Blasts Experienced by Soldiers May Cause Brain Injuries According to Chicago Brain Injury Lawyer
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 31, 2012 – Combat veterans who have encountered large explosions may suffer from the same repeated concussions seen recently in athletes, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, in partnership with Boston University, studied the brain tissue of four service members who had been exposed to large blasts.
The research shows that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can be caused by the type and force of blasts associated with improvised explosive device (IED). The report was published online in Science Translational Medicine May 16.
“This study is an important part of the research being done to prevent and treat brain injuries,” said Paul Greenberg, a Chicago brain injury attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a brain disorder that cannot be detected until after death. Athletes, most notably NFL players, have suffered from the condition due to multiple concussions. The condition is similar to traumatic brain injuries in that patients suffer from learning problems, long-term memory loss, and psychiatric conditions.
According to the researchers, traumatic brain injury may affect about 20 percent of the more than 2 million military service members deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.
The researchers determined that the cause of the traumatic brain injuries suffered by soldiers following an IED explosion is the blast wind, rather than the shock wave. The air pressure changes dramatically following an explosion, and injuries can be caused not only by debris and shrapnel, but by the force of the blast.
While a shock wave happens directly after an explosion, creating over-pressurization of the air, the blast wind occurs afterwards, when air travels back toward the center of the blast. The wind velocity can reach 330 miles per hour, causing a person's head to move forcefully, resulting in brain damage.
Researchers found that if a person's head is immobilized during exposure to a blast, the effects can be minimized.
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