Brain Injuries Common in Our Troops
Mark McDonough PhD, who specializes in brain injuries spoke at an international conference on combat stress and discussed the impact of brain injuries on troops. He concluded that traumatic brain injury may be the “signature injury” of the Iraq war. The Kelvar helmets help prevent penetrating head wounds, but don’t adequately protect an individual from a closed head injury.
Unfortunately brain trauma that affects the white matter of the brain difficult to spot on a CT scan. So a soldier can be close to a blast, survive it without losing any limbs, may get a quick scan of his head, and assume everything is okay because he doesn’t have any visible injuries.
This is important because soldiers with traumatic brain injuries could have slower reaction times, be subject to confusion or be more suggestible to leading questions. Dr. McDonough reported they could also be more easily implanted with false memories. All of these negative consequences of a traumatic brain injury could pose a security risk if these soldiers were returned to combat.