What Blast Injuries Do to Your Brain

Dr. Daniel Perl describes the unique impact of a blast injury on the brain.

Our service members in combat unfortunately have been exposed to significant numbers of explosions. And these explosions involve a blast which produces what’s called a blast wave, which is a very short high pressure pulse which expands from the explosion in every direction at greater than the speed of sound. And this high pressure pulse passes through the body, can be felt by the individual and actually has been measured inside the intact skull. So we know that it passes through the brain, right. Although it’s very short, it’s a very high energy transfer into the brain. And nobody really knew what it might do the brain, really. It hadn’t been studies in any detail. There’s been experimental work with small animals, mice, and rats on this, but in terms of what the effects on the human were, it really hadn’t been examined in any detail. With this high pressure wave passing through the brain, and it takes only a few milliseconds to pass through and it’s very quick, the potential of specific damage to the brain was there and needed to be examined.
Posted on BrainLine December 13, 2017.

About the author: Daniel P. Perl, MD

Dr. Perl is a Professor of Pathology at USUHS and Director of the CNRM's Brain Tissue Repository, where he has established a state-of-the-art neuropathology laboratory dedicated to research on the acute and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury among military personnel.

Dr. Daniel P. Pearl

Comments (1)

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Retired Army Major, 100% disabled due to multiple TBIs. Would love to tell you my experiences amd behavior changes I've experienced since my brain injuries.