There was very interesting article in today’s Washington Post concerning the U.S. military’s efforts to fully understand and treat traumatic brain injury in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the last 10 years or so, scientists have made exceptional advances in our understanding of brain injury and its varying effects on individuals.
For example, the article points out that even though an individual has no visible signs of injury, a blow to the head or a whiplash or coup-contra-coup injury can cause injuries to neurons and brain chemistry that can significantly change that person’s brain function and/or personality. The surgeon general of the United States Navy admitted that it has taken a long time for the scientific community to accept this.
The article also addresses the difficulty that doctors and other health care professionals face in treating victims of traumatic brain injury. Many victims must relearn or be taught behavior modification, and alterations in the patients’ brain chemistry make finding the right drug for treatment very challenging. Further, impulsiveness and lack of appreciation for consequences also make things difficult for the families and loved ones of traumatic brain injury victims.
Anyone interested in learning the basics about traumatic brain injury should read the article.