2007 October 28 Sunday
Traumatic Brain Injury More Extensive With Iraq Veterans

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is probably greatly under-diagnosed among returning US and allied veterans of the Iraq war.

They find that even when there are no outward signs of injury from the blast, cells deep within the brain can be altered, their metabolism changed, causing them to die, says Geoff Ling, an advance-research scientist with the Pentagon.

The new findings are the result of blast experiments in recent years on animals, followed by microscopic examination of brain tissue. The findings could mean that the number of brain-injured soldiers and Marines many of whom appear unhurt after exposure to a blast may be far greater than reported, says Ibolja Cernak, a scientist with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

This cellular death leads to symptoms that may not surface for months or years, Cernak says. The symptoms can include memory deficit, headaches, vertigo, anxiety and apathy or lethargy. "These soldiers could have hidden injuries with long-term consequences," he says.

The Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) blasts might be injuring the brains of between 10% and 20% of soldiers who serve in Iraq.

When the war in Iraq began, clinicians treating the wounded began noticing similar symptoms. Some screenings at military bases showed that 10% to 20% of returning troops may have suffered such head wounds.

"We've had patients who have been in a blast, who we tested. They looked OK. And they came back later, and they were not OK," says Maria Mouratidis, head of brain injury treatment at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

The effects of the blasts appear to cause neural damage that accumulates over time.

150,000 veterans might have brain damage due to the Iraq war.

Medical experts say some wounded vets suffer from undiagnosed brain injuries caused by these highly concussive explosions. An estimated 150,000 soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned home and even gone back to the battlefield with an unrecognized brain injury, according to the Brain Injury Association of America.

This is a huge cost. The Iraq was is not making us more secure. We get no benefit for this cost. The war was a mistake and its continuation is a far bigger mistake.

Soldiers with traumatic brain injury have to wait for treatments.

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering traumatic brain injury, grave wounds or serious illnesses often wait longer for outpatient appointments than the 30-day VA standard, according to an Observer analysis of two internal VA reports.

The analysis of 283,000 recent outpatient appointments showed that the VA scheduled 93 percent within 30 days, a key measure of the agency's ability to meet demand. That left 20,500 waiting longer.

Dr. Martin F. Stein, a 71 year old retired colonel and kidney specialist has been going on 3 month rotations to the Landstuhl Regional Army Medical Center in Germany every other year since 1985. Not exactly the profile of an anti-military guy, right? Well, Dr. Stein says the Bush Administration is trying to hide from the public the extent of US military injuries.

But one thing that has become increasingly clear to Stein as the Iraq conflict continues year after year is that the U.S. government is keeping its wounded soldiers behind curtains as much as possible. The American public has been protected from visual reminders that soldiers are dying and that those who live are left with shattered lives, facing an uncertain future.

"During previous trips, I was free to roam with my camera," says Stein. "During my latest trip, from January to March of this year, that ended. I took out my camera, and guards were on top of me."

He found, too, that his e-mail home was being censored.

"All references to wounded soldiers were being deleted," says Stein.

Your government tries to deceive you.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 October 28 08:44 PM  Mideast Iraq Costs

Jeff said at October 29, 2007 12:11 AM:

This so sad.. especially because many of these cases will go undiagnosed and will never even be recognized as casualities. By the way, you might be interested in The Wounded Warriors Project. It's a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for U.S. troops severely wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really puts a face on the cost of this conflict. Here's a link:



averros said at October 29, 2007 12:39 AM:

> from the blast, cells deep within the brain can be altered, their metabolism changed,
> causing them to die, says Geoff Ling, an advance-research scientist with the Pentagon.

It can be argued that anyone voluntarily signing up to be gun meat (er, joining the Army) already has at least half of his brain cells dead.

Wolf-Dog said at October 29, 2007 3:25 PM:

I would like to know how exactly the Bush administration managed to walk into this trap of the century by invading Iraq. Was it simply the classical "blood for oil" type reasoning, or was it the machinations of Iraq and Al Qaeda to lure the U.S. into invading Iraq?

In any case, the interests of Iran are extremely well served, because in a few years if the US gets very exhausted and frustrated in the Middle East, then ultimately Iran might be able to dominate the Gulf, including the oil-rich regions of both Iraq as well as the Eastern part of Saudi Arabia where most oil fields are (and were the Shiite minority of Saudi Arabia is actually the majority.)

If the Democrats come to power, then they should immeidately give $100 billion to M.I.T. in one lump sum, to implement the Pebble Bed Reactor within 2 to 3 years. (M.I.T. was the main place in the US responsible for the Pebble Bed Reactor, although it is also developed in Germany.) The good thing about the Pebble Bed Reactor is that it is very simple to build and does not need any heavy infrastructure, so that when it becomes obsolete in 20 years, it can be immediately dismantled without radioactive residue because of its design. But the main advantage of the Pebble Bed Reactor is that it can be built very fast and in very large numbers, since it is modularized and can be built in one place and then the modules get carried to the site of operation, similar to the pre-fabricated houses. And within 5 years, we shall almost certainly have plug-in hybrids with pure electric range at least 40 miles or more. And after another 10 years, we shall almost certainly have pure-electric cars with range over 400 miles per charge.

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