A personal, private decision by the families of eight Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans may have contributed to a significant discovery in the understanding of brain trauma caused by exposure to bomb blasts.

The brains of eight veterans, all exposed to blasts from high explosives in combat, have been found to have microscopic scarring in the star-shaped cells that line the junctions between their gray and white matter, change patterns previously undetected by medical imaging such as CT or MRI scans.

Most significant, researchers for the study, published June 9 in the scientific journal Lancet Neurology, found that the brains of three veterans who died just days after blast exposure showed signs of trying to repair themselves from this microscopic damage.

The findings are the first physical evidence of brain injury resulting from exposure to high explosives, damage that has been called an “invisible wound,” since it does not show up on any tests or scans.

Researchers with the Defense Department’s Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine say the results could account for the physical and behavioral changes seen in some troops after they return from war.

Read More- Military Times

Image courtesy of Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball, Defense Media Activity

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