Low level blast explosions harm brain

September 16, 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Credit: 2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Repeated exposure to low level blasts (LLB) can cause symptoms similar to sports concussion. Soldiers or law enforcement officers called "breachers" receive training in using low level blasts for forced entry. They may be at risk for diminished neurocognitive performance and symptoms caused by the harmful effects of blast-related pressure changes on the brain, as described in a study published in Journal of Neurotrauma.

Charmaine Tate and colleagues, New Zealand Defence Force (Auckland), Banyan Biomarkers, Inc. (Alachua, FL), Naval Medical Research Center and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Silver Spring, MD), and University of Florida (Gainesville), measured the levels of three blood , performance on , and self-reported symptoms among a "breacher" population of the New Zealand Defence Force.

The authors compared the composite scores of the five individuals with the highest scores to the five participants with the lowest scores. They report a significant relationship between blood biomarker load and neurocognitive deficits and between symptoms and neurocognitive performance.

In the article "Serum Brain Biomarker Level, Neurocognitive Performance, and Self-Reported Symptom Changes in Soldiers Repeatedly Exposed to Low-Level Blast: A Breacher Pilot Study," the researchers describe their findings and conclude that the results suggest "a measureable degree of perturbation linked to LLB exposure."

John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurotrauma and Professor, VCU Neuroscience Center, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond notes that, "Although the work presents a pilot study, its finding are potentially of great importance. Not only does this report strongly suggest the damaging consequences of repeated blast injury, but it also identifies biomarkers capable of detecting change in this population. As noted by the authors, these biomarker studies, together with the composite data analysis methodologies reported in this communication, should prove invaluable in future expanded studies of injury."

Explore further: Neurocognitive testing more accurate than self-reporting of cheerleaders' concussion recovery

Related Stories

Neurocognitive testing more accurate than self-reporting of cheerleaders' concussion recovery

August 8, 2013
Concussions have become a major public health issue, with both short- and long-term side effects. In sports, cheerleading has the highest rate of catastrophic injury, with some studies reporting approximately 6% of total ...

Should hyperbaric oxygen therapy be used to treat combat-related mild traumatic brain injury?

November 13, 2012
The average incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among service members deployed in Middle East conflict zones has increased 117% in recent years, mainly due to proximity to explosive blasts. Therapeutic exposure to a ...

When is it safe for an athlete to return to play after a concussion? Consensus reports summarized

August 26, 2013
Concussions are a common sports injury that can have long-term neurological consequences if not properly diagnosed and treated. Several new or updated guidelines for managing sports concussions were released earlier this ...

Getting enough ZZZs may play a part in concussion testing

July 13, 2013
Athletes who didn't get enough sleep the night before undergoing baseline concussion testing didn't perform as well as expected, say researchers presenting their work today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's ...

Is there a period of increased vulnerability for repeat traumatic brain injury?

January 10, 2013
Repeat traumatic brain injury affects a subgroup of the 3.5 million people who suffer head trauma each year. Even a mild repeat TBI that occurs when the brain is still recovering from an initial injury can result in poorer ...

Disability caused by traumatic brain injury in children may persist and stop improving after 2 years

September 18, 2012
A child who suffers a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) may still have substantial functional disabilities and reduced quality of life 2 years after the injury. After those first 2 years, further improvement ...

Recommended for you

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein

January 18, 2018
For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases ...

Fragile X finding shows normal neurons that interact poorly

January 18, 2018
Neurons in mice afflicted with the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome (FXS) appear similar to those in healthy mice, but these neurons fail to interact normally, resulting in the long-known cognitive impairments, ...

How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night

January 17, 2018
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus ...

Recording a thought's fleeting trip through the brain

January 17, 2018
University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response ...

Midbrain 'start neurons' control whether we walk or run

January 17, 2018
Locomotion comprises the most fundamental movements we perform. It is a complex sequence from initiating the first step, to stopping when we reach our goal. At the same time, locomotion is executed at different speeds to ...

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.