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.
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.
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|