Often found in cases of whiplash from auto accidents when the driver or passenger is hit from behind, TBIs often go undianosed. While connected to the spine and spinal column, the brain floats in a sea of spinal fluid. When the head is thrown forward and back, violently, the pre-frontal lobes can smash into the front of the skull, which has protrusions, like stubby little fingers, except these protrusions are all bone. This can really do a number on the brain's normal executive function.
When someone presents at a hospital with signs and symptoms of concussion, the main concern is the development of a sub-dural hematoma; in other words a big bruise. Of course a big bruise is no big deal if it is found on a person's arm, leg or any other part of the anatomy after an accident of some kind. However, there is only so much room inside the skull, so a large mass of dried blood or bleeeding of the brain inside the skull is a critical condition, relieved by drilling a hole in the skull to relieve the pressure on the brain.
So, if there is no open wound or subdural, patients are discharged from the hospital E.R with warnings to the family to check their loved one every 45 minutes or so, and they are told what to look for, like uneven dilation of pupils and the like. If such symptoms are observed, the patient should be brought back to the hospital, STAT.
TBIs can cause problems for a person for years, or maybe for life. Nevertheless, the human brain is quite remarkable and can often, if given time, regain at least some if the lost function.
Not much can be done, medically. Helping the patient learn how to cope with less brain function is about the only thing that can be done. Neurofeedback is sometimes quite helpful in cases of closed head injury.
After each attack, he did what so many soldiers do in
“You keep doing your job with your injuries,” said
But more than three years after coming home,
These symptoms, which may be subtle and may not surface for weeks or months after their return, are often debilitating enough to hobble lives and livelihoods.
To this day, some veterans — it is impossible to know how many — remain unscreened, their symptoms undiagnosed. Mild
Even now, with
This has happened in large part because there is no quantifiable diagnostic test for the injury, and the language used by the
“The criteria remains ambiguous,”
Scant Medical Knowledge
Little is known medically by doctors or scientists about what happens to a brain as a result of a powerful bomb blast, as opposed to
The bomb blasts, which throw off
That soldiers are sometimes exposed to multiple blasts during a deployment, or can suffer from a vast combination of wounds, including shrapnel, burns, blows to the head, blast waves, lost limbs or internal injuries, can exacerbate
Gee, what a surprise!
But the consequences of these seemingly small concussions can be far-reaching, leading to financial problems, job losses, divorce and mental health issues. The ramifications often go unseen by the military because symptoms often worsen once veterans leave the structure of the
Take the case of
“I almost lost everything,” said
At first, he said, doctors missed his
Later that year, another veterans hospital said he had mild
“They said it was because I didn’t report it in the field and seek medical attention at the time, and there was no proof” of any obvious injury,
Has anyone thought of brain imaging, as a diagnostic tool? What about a Pet scan? Probably too expensive.
It was not until 2006, three years into the
“We are more attuned to
That effort begins with screening. As of May, service members who deploy longer than 30 days will undergo neurocognitive testing before leaving, to establish a baseline for changes that may occur later, and again upon returning. At the same time, soldiers in battle who lose consciousness or feel dazed after a blast or other event must be screened by a medical provider and are either approved for duty in the field, told to rest for several days on base or sent to Landstuhl for further evaluation.
Last year, Veterans Affairs started screening all
It is unclear how many service members, particularly those who fought earlier in the war, remain unscreened and whose injuries go undiagnosed.
“No doubt that there are significant numbers out there,” said
He did not realize that his brain had taken a hit until five months later, when he saw the gaping hole in the front of his helmet. He never lost consciousness after the blast, but the soldier next to him was knocked out for two hours.
The possibility that he might have suffered a concussion was never mentioned during his many months at
It explained his shortened attention span, his
These symptoms can also be found in PTSD patients; either in people who have been subjected to one acute stressor or long-term, continuing stress. Acute or long-term, unremitting stress can cause the hippocampus to literally shrink. This is the brain structure that is responsible for memory storage. It decides whether the information is significant enough to be stored long term, or tossed out, after a period of time.
There may also be an inability to concentrate, like that found in some attention deficit disorders. If one cannot concentrate all that well, it is unlikely that information will even paid attention, let alone be stored for future use.
“I was completely honest and said I don’t think I have T.B.I.,” said
Delayed Symptoms Explained
This connection was most recently established in a study in The New England Journal of Medicine in January by
For years most troops with
“Civilians don’t have the frequency of these symptoms,”
In his view, the military is still failing to grasp the depths of his injury, and those of other soldiers like him.
In July 2005, Sergeant
Doctors patched up most of his physical wounds over five months. But his wife, who was born with mild
Still a Soldier, and Struggling
While he was at
As he recovered in the
“My T.B.I. has impacted my ability to get a good job,” he said, adding that he fears the best position he can get now is as “a greeter at
With four foster children, two biological children and a wife, he steered the safe course and applied to try to stay in the military. The
When he saw his rating in March, he was floored. Despite his extensive wounds —
As a last resort, Sergeant
He is not the first soldier to receive a low rating for his injuries from the
“You are still treated like you are trying to beat the government out of money,” Sergeant
....and even if he had, it would be totally understandable. Welcome to the world of civilians attempting to receive disability because of closed head-injuries.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.