Traumatic Brain Injury-Military Studies
Traumatic brain injury has received some further objective analysis through some recent military studies based upon injuries to combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The soldiers suffering these types of injuries from bomb blasts show immediate evidence of stretched and damaged nerve fibers at both the front and back of the brain according to this study published on June 1, 2011 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Part of the problem with diagnosing traumatic brain injury is the similarity of symptoms with other psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
In this particular instance the researchers did Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scans) of 63 service members and found that in 18 of the 63 patients there was damage to axons, the stem fibers that connect the nerve cells and that often run several inches in length. The damaged axons were either in the front or back of the brain and were found to be present shortly after the injury and then also six months later when the scans were repeated. Damaged axons prevent proper communication between these different regions of the brain. The areas of the brain that were most often affected were areas near bony structures that could damage the brain during a blast. The areas in particular were the orbitofrontal area which is in the front of the brain and also the cerebellar peduncles.
See traumatic brain injury imaging and other articles on this site on this topic.