KISSIMMEE, Florida – A researcher from the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) shared findings on the effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) on service members during the first 30 days following an improvised explosive device (IED) blast.
“The purpose of this study was to utilize a natural history approach to describe and understand symptom recovery in injured military personnel diagnosed with a blast related mTBI,” said Dr. Anna Tschiffely, Research Psychologist, Neurotrauma Department, NMRC. The findings were presented during a poster session at the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS), August 27 – 30.
Tschiffely, along with other NMRC researchers, focused on examining the first 30 days following injury in a cohort of service members injured by an IED related blast. The study focused on examining personnel injured in a dismounted (on foot) patrol vs. a mounted (in vehicle) patrol.
“Clinicians and patients alike may be interested in our findings to understand how the brain recovers following a blast exposure injury. The more we understand about what the days, weeks, and months following blast exposure look like in injured service members, the better we can treat them in the short-term and the long-term,” said Tschiffely.
Visual changes lasted three quarters of a day longer in service members injured during dismounted patrol. According to Tschiffely, it is important for clinicians to know military personnel injured during a dismounted patrol may have visual changes longer than personnel injured in a vehicle. This knowledge will help clinicians regarding the return to duty of service members.
“While most service members returned to full-duty within 7-8 days, our findings indicate that headache is a common and persistent symptom. Service members who were involved in a dismounted patrol may report visual changes longer than service members injured during a mounted patrol,” said Tschiffely.
MHSRS is the Department of Defense's (DoD) premier scientific meeting; a unique collaborative opportunity for military medical care providers, DoD scientists, academia and industry to exchange information on research advancements and health care developments in the areas of combat casualty care, military operational medicine, clinical and rehabilitative medicine and military infectious disease research program. NMRC’s eight laboratories are engaged in a broad spectrum of activity from basic science in the laboratory to field studies at sites in austere and remote areas of the world to operational environments. In support of the Navy, Marine Corps, and joint U.S. warfighters, researchers study infectious diseases; biological warfare detection and defense; combat casualty care; environmental health concerns; aerospace and undersea medicine; medical modeling, simulation and operational mission support; and epidemiology and behavioral sciences.
NMRC and the laboratories deliver high-value, high-impact research products to support and protect today's deployed warfighters. At the same time researchers are focused on the readiness and well-being of future forces.