New research has some troubling news for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: The symptoms of combat concussions can last for years without any improvement.
The New York Times blogged about a study by the University of Oklahoma, which tracked 500 veterans of the two wars who during the period of June 2008 to April 2011 were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) while they were deployed. These military had been treated at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and most of them had received their concussions from explosions.
Then there was another screening done of these 500 veterans to measure how long and how severe their TBI symptoms — such as memory loss, headaches and depression — were, according to The Times.
Then scientists looked at when the veterans had received their TBI, such as four years ago or as long as eight years ago.
The finding was that the symptoms of so-called post-concussion syndrome didn’t improve for those who had their TBI eight years ago, The Times reported.
About half of the veterans who had their TBI four years ago said they still had mild-to-moderate headaches, with 46 percent reporting severe headaches, according to The Times.
The numbers were roughly the same for veterans who had their TBI eight years ago, the study found.
It goes back to that old problem with veterans and TBI: These men and women may appear OK, but they have sustained damage to their brains, as harmful as if they’d received a bullet wound to another part of their bodies.