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Many Combat Vets Suffer Severe Headaches Upon Return

ine, while 40 percent had headaches they described as interfering with daily life.

Experts noted the new findings should help doctors be on the lookout for these cases.

"Before this particular study came out, little was known about the prevalence, types of headaches, duration of headaches, and risk factors for post-traumatic headaches and U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Dr. Brian M. Grosberg, director of the Inpatient Headache Program at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City. "Primary-care physicians, neurologists and health-care professionals are going to have to be aware of the implications of service."

"This gives us some clues on types of headaches to be looking out for," added Keith A. Young, vice chair for research at Texas A&M Health Science Center's department of psychiatry and behavioral science neuroimaging and genetics core leader at the VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans at Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. "There may be some tools to help clinicians make a better diagnosis and know that someone needs to be recalled and looked at a year from now."

"Almost 100 percent of these people had headaches at some point, and some 30 percent had them every day or every other day," Young said. "That's really significant."

Grosberg added, "This study highlights the occurrence, the type of headache, the impact of headache and, certainly, with 1.6 million U.S. military personnel having been deployed since the start of military operations in 2001, this is important."

More information

Visit the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center for more on traumatic brain injury.

SOURCES: Brian M. Grosberg, M.D., director, Inpatient Headache Program, Montefiore Headache Center, and assistant professor, neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicin

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