Daily Revolt

October 28, 2007

20% of Iraqi Troops Suffer Brain Injuries

The chances of damage increase after every tour of duty, since many soldiers in Iraq are being forced to return:
[...]The survey was triggered by fears in the US Army that up to 20% of soldiers were returning with the condition.

Symptoms include memory loss, anxiety and depression. In 90% of cases they disappear within three months.

[...]The Guardian reported that the Pentagon had designated mTBI as one of the "signature injuries" suffered by soldiers coming back from Iraq.

[...]The condition is caused by a blow to the head or by being close to an explosion. It can also be sustained in contact sports such as boxing or rugby.

[...]The frequency of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), used as roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, has put soldiers who have served there at particular risk of the injury.

[...]Kit Malia, a cognitive rehabilitation therapist who will oversee the treatment programme, told The Guardian: "I think the issue is that we don't know whether the Americans are correct.

"But if the American figures are correct, this is massive. Absolutely massive."

From the Guardian:
A US neurologist and former doctor at the US department of veterans affairs, P Steven Macedo, said: "The enemy combatants are not trying to put missiles or bullets into our troops - they are trying to blow up their vehicles with IEDs. But the vehicles and the men wear heavy armour so what goes through them in many cases is the blast wave and we are beginning to see the impact this is having on the neurological make-up of our troops. This is the first war since the first world war where the major cause of injuries is blasts."

[...]Dr Macedo said US army doctors are reporting that up to 20% of soldiers coming home from Iraq have "blast injuries", with 15% of those never recovering. "Someone suffering from this will still be able to use a knife and fork, still be able to talk and walk but they may struggle with bad moods, memory problems or become easily agitated. It is like a computer which is not running programmes properly: you can function but not as quickly or effectively as before."

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