Long-term effects of battle-related 'blast plus impact' concussive TBI in US military
U.S. military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffered "blast plus impact" concussive traumatic brain injury (TBI) were compared to military personnel without TBI who were evacuated for other medical reasons. Differences in measures of overall disability, cognitive function, post-traumatic stress, and depression 6-12 months after injury are reported in an article in Journal of Neurotrauma.
Christine MacDonald, PhD, Ann Johnson, Elliot Nelson, MD, Nicole Werner, PhD, and David Brody, MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO), and Col. Raymond Fang, MD and Col. (ret) Stephen Flaherty, MD, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (Germany), found that overall disability among the study participants recovering from concussive TBI was surprisingly high. The authors explore the possible factors related to differences in outcomes between the two groups in the article "Functional Status after Blast-Plus-Impact Complex Concussive Traumatic Brain Injury in Evacuated United States Military Personnel".
John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurotrauma and Professor, Medical College of Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, notes that "This is an intriguing study conducted in a relatively unique cohort of military patients who sustained blast plus other forms of traumatic brain injury. The finding in this patient population of sustained morbidity at 6 and 12 months post-injury, together with a dramatically increased incidence of post-traumatic stress disorders, is striking and must be considered as we move forward in our evaluation of blast-injured military personnel."
Dr. Povlishock continues, "While the authors strike the appropriate cautionary notes in terms of sample size and other limitations, these extremely important prospective observational studies should clearly inform decision-making processes in current and future military populations who have sustained such injuries."