and aggression can also be the results of brain injury. The ability to maintain social relationships quite often is another consequence of a TBI. And one soldier who, although he could see, was only able to see to the left. These are only some of the consequences of their injuries.

Many services will be required for these fighters of their country. They will require speech therapists, life skills coaches, some will need to learn to walk again, and to talk again. Some will suffer the consequences of having problems with drug and alcohol, they will display reckless behavior without considering the consequences, will make poor choices, will behave in unacceptably appropriate ways socially, or will behave impulsively. It is estimated that approximately twenty per cent of all service men who have suffered a traumatic brain injury will drive dangerously, partly as a consequence of the brain injury and partly because of the necessary training they have had while fighting.

Many of the causes of concussion and brain injury is blast-induced neurotrauma caused by a sudden increase in air pressure or when their body has been propelled through the air and the sudden impact as they land. And fragment penetration is another large reason. Approximately 1,400 troops sustained concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries because of blasts during a ten month period in Afghanistan and Iraq. They suffered such symptoms as loss of motor control, dizziness, headaches and difficulty processing their thoughts. Many of these troops are now taking time out when involved in or have been near a blast situation until their symptoms dissipate. Those within one hundred and sixty-five feet of a blast are examined for signs of concussion or brain injury.

Blast-related injuries are the signature wound of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars with many of the troops having been exposed to multiple explosions. Military personnel often don't get the necessary treatment in a timely fashion which can possibly worsen their condition.

Work is now being done on advanced MRI-based methods in order to be able to make more accurate diagnoses so that treatment inventions can begin earlier for those with brain injury. It is also being evaluated whether, or when, those who have suffered from multiple exposures to blasts should return to active duty. These types of follow-up will help to determine the future health of returning military personnel.

Sylvia Behnish has written numerous articles relating to family issues, motivational topics, entertaining, travel and brain injuries. For more information on any of these topics, go to her sites listed below. She has recently published her first non-fiction book entitled "Rollercoaster Ride With Brain Injury (For Loved Ones)" and her first fiction novel entitled "His Sins", a three generation family saga.

Either of the above books can be ordered by e-mail at the following blogs:

By Sylvia_Behnish

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