Please pause for a moment every day to honor those who have done so much for all of us 73, 104
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The US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory tested the same shock-absorbing pad systems for the ability to decrease non-ballistic impact forces in parachutists' helmets. The helmet upgrade kit reduced impact loading by over 28%. See: USAARL report 2005-05 of March, 2005. and the latest report: PASGT/ACH comparison
4-28-2009: See Doc Bob's Blog for the latest info on brain injury in Iraq and Afghanistan by clicking Here
Head Injuries Push Improvements In Gear
An area of scientific focus at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, headquartered at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is how many traumatic brain injuries, or TBI, are direct results from the shock wave of a blast, and not just from the head impacting with the ground or other head and brain injuries wounds caused by shrapnel, for example, said Laurie Ryan, the center's assistant director for research.
In a preliminary study done among troops treated at Walter Reed, scientists analyzed 155 patients wounded in combat in Iraq to see if any showed signs of combat traumatic brain injury. Of the 155 troops, 96, or 62 percent, showed symptoms of minor to severe brain injuries. Of the 96, 88 likely had sustained an injury as a result of a blast, such as an explosion from a landmine, rocket propelled grenade or improvised explosive device, she said... [Full Article]
Newsweek, Mar 20, 2006, page 37n [full article]
Brain Injury in the War Zone
... A blast creates a sudden increase in air pressure by heating and accelerating air molecules and, immediately thereafter, a sudden decrease in pressure that produces intense wind. These rapid pressure shifts can injure the brain directly, producing concussion or contusion. Air emboli can also form in blood vessels and travel to the brain, causing cerebral infarcts. In addition, blast waves and wind can propel fragments, bodies, or even vehicles with considerable force, causing head injuries by any of these mechanisms. Approximately 8 to 25 percent of persons with blast-related injuries die...
Most adults with a mild TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) recover completely within a year, but moderate and severe TBIs are more likely to cause lingering effects. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with disabilities that resulted from TBIs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Warden said many patients with such injuries who are treated at Walter Reed are able to return to active duty; others retire from the military and receive medical disability payments. The Department of Veterans Affairs is now planning for the large influx of veterans with TBIs from the current conflicts who will need continuing care during the coming years. "These are people who are going back into our communities all across the country, who are potentially going to be struggling," said Warden. "Keep in mind, these patients, because of the nature of their brain injuries, can be the ones at highest risk of falling through the cracks." ...
Other great information is available at the Brain Injury Resource Foundation
"Many of these injuries could be prevented or reduced with the use of cushioned helmets which are now only available to a fraction of the U.S. troops. Everything possible should be done to acknowledge the severity of combat injuries and ensure that brain injury is detected and treated now, and throughout these veterans' lifetimes. "
USA Today June 8, 2006 Pg. 13
The data come from screenings of 1,587 soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and 9,000 at Fort Carson in Colorado. Army Medical Command spokesman Jaime Cavazos said Wednesday that the results of the tests represent “information the enemy could use to potentially make soldiers more vulnerable to harm.” He declined to elaborate.
Pentagon scientists and other health officials have made public similar data from other installations. Those results show that about 10% of combat troops — and 20% in front-line infantry units — suffered concussions during their tours. The injuries frequently go undiagnosed; multiple concussions can lead to permanent brain damage.
The screening is done with a questionnaire prepared by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, a research arm of the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments. The questionnaire is used at four military bases, and center director Deborah Warden has urged that it be used throughout the military. The Pentagon has declined to do so because it questions whether troops can accurately answer the questions in the screening.
Naval Medical Center San Diego, which has been screening Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton for two years — and, more recently, soldiers from the Army's Fort Irwin — released data this week.
Those data show that 10% of 7,909 Marines with the 1st Marine Division suffered brain injuries. Researchers tried to follow up with 500 Marines who suffered concussions. They reached 161 of them and found that 83% were still suffering symptoms on average 10 months after the injury.
At Fort Irwin, 1,490 soldiers were screened, and almost 12% suffered concussions during their combat tours. (ed: doesn't rate "classified" , as US media reports the same issue over and over)
Army scientists at Fort Rucker, Ala., developed, and the U.S. Soldiers Systems Command at Natick, Mass., tested the new Advanced Combat Helmet, an improvement over both the special forces' Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, or MICH, and the current Kevlar helmet.
"The Kevlar is great against penetration injuries [such as from a bullet or shrapnel], but doesn't provide much protection … from concussion injuries because it is not well-padded," Ryan said...
Note: The lifetime cost to care for a brain-damaged military person is between 2.5-3.5 million dollars, not counting the pain and suffering of the trooper and his/her family. That amount of money would buy a LOT of helmet upgrade kits!.
For full article, click here
It is interesting to hear from the troops on the front lines in Iraq that they prefer to install their BLSS upgrade kits in the new, more 'bullet-proof' Marine helmet. The strap suspension system in the new helmet makes it just as uncomfortable for prolonged wear as the old "kevlar". So, bless their inventive souls, they take the upgrade pad kit out of their old kevlar and put in the new LWh helmet or ask us to send them another one. We do so gladly! Anything that will encourage the troops to wear their helmets longer and perform their tasks better and more safely is a goal worth striving for. Commanders want their troops to fight smarter, not just harder!
This article refers to the older PASGT helmet, now superseded in the Marines by
the LWH and Army by the ACH/MICH
Brain injuries high among Iraq casualtiesBy Spc. Chuck Wagner
November 24, 2003
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 24,
2003) -- U.S. casualties in Iraq may be suffering a greater share of
brain injuries than in previous wars, causing concern among military
"It's not designed to absorb impact,"
Doctors Seeing More Brain Injuries From Iraq:
Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at Walter Reed: excerpt
A very informative site from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center describes How Blast Forces Cause Brain Injury. A MUST READ. Some what outdated, as they cite 50% of injuries caused by blasts. The figure as of August, 2005 has risen to over 65% and in 2009 to over 75%.
Monitor, December 13, 2005, Pg. 20)
Short Medical Piece on mechanism of blast injury: This piece discusses the three mechanisms of injury from blasts, mainly related to 9/11, but applicable to all blast forces.