Even mild brain injuries from bomb blasts may put soldiers at risk for long-term health effects, HealthDay News reported.
According to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, researchers used diffusion tensor imaging – a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to analyze the brains of 10 American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. All of the vets had been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries.
The researchers found that the veterans demonstrated significant differences in their brains’ white matter, when compared to a group of 10 people without any brain injuries. The differences were linked with a variety of health problems – including attention deficits, delayed memory and poorer movement and motor skills.
According to the researchers, these findings suggest that even mild brain injuries from blasts can result in long-term brain changes.
"This long-term impact on the brain may account for ongoing [mental] and behavioral symptoms in some veterans with a history of blast-related [mild traumatic brain injuries]," study co-author P. Tyler Roskos, a neuropsychologist and assistant research professor at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said in a society news release.