A group of scientists carried out a study to try to understand how explosive blasts affect the brain of exposed soldiers. Dr. Daniel Perl from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Md. was the leader of the study. He and his team studied the brain of 8 soldiers who had been exposed to explosion blasts and found a different pattern of damage in the cerebral tissue. The study was published in the medical journal Lancet Neurology on-line on June 09, 2016.
Soldiers are expected to be injured when they go to war, that is a given, and because of that, there is a team of specialists that work very hard to help them recover. Most of the times, the wounds are of a physical nature, but in some cases, there are psychological factors and Dr. Perl thinks they might have a physical origin.
That is why he and his team decided to analyze the effects of explosive shock waves on the brain of a soldier. They said there were a lot of reports about military men complaining about a lack of sleep, stress, headaches and more, and there is more. The regent officers have also said “weird” behavior in soldiers that have been exposed to explosions.
The researching team analyzed the brain tissue of 8 U.S. passed soldiers. All the subjects of the study had been exposed to explosives and a little more than a week after that, they died for various reasons. The paper reports they were able to recognize an elusive and particular pattern of damage in the studied tissue, but it is tough to see. However, the scale of the cohort is too limited, in number and details. The researching team did not have access to a lot of critical information, such as diets, medical records, genetics and more. Nonetheless, Perl expects the results, as scarce as they are, open the door for more investigation on the subject.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cases have increased in modern conflicts
PTSD is very famous in pop culture. Television shows often show fictional lawyers using the disorder as a convincing defense, but the problem is very real. According to PTSD United, up to 70% of Americans have experienced something very traumatic in their lives, and 20% of those people develop PTSD to some degree. It is important to know that these statistics reflect a civilian lifestyle.
In September 2014, statistical data reported that around 2.7 million American veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffered from PTSD or depression which compared to the 2.6 veterans who served in Vietnam. These are startling numbers considering that as of 2016, there are around 1.5 million soldiers currently in service.
The author of the study claims that the “invisible wounds” they found in the studied tissue might be directly responsible for problems like PTSD, depression or insomnia.
“Because the underlying pathophysiology is unknown, we have difficulty diagnosing and treating these ‘invisible wounds,’ Dr. Daniel Perl told the press.
Source: The New York Times