Military Taking Lead in Research

I have said it many times on the blog, the US Military has been ahead of the game on concussions.  Not only their research but their sudden and correct actions of taking soldiers out of action after sustaining a concussion.  In fact all military personnel who sustain a concussion are not only prescribed rest there is a mandatory 72 hour observation.

From the Defense Department, the US Army Leads the way in this science;

With $633 million and 472 active research projects on traumatic brain injury alone, the Army is driving the science behind this neglected public health problem that affects everyone from kids on the sports field to service members in Afghanistan.

TBI, and especially mild TBI, “is essentially a frontier of medicine,” Army Col. (Dr.) Dallas Hack, director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program, said in a recent interview with American Forces Press Service.

From 2000 to 2011, just over 133,000 soldiers were diagnosed with TBI. For the Defense Department as a whole in that period, 220,000 service members were diagnosed, according to an Army behavioral health specialist.

Interestingly enough the Army concedes that fewer than 25% of concussion come as a result of battle, the vast majority coming from training accidents and other non-battle field incidents.

Research being funded includes a range of neuroimaging or brain scanning technologies; quantitative electroencephalography or brain mapping, blood tests for biomarkers of brain injury, and even drugs that may prevent injuries from mild brain trauma.

Brain imaging is “probably the current best we can do,” Hack said, but scientists often don’t have enough data to interpret mTBI scans.

“The fact is,” he added, “that on the milder injuries you don’t see physical defects but you can see functional issues.”

It is good to know someone somewhere is doing unbiased work.  Also to note that the use of “mild” in this article is correct, as they are describing traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Current nomenclature is a mild TBI (mTBI) is a concussion.  This is different from a severe TBI which would be a kin to a crushed skull or brain bleed.

6 thoughts on “Military Taking Lead in Research

  1. A Concerned Mom April 30, 2012 / 15:02

    “So far, just this one case of a veteran with CTE has been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. But at least three groups of scientists are now conducting brain autopsies on veterans, and they have found CTE again and again, experts tell me. Publication of this research is in the works.”

    “While the sports industry has lagged in responding to the discovery of CTE, and still does not adequately protect athletes from repeated concussions, the military has been far more proactive. The Defense Department has formed its own unit to autopsy brains and study whether blasts may be causing CTE.”

  2. Dr. Annalee Kitay April 30, 2012 / 19:21

    Here is a testimonial that I received today
    that needs to be shared:
     I would like to share our experience with a concussion in hope that it would be of great benefit for others to read:

    My daughter went on a group ski weekend with her friends. There was a ton of ice and the conditions were icy – not  good for skiing. Although Jen was wearing a helmet she slipped on the ice and fell backward hitting the back of her head, then whipping forward landing face down on the ice.  There was no way to prevent a concussion with such a serious wipe out. She had the immediate symptoms of being dazed and feeling out of it. Her head and neck hurt. The sounds around her were too loud, she was sensitive to light. She felt sick to her stomach and was very tired but couldn’t rest.  She went to a room and text-ed me. I told her to get a buddy and have them watch her. I was very worried. The chaperon gave her some Tylenol.  Two days later she return home from the accident.  She looked ok but tiered and had a headache.  These symptoms lasted for 8 weeks. School was getting to be a real problem. She was not able to concentrate. It was very hard to read and comprehend. Teachers were just making noise, nothing was sticking.  The traditional medical community said to have her rest. No activity, no text-ing , no tv, no driving, no to everything, just rest. She couldn’t even rest peacefully. She would wake up every 3 or 4 hours. Never a full night sleep.

    We call our friend in Florida who’s daughter had also had sustained a concussion on the icy slope. She had taken her daughter to Dr. Kitay.  They  had had immediate results with similar symptoms to Jen’s were gone.  I thought it was worth a spring break vacation to see Dr. Kitay and the Atlantic ocean.  Both were amazing. 

    After seeing the Doctor one time  for the Neural Organization Technique, Jen’s demeanor was 90 times better! Seriously. Worth the air fare… Her symptoms were cut in half. There were two more treatments and she was symptom free. A few good nights of full sleep and she and I were back to having conversations and relief that this concussion was gone and behind us. 

     We are very grateful to our friend who was willing to share her experience with us and to tell us about Dr. Kitay and Neural Organization Technique. Dr. Kitay is professional, intuitive, kind and caring. She is a healer. Thank you again and again. 


  3. Military spouse May 3, 2012 / 09:46

    While it is interesting to hear that the military leads the way, it has taken them years to realize that blast waves can actually cause damage to the brain. Prior to 2008, the belief was that only flying debris or contact with a solid object could actually cause damage. They finally realized that the blast wave itself is causing damage. Many veterans were discharged and told they had pre-existing mental disorders when in fact they had suffered mild traumatic brain injuries from repetitive blast exposures. Just my thoughts based on the research that I have done.

  4. buckwheatsrisk May 9, 2012 / 21:49

    maybe it’s just me but i don’t see an kind of brain injury as mild…have the ones calling it mild ever had one? i’m glad there is research being done! how are you doing?

  5. Joseph Ordower May 11, 2012 / 07:42

    During the course of my life, I am now 52, I have had a dozen concussions, including a “moderate closed head injury” and a pseudo-brain tumor. I now deal with constant shaking, mental confusion, constant pain and weakness in my limbs, flashbacks to things that happened while working in the law enforcement/investigation field, anxiety/panic attacks, and chronic depression. Due to everything I have been deemed 100% disabled, but I am at the mercy of a healthcare system that is fully incapable of looking past their own medical ego and willing to look at any of the research that I have found regarding my condition(s). Hopefully DODs research will filter down to the civilian medical profession and they will be able to pull their proverbial heads out of their high strung rears and be willing to look at TBIs and other neuro conditions with true scientific objectivity.

    Thanks for posting the story.

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