How Many Service Members Have Had a Blast Injury

Dr. Perl talks about some of the challenges in identifying exact numbers of blast injury in the military but estimates that it's in the hundreds of thousands. He also talks about questions related to women who may suffer from blast injury in the future and civilians impacted by blast injuries as well.
We have a good idea in terms of the numbers that have been affected by blast injury and that’s in the hundreds of thousands. Whether those, what percentage of those individuals are suffering from this lesion, this abnormality that we found under the microscope looking at donated brains, is unclear. We’re working on that and hope to be able to make a statement on that. This is ongoing research and it’s why we need to continue doing what we do. To date, all the specimens we’ve looked at have been males. We are just starting to see a combat role among women. They have been exposed to blast. They will be exposed to blast. But to date we have not had a donation of a single female brain to really answer the question. But it’s certainly an important question. An additional aspect of this is we consider a blast TBI to be a military problem, and indeed it is a major problem for the military, but more and more if one just reads the newspaper each day, one is finding incidents in which civilians have been exposed to blasts, primarily in terms of terrorist activities. So this is slowly becoming a civilian problem as well, in terms of what are the long-term effects on civilians who’ve been involved in these terrorist attacks involving blast exposure.
Posted on BrainLine December 13, 2017.

Comments (1)

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My husband was in the AF in The Vietnam War. He did night missions bombing targets to protect ground troops. He retired and started having night terrors. Totally uncontrollable and violent, requiring me to sleep elsewhere. He was told he had PTSD. After several years of these attacks, he was told he had stage 4 glioblastoma. He lived 4 months and passed away August 2009. Has your research included this condition the cause of his problem?