Tag Archives: brain damage

War injuries advance treatment of brain injuries

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

In a three-part package published this month, the Los Angeles Times‘ Melissa Healy explains recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury, with special focus on the United States armed forces.

  • Treating traumatic brain injuries: Anecdotes from an Army National Guard medic and an equipment officer show how much lives can be changed by traumatic brain injury, an ailment that doesn’t even show up on CT scans or MRIs, and how a simple accurate diagnosis can provide patients with hope and understanding.
  • War injury leads to advances at home: Healy writes that while combat veterans with traumatic brain injury are receiving the lion’s share of the attention, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The “silent epidemic” has hit about 2 percent of the civilian population as well, which totals up to about 11 million since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.
  • Treating brain injuries on the sports field and battlefield: Finally, after tackling diagnosis and prevalence, Healy moves on to treatment. She walks through every step, from prevention to diagnosis to treatment, examining the latest in medical science along the way. It’s the longest piece in the package, and the best to start with if you’re looking for a better technical understanding of traumatic brain injury.

Brain damage caused by football is cumulative

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Philadelphia Daily News has released “Deadly Aftershocks,” an in-depth look at the effect of the day-to-day bumps and knocks of a football career on players’ brains. Reporter Mark Kram talked to brain researchers who found damage associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy was almost common among football players; even athletes as young as 18 showed some indications of it.

Cross-section of the human brain, courtesy of the NIH.

According to Kram’s sources, the only way to overcome the sport’s macho culture of shaking off injuries and jogging back into the fray would be to set up strict guidelines designed to protect the players from themselves.

The brain damage caused by football is cumulative and slow to develop, which makes it particularly tricky to prevent during the heat of athletic competition. Kram looks at the human and physical destruction wrought by this incremental descent into CTE through a series of anecdotes and profiles, drawing the story together with medical and physiological research.

Stories in the package:

Related

AHCJ has some resources about brain injuries: