A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasizes the important medical consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in US soldiers returning from Iraq. Although the exact number of combat related TBIs is not known, in a survey of over 2500 soldiers returning from Iraq, almost five percent reported injuries with loss of consciousness. A further ten percent reported injuries with altered mental status and seventeen percent reported other injuries during deployment. Importantly, of those reporting loss of consciousness, nearly forty-four percent met criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and over twenty-seven percent of those reporting altered mental status, also met criteria for PTSD.
The authors conclude that mild TBI, i.e. concussion, occurring among soldiers deployed in Iraq is strongly associated with PTSD and physical health problems three to four months after the soldiers return home. The authors point out that PTSD and depression are important mediators of the relationship between mild TBI and physical health problems.
Researchers at the Roskamp Institute (Institute) are seeking to find new treatments for TBI. In order to do this, they are examining the pathways which are disrupted after TBI to determine which genes and proteins are implicated in pathways of repair or of degeneration. Institute researchers are particularly interested in finding new medications that can intercept the degenerative pathways which occur after TBI. The Institute is devoted to finding new treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Institute researchers have a particular interest in the link between AD and TBI.