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A recent study compared brain scars of veterans who were exposed to repeated explosions and brain scars caused by other reasons like drug abuse and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The study, conducted by a team at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland, examined a total of eight brains donated by veterans who were around multiple explosions during service and training.
One of the eight veterans was an especially tragic case. He was a decorated officer known for his reliability and stability. Due to his assignments, he was around large explosions almost daily. He suffered from chronic headaches and other symptoms, but did not report anything for fear of being discharged.
Once home, he went to a doctor for an MRI, but the scan didn’t show any signs of brain damage. This veteran committed suicide a month later. This story is just one of the reasons Dr. Perl and his team are working so hard to find other ways to detect signs of TBI earlier.
The study was able to find a unique pattern of scarring created by explosions. This scaring pattern is much different than the scarring patterns found in former football players, drug addicts, or car accident victims.
“Where the scarring is, it’s just under the superficial covering of the brain, around the penetrating blood vessels and at the junctions of the gray matter and the white matter,” Dr. Perl said. “It’s basically interfaces between structures that have different physical properties, different densities.”
So what does this mean for veterans? While this scarring pattern hasn’t been definitively linked to TBI caused by explosions, Dr. Perl feels the link is highly probable. If the link is proven, doctors will know what to look for when examining veterans.
“Now that we know where to look and what we are looking for, I am confident we will find a way to identify this … so we can try to help them,” said Dr. Perl.
We’ve talked a lot about this in our blogs, and cases of TBI are on the rise. This injury has even been coined by some as the signature injury for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Our team of West Virginia VA disability lawyers has helped veterans all over the state get the compensation the need to recover from TBI. If you need help getting compensation, give us a call for a free case evaluation.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law