Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) have quickly become the signature injury of the two current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Very little is known about how TBIs affect their victims so the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is funding research specifically focused on TBIs. Specifically, researchers are looking at how TBIs:
- Look and act in the brain;
- How they affect returning troops’ ability to control behavior; and
- Can be isolated and separated from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which usually accompanies TBI.
The Martinez VA medical center in California houses 34 researchers and scientists and has received $2.6 million in subsidies from the VA. This medical center has become one of the main facilities in the VA’s network focusing on this type of research. Many of the symptoms of TBI and PTSD overlap and have common characteristics, making specific diagnoses very difficult.
Without a solid diagnosis, rehabilitation becomes very difficult. On the outside, many TBI patients do not appear to be afflicted in any way. Internally, they may have problems performing simple tasks, or may suffer from hearing problems. If doctors cannot determine why you are acting how you are acting, the source of the issue cannot be treated.
Soldiers’ brains are being affected by IEDs in ways we have not encountered before. Instead of just the initial, straight-on, concussive shockwave, the soldiers’ bodies may be moving in different directions than their brain so that the brain is being hit with the initial wave as well as aftershocks. The ffects are not immediately apparent, and it is possible to damage the brain and not the skull.
This research is vital and if it is possible to separate TBI symptoms from PTSD, successful treatment becomes a real possibility. Given the sacrifices soldiers are making on our behalf, successful health care and treatment is the least we can do for them.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.