Traumatic Brain Injuries Of Some Veterans – Part 1 of 3
Traumatic Brain Injuries Of Some Veterans. The brains of some veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who were injured by homemade bombs show an unexpected pattern of damage, a small sanctum finds. Researchers speculate that the damage – what they call a “honeycomb” pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers – might help explain the phenomenon of “shell shock”. That locution was coined during World War I, when trench warfare exposed troops to constant bombardment with exploding shells. Many soldiers developed an array of symptoms, from problems with vision and hearing, to headaches and tremors, to confusion, longing and nightmares.
Now referred to as blast neurotrauma, the injuries have become an important issue again, said Dr Vassilis Koliatsos, the senior researcher on the new study. “Vets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to a medley of situations, including blasts from improvised explosive devices IEDs ,” said Koliatsos, a professor of pathology, neurology and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
But even though the attention of shell shock goes back 100 years, researchers still know little about what is actually going on in the brain. For the new study, published recently in the logbook Acta Neuropathologica Communications, his team studied autopsied brain tissue from five US combat veterans. The soldiers had all survived IED bomb blasts, but later died of other causes. The researchers compared the vets’ wit tissue to autopsies of 24 people who had died of various causes, including traffic accidents and drug overdoses.