Discriminating military and civilian traumatic brain injuries


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Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs at higher rates among service members than civilians. Explosions from improvised explosive devices and mines are the leading cause of TBI in the military. As such, TBI is frequently accompanied by other injuries, which makes its diagnosis and treatment difficult. In addition to postconcussion symptoms, those who sustain a TBI commonly report chronic pain and posttraumatic stress symptoms. This combination of symptoms is so typical they have been referred to as the “polytrauma clinical triad” among injured service members. We explore whether these symptoms discriminate civilian occurrences of TBI from those of service members, as well as the possibility that repeated blast exposure contributes to the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This article is part of a Special Issue entitled ‘Traumatic Brain Injury’.

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