Monday, December 28, 2015

Troops: "tens of thousands of undiagnosed and untreated brain injuries"

Study: Combat vets wait for 'wake-up call' before seeking help for brain injuries
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Tribune News Service)
By Carl Prine
Published: December 28, 2015
Veterans too often played down their wounds but became detached from friends and family. Many denied their downward spiral until a "wake-up call" forced them to seek help from Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs programs.
Johns Hopkins researchers conducted 38 in-depth interviews with Army combat veterans and their family members, and a model emerged: Veterans too often played down their wounds. Many denied their downward spiral until a "wake-up call" forced them to seek help from Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs programs. DOD
Tens of thousands of American combat veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with undiagnosed brain injuries often were "thrown into a canyon" — falling deeper into despair and sometimes flirting with suicide or addiction — before trying to get help, according to a Johns Hopkins University study.

Written by Rachel P. Chase, Shannon A. McMahon and Peter J. Winch, researchers at the Baltimore university's Department of International Health, the study published in the December issue of Social Science and Medicine builds on previous work at Johns Hopkins. That work uncovered tens of thousands of undiagnosed and untreated brain injuries stemming from improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, the signature wound of America's 21st-century wars.

Innovations in body and vehicular armor saved the lives of troops who likely would have died of blast injuries in past wars, but survivors often had higher risk of memory loss, cognitive struggles, mood disorders, migraine headaches, addiction, insomnia and suicide.
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