New measurements may help victims of traumatic brain injury

When military personnel, athletes and accident victims are knocked around as a result of blast force or impact trauma, the consequences can be devastating. Americans now understand that even relatively minor accidents can lead to both traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and lasting brain damage generally. However, the military, the sports world and the medical industry are only now beginning to understand just how long-term TBI symptoms develop and may be treated.

Not so long ago, it was thought that only major accidents could result in TBI. However, the public is increasingly being educated on the fact that multiple minor traumas and repeated hits can also lead to many long-term effects of TBI. Brain experts within the medical community, the sports world and the military are continually finding ways to explore the phenomenon of TBI development with an aim of better preventing, diagnosing and treating these injuries.

Recent efforts by the military focus on the intersection of TBI and concussive blasts. In particular, experts are curious about the ways in which TBI develops in response to concussive blasts. Much like the sports world, the military has long-approached TBI as an issue primarily contained to major accidents and trauma. However, evidence suggests that exposure to multiple concussive blasts over time can lead to TBI development in many cases.

As a result, the military is creating technology designed to measure blasts and the brain’s response to them. It is hoped that in more accurately quantifying and qualifying these measurements the military will better be able to understand TBI development and ultimately help victims of these injuries in more substantial ways.

Source: TIME, “A TBI Yardstick,” William Treseder, July 10, 2013