Subtle brain injury correlates with PTSD in returning war veteransRSS Feed
Further light has been shed on the intricate relationship between mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst soldiers returning from combat, the scientific news source ScienceDaily.com reports.
The new study, which is published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, suggests that even a very subtle brain injury detectable only with ultra-sensitive imaging equipment may yet predispose troops returning from combat zones to PTSD.
Lead author Dr Jeffrey Bazarian, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, explained:
“Most people believe that, to a large extent, chronic stress from intense combat experiences triggers PTSD. Our study adds more information by suggesting that a physical force such as exposure to a bomb blast also may play a role in the genesis of the syndrome.”
The research investigated 52 war veterans four years after completing their final tour of duty. Each completed a psychometric evaluation designed to measure combat stress (including experiences such as uncovering or handling human remains, assaults, falls, vehicle accidents and exposure to bomb blasts). Participants also underwent standard MRI scans but also a highly sensitive diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) test.
Results confirmed that 30 of the 52 volunteers had suffered at least one mild, hitherto undiagnosed traumatic brain injury. Six appeared to have suffered more than one. All of the veterans had at least one key symptom of PTSD but symptom severity was correlated with the extent of subtle brain injury detected by the DTI test.
DTI and MRI tests may not be feasible for all service members given the costs, but Dr Bazarian urged the development of simple, accurate and reliable tests for subtle brain injury.Back to Brain Injury News news