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USA Today, April 17, 2009

Officials: Troops hurt by brain-injury focus

Their article, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, says the Pentagon and VA are relying on flawed science to identify what the Pentagon estimates may be up 360,000 cases of brain injury suffered by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By Gregg Zoroya

The Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs are overemphasizing mild traumatic brain injury among combat troops at the expense of other medical problems that are going untreated, two Army mental health researchers say in an article that has raised intense objections from other scientists studying the condition.

The number of U.S. troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said Wednesday. The estimate of the number injured — the vast majority of them suffering concussions — represents 20 percent of the roughly 1.8 million men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where blast injuries are common from roadside bombs and other explosives, the doctors said.
The Associated Press, Mar. 4, 2009

Cols. Charles Hoge and Carl Castro say the military should scrap screening questions meant to uncover cases of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) among troops returning from combat. Most troops who suffered a concussion in battle recovered within days of the injury, the researchers say.

Symptoms blamed on TBI after troops return home likely are due to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance abuse, Hoge and Castro say, and the overemphasis on mild TBI keeps troops with those conditions from being properly treated.

Their article, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, says the Pentagon and VA are relying on flawed science to identify what the Pentagon estimates may be up 360,000 cases of brain injury suffered by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hoge and Castro have conducted some of the military's early and influential research on conditions such as PTSD.

Category: US-NATO, Healthcare/Environment - Views: 5383