Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, June 10, 2016

Blast Injuries and PTSD

Research is showing that brain injuries caused by exposure to blast effects are nothing like concussions.
In early 2012, a neuropathologist named Daniel Perl was examining a slide of human brain tissue when he saw something odd and unfamiliar in the wormlike squiggles and folds. It looked like brown dust; a distinctive pattern of tiny scars. ... Perl and his lab colleagues recognized that the injury that they were looking at was nothing like concussion. The hallmark of C.T.E. is an abnormal protein called tau, which builds up, usually over years, throughout the cerebral cortex but especially in the temporal lobes, visible across the stained tissue like brown mold. What they found in these traumatic-brain-injury cases was totally different: a dustlike scarring, often at the border between gray matter (where synapses reside) and the white matter that interconnects it. Over the following months, Perl and his team examined several more brains of service members who died well after their blast exposure, including a highly decorated Special Operations Forces soldier who committed suicide. All of them had the same pattern of scarring in the same places, which appeared to correspond to the brain’s centers for sleep, cognition and other classic brain-injury trouble spots.

Then came an even more surprising discovery. They examined the brains of two veterans who died just days after their blast exposure and found embryonic versions of the same injury, in the same areas, and the development of the injuries seemed to match the time elapsed since the blast event. Perl and his team then compared the damaged brains with those of people who suffered ordinary concussions and others who had drug addictions (which can also cause visible brain changes) and a final group with no injuries at all. No one in these post-mortem control groups had the brown-dust pattern.
Wearing protective gear doesn't help, as the blast wave is transmitted through the entire body. Being inside a vehicle or a building can be worse, as the blast wave is then reflected back through the body.

I can see a lot of real good coming from this research. Especially if they can find a way to diagnose it in living people. For one thing, the people who suffer from it will know that it's not due to weakness or, as the British Army put it a century ago (just before they shot people for it), "lack of moral fibre". It's a real injury.


The New York Crank said...

The story brings to mind General Patton during WWII, slapping a shellshocked soldier for being shellshocked. Great, sensitive guy, that Patton. I hope he's in a place where 100 shell shock victims a day, including those who were executed for their injuries, come by and give him a good hard one across his face.

Oh, and no doubt, if given the opportunity, a certain Republican candidate for a certain high office would tell us,
"I like soldiers who don't get shellshocked."

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

deadstick said...

This seems to be coming full circle. The condition got the name "shell shock" in the WW1 era because it was assumed due to shell concussions; more recently it was renamed PTSD to attribute it to psychic trauma associated with combat in general. Now this research seems to be confirming the older conclusion.