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Print 16 comment(s) - last by Master Kenobi.. on Jul 19 at 5:13 PM

Progress is being made, but changes must be made again

The U.S. military has seen an increase in the number of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from prolonged combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marines and soldiers have greatly suffered TBI-related injuries from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), RPG attacks, and similar ambushes against troops. 

These coordinated attacks against coalition troops both wound and kill personnel, with wounded soldiers treated in rehab centers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Just a few years ago, many of these soldiers would have arrived stateside without receiving any pre-medical screening able to pinpoint possible medical and mental issues.

Immediate treatment at these polytrauma centers overseas helps provide assistance, and soldiers can head back into combat according to Military Times. 

The U.S. Army can better manage TBI suffered in combat without sending a soldier back to the United States. If not treated immediately, researchers believe the brain injury leads to both emotional and physical issues. TBI also have been a problem in the United States, with 1.4 million new cases reported each year. 

Similar to military breakthroughs, the private industry has made strong developments, including the hope to one day aid in brain cell recovery through the use of stem cells. Mild traumatic brain injury also is often ignored by soldiers, with Army doctors pleading with soldiers to come forward if they've endured a concussion. 

As the number of TBI cases increased, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has also tried to keep up by increasing disability compensation for TBI cases. Furthermore, screening and evaluation efforts by the VA help soldiers get faster treatment -- but continued errors within the VA mental health department has led to confusion and misdiagnosis.



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just what i expected
By inperfectdarkness on 7/17/2011 11:12:28 AM , Rating: 2
deployers are now required to test cognative abilities, reaction times, etc...as a baseline--before deployment. it's used to compare against in the event that any TBI is encountered.

personally, i think we have MUCH ground left to cover in the use of stem-cells for rehabilitative purposes. i'd like to see digits or limbs regrown first. the ease in creating one of these is exponentially more trivial than rehabilitating the complex neural pathways of the brain.




RE: just what i expected
By wordsworm on 7/17/2011 12:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
Pixie dust apparently does the trick for digits. Now to move onto more important matters: the brain. Better to lose a finger than lose a mind. A finger is a relatively trivial thing.


RE: just what i expected
By thisisaname on 7/17/2011 8:52:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but what about losing an arm, or a leg, or a face, or both legs? I'd say that's pretty important.


RE: just what i expected
By wordsworm on 7/18/2011 1:23:58 AM , Rating: 2
You really think an arm or leg is more important than your mind? Twain's "Mysterious Stranger" has an episode where children wish that their miserable uncle was happy. Whereupon Satan's nephew grants the wish by making the man lose his mind. So, I suppose losing one's mind might have an upside, but I think I'd rather hate to lose it over just about anything.

In any case, if this stuff works, maybe it would become possible for the military to abolish that oxymoron, 'military intelligence.'


RE: just what i expected
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/19/2011 5:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
It never was an oxymoron to begin with, it is just a black art and not an exact science so people can't comprehend what it entails.


RE: just what i expected
By rigelan on 7/17/2011 11:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
I saw an article in Discover magazine where the pixie dust (aka. Extracellular Matrix) was used to regrow almost the entire quadriceps muscle tissue in a soldier's thigh. It didn't look very good afterward - but evidently it performed very well after the recovery.

So . . .more than just digits


RE: just what i expected
By NellyFromMA on 7/18/2011 9:06:24 AM , Rating: 2
Stem cells >= steroids!


if you want to reduce TBI then
By Bubbacub on 7/17/2011 12:46:18 PM , Rating: 2
the army should develop ways to get 100% O2 to injured soldiers quickly.

its just about the only treatment (if given early) that has been shown to reduce the extent of long term sequelae.

this may mean storing o2 cylinders on humvee's or making field medics carry a small cylinder with them.

o2 cylinders are however cumbersome, heavy and dont last long.

the stem cell argument can be applied to just about every diesease process known to man. its still pie in the sky stuff - i.e. - wait 20-30 years.




RE: if you want to reduce TBI then
By Captain Orgazmo on 7/17/2011 8:07:40 PM , Rating: 3
If breathing high concentrations of oxygen is helpful, they could fit portable oxygen generators/concentrators in military vehicles. This would also be useful for high altitude operations like in the mountains in Afghanistan.

Of course there is always a logistical tradeoff when choosing what to transport into battle, and commanders must decide the correct ratios of weapons, ammo, rations, water, communications equipment, medical supplies, etc. Having each soldier carry a full trauma kit is of no use if they can't properly defend against the enemy, or get dehydrated before they have a chance of being shot :P


RE: if you want to reduce TBI then
By cc1001 on 7/18/2011 1:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
Reminder that O2 is very explosive (remember Apollo 1). High levels of O2 and O2 tanks would just increase the explosive power and severity of burns from IEDs.


By Black1969ta on 7/18/2011 9:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
Just to correct a misconception, but Oxygen is not explosive at all. while any flame needs oxygen to complete combustion, oxygen by itself is not flammable at all.

Simple test of this is to use DC voltage probe to separate water into its two gases, the using liquid linked but gas isolated chambers the chamber with half the volume is Hydrogen, fill a balloon with the Hydrogen and ignite the balloon with a match and the balloon will "pop" and have a dark red Flash.

For the 2nd balloon fill it with the gas from the second chamber, (Oxygen) and light it with a match, it will pop like a balloon with exhaled air, only the match will flare up from the oxygen.

In the next balloon fill it with 2:1 ratio of Oxygen to Hydrogen and the explosion will be much more violent and a brighter flash will result.


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RE: czxczx
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