IED blasts can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in troops' brains, the same disease found in NFL players who've suffered repeated hits to the head, according to a new study.
Researchers at Boston University (BU) and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System conducted the study on the brains of four fallen service members who were exposed to IED blasts. Dr. Ann McKee of BU says:
"Our results showed that the neuropathology from blast exposure, concussive injury, or both were virtually indistinguishable from those with a history of repeat concussive injury."
CTE is a brain wasting disease caused by repeated trauma to the brain, according to BU. It has been known to affect boxers, and now National Football League players like Dave Duerson and possibly Junior Seau, who both committed suicide. Symptoms include:
[M]emory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.
Dr. Lee Goldstein of BU Medical School says the trauma to the service member's brain is caused by what's known as the "blast wind" from an IED blast, which can reach as much as 330 miles per hour:
"The force of the blast wind causes the head to move so forcefully that it can result in damage to the brain."
The Boston University study was the top story on CBS Evening News last night. Take a look: