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Study on Veteran Blast Injuries


Posted on Feb 07, 2016

north carolina veteran benefitsA new study reveals a greater understanding of the damage made to the blood-brain barrier after an explosion. Veterans might be exposed to situations during active military duty that involve blasts or explosions. Aside from immediate pain or symptoms following exposure to an explosion, long-term impacts could occur as well. Behavioral changes, memory loss, and chronic pain or auditory issues could plague the victim for life. 

The study, reported in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that an explosion's effect on the blood-brain barrier impacts certain areas of the brain more than others. Since physicians and scientists have an existing understanding of what each part of the brain controls in the body, isolating the areas damaged by a blast-related brain injury can help treat and diagnose patients. 

For example, the researchers found that the cerebellum experiences the most blood-brain barrier damage after an explosion. According to the Society for Neuroscience the cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls memorized movements and coordination. Damage to this part of the brain generally results in impaired motor control. Depending on the degree of damage, the injury could contribute to a veteran's disability.

Medical treatments for military members are sought after in North Carolina. Our state is home to a handful of military bases and nearly one million retired military members. For North Carolina veterans with brain injuries, the new research may eventually help physicians cater treatments to this area of the brain. It remains to be seen when more studies will be completed and clinical trials carried out.

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