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A Look At Combat Head Injury and Brain Injury

An interesting post in Doctor blog looks at the head injuries and brain injuries sustained in battle.  The post contains a good description of the mechanism of head injury and potential brain damage sustained by ABC news correspondent Bob Woodruff.

The post also cites an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May discussing the statistics on brain trauma in the Iraq conflict and which reiterates the point that these numbers hide the true proportion of traumatic brain injury since many cases of closed head injury are not diagnosed promptly.  Read the full New England Journal of Medicine Brain Injury Article, Traumatic Brain Injury in the War Zone.

Here is good description of how the head and brain are injured in a blast:

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.

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