Veteranclaims’s Blog

December 8, 2010

20% of Combat Military Personnel Suffer from mTBI

20% of over 3 million soldiers is a lot of soldiers suffering from mTBI.

Full Article at: Mild Brain Trauma May Raise Long-Term Alzheimer’s Risk

“Peskind is a geriatric psychiatrist and a research professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

She also is a Veterans Administration doctor who is credentialed at Joint Base Lewis McChord. There, since 2007, she and a colleague have conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the drug Prazosin for active-duty soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It was during the Lewis McChord study that Peskind noticed the link between PTSD and mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, and memory problems.

During study visits, she noticed that soldiers regularly took little notebooks out of their shoulder pockets and wrote down everything she said — so they wouldn’t forget, they told her. And study coordinators had to call and remind the soldiers to come to their appointments.

Peskind, who once considered mTBI a problem of rehabilitation rather than mental health, called it a “classic light bulb moment.”

“I said, wow, maybe we do have a problem here,” she added, “and I became very interested in TBI research.”

The nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is contributing to the mTBI problem, she said.
“As of this month, something in the vicinity of 2 million soldiers and Marines have been deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — OIF and OEF — and nearly 800,000 have been deployed more than once,” she said.

And the weapon of choice for insurgents in both war zones is a range of improvised explosive devices, she said.

“The estimate of the number who returned with symptomatic mild traumatic brain injury due to blast exposure has varied from the official VA number of 9 percent officially diagnosed with mTBI to over 20 percent,” she said, “and I think, ultimately, it will be higher than that.”

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