Brits to Study 'Invisible' Brain Injuries

Shock waves from IED blasts affect 20% of US troops in Iraq
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2007 1:48 PM CDT
Bryan Malone, 22, an Army specialist from Haughton, La., adds an item to his day's schedule on an electronic planner during a therapy session at Vanderbilt Medical Center Aug. 2, 2007 in Nashville, Tenn....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The "invisible" brain injuries that are plaguing as many as 20% of US troops coming home from Iraq are now getting attention in Britain, where the Defence Ministry is launching a major study of returning British troops. The injuries, called "mild traumatic brain injury" (mTBI), are the result of shock waves caused by explosions, and they can lead to memory loss, depression, and anxiety.

Because both soldiers and their vehicles are heavily armored, troops often survive blasts from IEDs, but their neurological make-up is injured by the blast wave, an American neurologist tells the Guardian. Bruising and blood clots may not show effects until years later. "This is the first war since the first world war where the major cause of injuries is blasts."