Researchers Identify Unique Pattern of Brain Damage from Blast Injury

A recent study published in the Acta Neuropathlogica Communications medical journal revealed new insight into the damage done by improvised explosive device (IED) blasts. Researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine reviewed the brains of Iraq and Afghanistan War combat veterans who survived at least one blast from an IED and later died of other causes.

The study included five deceased veterans’ brains; their families donated their remains to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. All of the patients died of other causes than an IED blast. The researchers compared the five veterans’ brains to the brains of 24 other deceased civilians.

A close examination of the brains of each patient found that the five veterans’ brains showed a distinct honeycomb pattern that the researchers have now associated with IED blast damage. The brains of the civilian patients showed trauma common to their cause of death. The brains of the veterans all showed the same fractured pattern of tiny wounds regardless of their cause of death.

Researchers believe that the injury pattern in the brain disrupts the area of the brain that controls executive function. This could give answers to why many IED blast survivors have emotional difficulty when returning home from combat. With further analysis, researchers hope to develop better treatment and rehabilitation methods to directly treat the pattern of brain damage common in IED blast survivors.

Veterans who survive IED blasts often come home with physical and mental injuries that cause them difficulty reassimilating with civilian society. Any veteran with a discharge other than dishonorable may be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. If denied disability benefits by the VA or you believe you received an unfair disability rating, contact Veterans Help Group ® for assistance and support. Call today – 1-855-855-8992.