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Blast trauma to brains linked to veterans' symptoms

In Ohio and across the country, stories about veterans struggling with headaches, memory problems, loss of mental focus or emotional volatility have become painfully familiar. Proximity to explosions had been suspected as the source of brain damage, but physicians often did not find evidence of this on the brain scans of veterans experiencing symptoms.

Military medical researchers may now know why. They have identified scarring on brain tissues of blast victims that differs from the trauma typically associated with brain injuries from car crashes or sports accidents. A physician on the study team expressed his hope that the new information about blast-specific brain scarring would help diagnose the brain damage of veterans. Veterans plagued by brain problems have been known to commit suicide or abuse drugs. The physician said the scars indicated that the body was trying to heal brain injuries, and developing treatments might be possible.

In the past, some veterans have been denied care for their injuries because traditional approaches to brain imagining showed no abnormalities. Historically, physicians might have accused veterans that experienced cognitive and mood disorders and sleep problems of malingering. The old term for these symptoms of traumatic brain injury was shell shock.

Living in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury can cause a person to have difficulty with daily functioning or holding a job. A person hurt by a negligent person or organization might file a lawsuit to recover compensation. An attorney could collect evidence that illustrates negligence and present the case in court. The lawsuit might seek to include long-term costs as part of the settlement. A lawyer could document medical and rehabilitative costs and add them to the projected income loss of the victim. During this process, court paperwork and negotiations for compensation could be managed by the attorney.

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