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Radio Shows | Blast Brain Injury | mp3wmawav

Imagine driving to the store and all of a sudden you can't remember where you're going. In fact you're so disoriented you have to call someone to tell you how to get home. Sounds unbelievable yet it happens quite often to people with a traumatic brain injury.

Headaches, the inability to focus thoughts, becoming lost in familiar places and having trouble remembering things are just a few symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately an increasing number of our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are victims.

Their injury is obvious if there's an open head wound but what about an injury you can't see? We're talking about a blast injury which can be caused by improvised explosive devices which we're hearing about all too often. While the symptoms may be similar to head trauma from a car accident, the damage is different.

Motor vehicle accidents usually involve acceleration/deceleration motions. This means while a person's head has stopped moving, the brain is still in motion and slams into the inside of the skull, causing contusions.

By comparison, the force from a blast sends waves of pressure through a person's body.

The injury occurs when that energy is transmitted by the air or fluid surrounding certain organs in our body. They can include the ear, GI tract, spinal cord and of course the brain. Unlike a tumor or brain hemorrhage, a blast injury is often undetectable with imaging equipment because the injury occurs at the microscopic level.

The death of brain cells associated with learning or memory can happen months after the blast. In fact, blast injuries are sometimes called "silent injuries," because they go unnoticed.

Treatment for blast injury is still in its infancy. That's why we need more research to understand it and design appropriate diagnostics and therapies to manage this "silent disease".

Dr. Hellmich Lab

Left to Right: Yuan Li, Jeremy Cowart, YaPing Zeng, Kristen Kahrig, Evan Corning, Debbie Boone, Douglas S. DeWitt, Ph.D., Helen L. Hellmich, Ph.D., Stacy L. Sell, Ph.D., Bridget E. Hawkins, Joanne C. Cousins, Ph.D. Not pictured: Donald S. Prough, M.D., Donald J. Deyo, D.V.M., Maggie A. Parsley and Sheri Salsbury

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For more information…

Head injury
General information about head injuries from the MedLine Plus service of the National Library of Medicine.
For more information…

Traumatic Brain Injury: Hope through Research
Extensive site from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Provides answers to multiple questions addressing the causes, signs and symptoms, long term problems and latest research in this area.
For more information…

Traumatic Brain Injury - Clinical Trials
Listing of recently completed and ongoing clinical trails (169) focused on traumatic brain injury.
For more information…

Dose - dependent neuronal injury after traumatic brain injury
Research paper by laboratory group of the authors of this radio script - Bridget Hawkins and DS Prough. Brain Research 2005; vol 1044, pages 144-54
For more information…


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