Navigation Links
For Combat Vets, Brain Injury Symptoms Can Last Years
Date:6/20/2012

By Lisa Esposito
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Lingering symptoms from combat-related traumatic brain injuries -- even "mild" cases -- may persist for years, according to a new study of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans were still battling headaches, depression, dizziness and other symptoms up to eight years after their head injury occurred, researchers found.

The study looked at 500 veterans who underwent general health and depression screenings between 2008 and 2011 at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and were found to have symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome.

The participants, mostly men, were grouped according to whether their head injury had occurred within the previous two years, three to four years, five to six years, or seven to eight years.

The patients self-rated six symptoms: headache, dizziness, balance problems, poor coordination, difficulty with decisions, and depression.

Whether the injury had occurred two years or eight years earlier made no significant difference in frequency or intensity of symptoms. And the type of injury made no difference.

"There was a tendency for depression to be a bit more common in the five-to-eight [year] group," said study author Dr. James Couch, a professor of neurology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. "So not only does this not go away, which is what we figured we would probably find -- it may tend to get worse."

Traumatic brain injury is considered a hallmark combat injury.

"About two-thirds of the people had primarily blast injuries, and about one-third had injuries related to falls, motor vehicle accidents, and so forth," Couch said. "One of my patients had a rocket hit a balcony right above him, and he was knocked out by the falling pieces of concrete."

Study cases fell on the lower end of the trauma spectrum.

"These are basically mild traumatic brain injuries," Couch said. "'Mild' meaning that that patient did not have lacerations that were severe, did not have a skull fracture, did not require surgery on the head because of the injury."

One expert described the prevalence of mild traumatic brain injury.

"Probably 10 percent to possibly over 20 percent of deployed service members develop [traumatic brain injury]," said Dr. Steven Cohen, a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. "Amongst those diagnosed with [traumatic brain injury], 40 percent to 50 percent are mild."

Both experts said the persistence of side effects seen in the study is discouraging.

"With almost any medical condition, the longer you have it, the less likely it is that it will ever go away," said Cohen, who works with patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

"One good thing: Now the military does a very good job of screening people and getting them treatment," Cohen said. "They all have case managers; they have wounded-warrior centers. I think it's more difficult in reservists and people with mild injuries. Because they end up leaving active duty and they don't have the same support system."

Study author Couch said that "the military's management and handling of these injuries has changed gradually but dramatically over time. In 2002 they'd probably say, 'Oh, you just got your bell rung a little bit; now get back out there.' Now they say, 'You got your bell rung and you're going to have to take off a day or two and we'll reevaluate and see if we can put you back on the line.'"

Physically, today's soldiers are much better protected, he said. "The helmets are far, far ahead of what was being used in World War II or in the Korean War, Vietnam," Couch noted.

He hopes to continue his research with a 10-year controlled, prospective study.

"We need to pair up the traumatic brain injury person with a person who is race-sex-deployment matched, and try to find out what types of problems arise just from being deployed to a high-danger, high-intensity situation where a person's got to be vigilant and highly alert all the time," Couch said.

Cohen said that the long-term prospects of head-injured soldiers warrant study. "Are these people more likely to die?" he said. "We know that people with severe head trauma are more likely to develop certain types of dementia. Not just eight years down the line, but what happens 30 years down the line?"

The study is scheduled for presentation this week at the American Headache Society's annual meeting in Los Angeles. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center has more about combat-related traumatic brain injury.

SOURCES: James R. Couch, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City; Steven P. Cohen, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., and colonel, U.S. Army Reserves; June 21-24, 2012, presentation, American Headache Society annual meeting, Los Angeles


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. UCLA researchers combat global disease with a cell phone, Google Maps and a lot of ingenuity
2. Traumatic brain injury the focus of American Headache Society scientific conference
3. Tai Chi increases brain size, benefits cognition in randomized controlled trial of Chinese elderly
4. Device implanted in brain has therapeutic potential for Huntingtons disease
5. This your brain on no self-control
6. Brain-Injury Recovery Varies Widely Among Children
7. Children, brain development and the criminal law
8. Researchers determine pathway for origin of most common form of brain and spinal cord tumor
9. Omega-3 Supplements May Not Aid Aging Brain
10. Mindful Meditation Tied to Healthy Brain Changes: Study
11. Early Menopause May Raise Risk for Brain Aneurysm
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
For Combat Vets, Brain Injury Symptoms Can Last Years
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... Steven Tonkinson, 36, of Coconut Grove, Florida, ran the Miami Marathon on January ... year, he ran all 26.2 miles with a green 25-pound ShelterBox strapped to his ... This Sunday, while many are watching the Superbowl, Steven Tonkinson will strap on the ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Successful recruitment and ... clinical and scientific initiatives have all marked the last 12 months at Roswell ... CEO of the nation’s oldest cancer center, Candace S. Johnson, PhD, outlined the ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... , ... Looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift for the special someone ... massage, whether administered by a professional masseuse or a loved one, can bring substantial ... Multiple Specialties in Podiatry (ABMSP) has taken the upcoming Valentine’s Day as an ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... Rafael, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... with ChildLight Yoga Studio in Dover, NH to direct high-performance kids yoga training. ChildLight ... New Hampshire’s seacoast, just one hour from Boston. , ChildLight Yoga Studio founder Lisa ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... , ... Give To Cure today announced that it is working ... To Cure’s campaign that is crowdfunding clinical trials to help find cures faster for ... a smart device. In 2015 alone, Venmo processed $7.5 billion in transactions among users. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016  As people age, it ... multitude of recommended screenings and tests that are linked ... priority. However, for the majority of aging individuals, hearing ... planning. For the 37.5 million American adults who report ... present to make hearing health a 2016 healthy aging ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/jsc97m/global ... "Global Musculoskeletal Partnering 2010-2016: Deal trends, ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/jsc97m/global ... "Global Musculoskeletal Partnering 2010-2016: Deal trends, ... their offering. --> Research ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... --> --> ... the global active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) market stood at ... US$185.9 bn by 2020. It is expected to expand ... The title of the report is "Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients ... by Therapeutic Area) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: