Pentagon Delayed Brain Scans for Returning Troops

Brass feared troops would blame health woes on TBI
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 18, 2008 6:57 PM CDT
At left, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates greets troops returning home from Iraq for a two-week leave.    (AP Photo/Ron Heflin)
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(Newser) – Seeking to duck controversy, the Pentagon did not screen returning US troops for brain injuries for more than 2 years. Top brass feared that soldiers would blame minor health woes on brain trauma—which could spark another Gulf War Syndrome, Air Force Col. Kenneth Cox told USA Today. But one lawmaker blasted the move as "baloney. There was no need to delay this."

A report last month found 11% of soldiers surveyed had signs of brain injury, but few were treated. Now the Pentagon is taking action: Future returners will be screened immediately. "Here we are five years into this war, and the Pentagon is just now coming to grips with how to track and treat those" with traumatic brain injury, one lawmaker said. (Read more Pentagon stories.)