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Neurology Study Tracks Soldiers with Brain Injuries, Documents Long-Term Problems

Tuesday, August 22, 2017By Nina Shapirshteyn

Going to war for your country is an honorable action, for which all soldiers should be commended. Facing enemies overseas is most definitely traumatic and as soldiers are coming home, Americans are learning more and more about consequences of war and the effects on mental health, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

However, PTSD is not the only injury that soldiers who return from the front lines experience. PTSD can coincide with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). TBIs occur when a person is struck in the head forcefully. Many soldiers suffer from TBIs as a result of concussive blast injuries from various explosions and blasts during combat. “[T]he VA estimates nearly 1 in 5 of the more than 2 million soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered at least one traumatic brain injury.”

The immediate and long-term effects of blast concussive TBIs are being studied by Dr. Christine Mac Donald at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine. Historically, medical providers believed that the effects of TBI would resolve within a year of sustaining a concussive blast injury. However, Dr. Mac Donald is discovering that is not the case.

Many of the long-term effects of blast concussive injuries are unseen. The impacts can include PTSD, migraines, inability to focus, depression, and it can even lead to dementia. The soldiers who suffer from these injuries become frustrated with the struggle because doctors and people don’t understand that although these injuries are not obvious, they are still real. As a result of these unseen injuries, soldiers have been having difficulty receiving adequate treatment, if any treatment at all. "I have had patients tell me, 'I wish I had lost a leg. I wish I had lost an arm, because then there would be a reason and people could understand,'" Mac Donald said.

TBIs and PTSD may not be new to the medical field, but they are injuries that are being more broadly examined. There is a higher occurrence than historically known because more soldiers are surviving these injuries in combat, whereas, in the past, soldiers sustaining such an injury did not make it home alive.

If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury as a result of another’s negligence, you can rely on the compassionate San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP to guide you through the difficult time that follows. We are here for our clients and will passionately seek appropriate compensation for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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