Researchers have developed a new method to find out the source of excruciating headaches and other brain conditions suffered by many veterans.
After a thorough research, military scientists discovered an unusual pattern of scarring in the brains of veterans who passed away days or years after being exposed to a powerful explosion.
According to a team of scientists from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Maryland, the scarring is different than other brain injuries from car or sports accidents.
During the study, scientists analyzed the brains of eight men who survived explosions but died later due to injuries or other causes that might be related to their suffering, such as drug overdoses and suicide. Then, experts compared the collected data with the one gathered from other brain analysis of 15 civilians who suffered brain injuries from vehicle or sports accidents. Some of them were also addicted to opioids.
According to Dr. Daniel Perl of USU, the brain scarring was, in fact, the result of the brain’s attempt to heal itself. Furthermore, these symptoms have been labeled as “shell shocks” until now because they include anxiety, depression, memory problems, sleep disorders, difficulty concentrating and headaches.
Now, scientists have changed the name to TBI, traumatic brain injury. Another crucial step of the research was that researchers also made a thorough examination of the brains of civilians who suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, the popular pattern of brain damage usually associated with football players.
In other words, the two groups of men did not have the same pattern of brain damage, meaning that brain scarring is not linked with the accidents suffered by civilians. The scarring was localized around the penetrating blood vessels, under the superficial covering of the brain, at the junctions of the white matter and the gray matter.
Scientists are very optimistic because they established the nature of the brain scarring and the range of possible events that cause it. In addition to this, it is possible that the damage originates from the explosion itself.
Nevertheless, further research is needed in order to understand the full extent of the brain scarring’s consequences. Plus, scientists want to find a method of identifying this scarring in living people. This way, they could be offered medical assistance and all the support they deserve and need.