Medical researchers and military veterans are increasingly teaming up to study traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that U.S. personnel are dealing with after returning home from the battlefield. An estimated 15 to 23 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer TBI, which equates to about 300,000 to 460,000 soldiers in need of various levels of medical treatment.
Researchers are developing new objective imaging testing methods that provide better insight of brain scans and cognitive testing - and while progress is accelerating - there are a large number of veterans that aren't receiving proper medical treatment. However, using a new diffusion tensor imaging helps indicate nerve track fiber damage and provides better guidance to detect mild-TBI episodes that can be more easily corrected if discovered quickly.
"Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress is a different kind of wound," noted Arnold Fisher, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund staff member. "It's unseen. Apparently, because it's unseen, very many people don't understand it."
A new medical research facility focused on treating brain injuries and post-combat mental and physical injuries recently broke ground at Fort Bragg. There are a limited number of TBI research centers, so some veterans can end up waiting months, or years, before they are able to begin receiving proper medical treatment.