Brain-Injury Test for Troops May Be $42M Boondoggle

They go untreated in program plagued with problems: ProPublica, NPR
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 29, 2011 12:50 PM CST
A soldier is treated for traumatic brain injury.   (AP Photo/Bryan Oller)

(Newser) – A military brain-injury testing program has cost $42 million thus far—but hardly any soldiers have benefited from the plan, according to a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica. Their reports suggest the program has a been a huge waste of money that has fallen way short of its primary mission—diagnosing brain injuries among the troops. “We have failed soldiers,” says a retired colonel who used to run the program. “I can see firsthand the soldiers that we've missed, the soldiers that have not been treated, not been identified, misdiagnosed. And then they struggle.”

Congress in 2007 called on the military to test troops’ brain function before and after deployment to help fight the rising number of traumatic brain injuries. One big problem: The test ultimately chosen isn’t the best one available for the job, insiders say. What's more, the people who invented the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric and stood to gain financially from its use were involved in the military's decision to employ it. The Army thinks it's essentially useless at this point, even though soldiers continue to be tested with it. Read ProPublica's full piece here.

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