2008 January 18 Friday
Milder Brain Injuries Among Many Iraq War Veterans

We don't just throw away $3 billion dollars a week and lost lives on a pointless war that does nothing to improve American security. Lots of soldiers come back with missing limbs, debilitating injuries in muscles and joints, and brain damage (traumatic brain injury or TBI) with varying degrees of severity.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2008 An Army report released yesterday outlines how the service can better identify and help soldiers who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

The report contains some 47 recommendations to help the Army better prevent, screen, diagnose, treat and research traumatic brain injury, said Brig. Gen. Donald Bradshaw, who led the task force charged with investigating TBI. Bradshaw is commander of Southeast Regional Medical Command and Eisenhower Regional Medical Center, at Fort Gordon, Ga.


The general said 80 percent of those who suffer from mild TBI, commonly known as a concussion, recover completely. Some 10 to 20 percent of soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with experience in combat may have suffered symptoms consistent with mild TBI.

I am skeptical that 80% recover completely. Brains can't heal as well as other parts of the body. The Army is studying longer term effects. But without before and after cognitive testing with testing done periodically after return we aren't going to know how long lasting the concussion effects are.

The task force applauded the brain-injury program at Fort Carson, Colo., where 17% of returning soldiers have shown signs of the injury. As a result, the Army is replicating Fort Carson's program at other installations.

The task force said most soldiers suffering mild brain injury recover completely. Army Col. Robert Labutta, a neurologist and member of the task force, added that research is underway to determine long-term effects.

TBI is in addition to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

TBI is classified as mild, moderate, severe or penetrating, depending on the severity and nature of the injury. Mild TBI, commonly known as a concussion, may affect 10 to 20 percent of Soldiers and Marines redeploying from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not the same as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although the two conditions may produce similar symptoms, such as sleep problems, memory problems, confusion and irritability. Other mild TBI symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea and light-sensitivity. More than 80 percent of patients treated for mild TBI recover completely.

You can read the full Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force Report (PDF).

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 January 18 11:34 PM  Mideast Iraq Costs

mike said at January 20, 2008 9:17 PM:

"More than 80 percent of patients treated for mild TBI recover completely."

I might check that out, I'm sure I've heard the rate is much lower, at least among victims in civilian life (war victims may have better than average treatment and ongoing care).

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