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Traumatic brain injuries and the effect they have on sustainers

Every couple of minutes, somewhere in the nation there is a car accident. We're used to hearing about the injuries and traumas these victims face. Our hearts bleed for the people who suffer debilitating injuries and we mourn for the people who lose their lives.

But the accidents we often times don't hear about actually occur thousands of miles away in war town countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan where soldiers, some of them fellow residents of Ohio, receive serious concussions because of explosions that occur near them.

Traumatic brain injuries that occur from these types of explosions has recently hit public attention when the U.S. military, despite decades of war, still has difficulty precisely diagnosing concussions and other serious brain injuries.

Much like a brain injury sustained from a car accident, many soldiers exhibit signs of a concussion by experiencing dizziness, loss of consciousness, and often times short-term memory loss. Many times, moderate to severe brain injuries can be readily diagnosed with brain imaging scanners, but because internal injuries are nearly impossible to detect directly, many injuries can go relatively unnoticed which could lead to serious complications down the road.

In cases where concussions were not diagnosed quickly enough, some soldiers experienced irreparable damage to areas of their brains that controlled everything from memory to mood. Some soldiers have reported changes in their sleeping behaviors, bouts of extreme anxiety, or even sometimes pain. In some extreme cases, soldiers were not only unable to return to their duty but were considered permanently disabled because of it.

Many experts agree that early detection of traumatic brain injuries gives a victim the best chance at survival and could potentially reduce their risk of suffering a long-term disability from the injury.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment, Diagnosis Continues to Elude Military Doctors," David Wood, Sept. 20, 2012

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