Hello, my name is Loren Teachey and my project was on Traumatic Brain Injuries and their effects on soldiers and veterans.
By definitionTraumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of physical trauma to the head causing damage to the brain.It is the Most Common heath issue of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
One of the most prominent causes of TBI is automobile accidents. This is a major issue in the military too, when a vehicle gets involved with an IED explosion or any other serious accidents.Another cause, which is more specific to the military, are the previously mentioned IED explosions as well as firearms use. All of these occurrences mentioned do damage to the brain by means of shaking it, which jars the brain around insides the victim’s head causing structural damage, or by exposing organs connected to the brain, like the eyes or the ear drums, to extreme conditions like bright flashes of light or extremely loud bangs. These are the causes most affecting the soldiers.
Some symptoms of TBI include blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, ringing in the ears, and distorted senses such as taste or smell. Other more serious symptoms can include concussions, and even mild to serious comas.TBI can also cause blindness, deafness, abnormal swelling of the brain, seizures or epilepsy, fainting, seeing stars or short and long term memory lapses. Another are of human function that TBI affects is a person’s motor skills and how they complete daily tasks.
My first research question was “What is being done to cure or aid veterans with brain trauma?”. Through research and my interview, I’ve found out a lot. The answer to my question is that doctors and researchers are doing all they can to find out more about cures and how to aid patients with TBI, but are having a tough time finding them. There are various rehabilitation processes, but unfortunately, no cures. Brain injuries are among the most complex and difficult to solve maladies to the human body, and may never heal completely. As with most common injuries, less severe ones take les time to heal, while the most drastic ones can take months and years, or maybe a lifetime.
My second research question was “What can be done to prevent brain trauma injuries among soldiers and veterans?”. My interview with Dr. George W. Rutherford of the University of California-San Francisco, gave me a lot of valuable information on this subject. He told me that prevention was based on a three tiered system. This system includes avoidance of the sources of traumatic brain injuries, such as IED blasts or intense battlegrounds, researching and using better protective gear like armor or better helmets, and limiting further exposure to more damaging causes of TBI by decreasing field response times and improving battlefield care. The quicker a TBI is diagnosed and treated, the smaller the chance of the injury being life threatening.
My last research question was “How are soldiers and veterans dealing with brain trauma injuries in daily life?”. Once again, my research and interview were immensely helpful on this question. For many veterans with TBI, living alone is not an option. These veterans have such serious cases of TBI that they might need to live in an assisted living home where someone can constantly monitor them and make sure they are doing well at all times and are there to answer their needs. For other younger veterans, they may choose to live with a loved one so that they too can have the constant help and support they need. This type of care is especially good because the veteran are with the people that love them and care for them the most, and are always there to prevent them from developing hazardous conditions like severe PTSD or thoughts of suicide. TBI is strongly linked with these issues.
What is the future like for this condition?
The future for TBI is a mixed bag. Right now there are a lot of uncertainties about the condition as there are so many variables involved and the condition has a lot of unknowns left to uncover. However, there is a bright side to the future. As research continues and more information is uncovered about this mysterious condition, aid for veterans will increase and possible methods of cures will immerge. Not only will cures be available, but government funding will increase and veterans with the condition will be able to get benefits to help them cope with the condition.
What did I learn about this project? I went into this project knowing almost nothing about this issue, other than what can be taken from common sense. I believe that the most important piece of information that I have learned is just about how serious brain injuries can be. For example, one video I watched told the story of a man who had to have a part of his skull removed for a brief period of time to prevent further damage from occurring because of the swelling of the damaged part of his brain. The next most important thing I learned was how important research is for the medical field, and how important it is to us as humans, so that we can recover from the scars of war successfully. I also learned about how important it is to recognize the issues that soldiers face on a daily basis and how our problems are like small potatoes compared to what they go through everyday.
Traumatic Brain Injuries LOREnteachey May, 7, 2010 Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/lfamily/186532580/
What Is TBI? Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/crystaljingsr/3914729343/sizes/o/
CAUSE Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxborrow/82522931/sizes/o/
Effect Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/genista/309318900/sizes/o/
AID Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/646304678/sizes/o/
PROTECTION Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/selesnick/3878155453/sizes/l/
Care Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/er1danus/2542617388/sizes/o/
Future Image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3629569854/sizes/o/
This image is used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisk4u/4051071990/sizes/o/
Learning This image used under a CC license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkmoose/183909147/sizes/o/
Works Cited Barclay, Laurie. “Traumatic Brain Injury.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Neurological Disorders. Ed. Stacey L. Chamberlin and Brigham Narins. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 866-72. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE|CX3435200358&v=2.1&u=cant48040&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w>. This source is basically an overview of the details of my topic. It gives an accurate account of what TBI is really like, and gives its symptoms and affects. “Brain Injury Linked To Traumatic Stress.” CBS News Health. CBS Interactive, Inc., 30 Jan. 2008. Web. 27 Apr. 2010. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/30/health/main3770884.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;1>. This cource is about a link between TBI and PTSD. This article explains how research on TBI can help aid those with PTSD. Fernandez, Elizabeth. “New treatments for traumatic eye injuries.” SFGate.com. Hearst Communications, Inc., 9 Mar. 2008. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-03-09/bay-area/17167856_1_eye-injuries-polytrauma-veterans-affairs>. This article talks about links between eye damage and TBI. It shows that investigation and researhc in TBI can have good effects for those blinded by traumatic injuries. This also might have a good use in the non-army world. Gardner, Amanda. “Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked to Long-Term Health Issues for Iraq Vets.” ABC News Health. ABC News Internet Ventures, 4 Dec. 2008. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=6395686&page=1>. This article talks about the long term affects of TBI. For example, brain tumors and other abnormalties can occur after many years of having TBI. Hefling, Kimberly. “Treating brain-injured vets over long term.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, LLC., 1 Apr. 2010. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/01/how-to-treat-brain-injured-over-long-term/>. This article is about finding ways to treat aging TBI patients in the future. It talks about the difficulty of the task and the various unknowns of the situation. Iraq’s Brain Trauma Impact. CBS News. CBS Interactive, Inc., 25 Mar. 2005. Web. 4 May 2010. <http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=682696n>. This video is about the serious effects of TBI. It shows how drastic the injury really is. It also shows how devasting the recovery process is and how it physically and mentally affects a person with TBI. Roberts, Chris. “War on brain injuries: Researchers study effects on soldiers.” El Paso Times [El Paso] 9 Apr. 2010: n. pag. Web. 4 May 2010. <http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_14847464>. This newspaper article is about the affects of TBI on soldiers. The article talks about various details of TBI such as the symptoms and effects, and also how patients are being helped. Rutherford, George W., Dr. E-mail interview. 3 May 2010. This was my e-mail interview conducted with Dr. George W. Rutherford. It deals with 10 of my personally constructed questions and their answers. Conducted Monday, May 3, 2010. Zoroya, Gregg. “360,000 veterans may have brain injuries.” USA Today. USA Today, 5 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-03-04-braininjuries_N.htm>. This article talks about the massive impact that TBI and brain injuries have had on veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This article really puts the issue into perspective with its facts. - - -. “VA to increase benefits for mild brain trauma.” USA Today. USA Today, 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2008-09-22-tbibenefits_N.htm>. This article talks about the benefits that soldiers and veterans with TBI could be getting in the near future. This is a good example of hope for these soldiers who deal with some serious problems.