Thousands of U.S. soldiers have survived powerful explosions in Iraq. Many are returning home with brain injuries that could result in long-term disabilities. According to an article by Emily Singer in the MIT Technology Review magazine “Traumatic brain injury has been called the signature injury of the Iraq War.” Mild traumatic brain injury, the medical term for a concussion, are by far the most common type of brain trauma. They are more easily missed than moderate and severe injuries (they normally do not show up on standard neurological brain scans). The lasting effects of brain trauma, especially of repeated concussions, are not yet clear. The U.S. Congress appropriated $300 million last year for research into traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
Despite the designation “mild,” even a single concussion is able to produce serious symptoms. These include:
- severe headaches,
- difficulty sleeping,
- problems with memory and concentration, and
- changes in personality.