Since the first Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeting U.S. troops exploded in Afghanistan in 2003, American service members have suffered no fewer than 330,000 brain injuries in combat, according to military statistics.

Explosions are obviously the most common cause of brain injuries for troops. But scientists don’t understand exactly how a blast damages the brain. And this limits their ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat the injury.

Desperate for a breakthrough, one Navy researcher looked to some seemingly unlikely inspirations: propellers, submarines, and shrimp—and a phenomenon known as “cavitation,” which occurs when a shock wave compresses gas into tiny bubbles that then burst.

Dr. Timothy Bentley, a program manager at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia, told The Daily Beast he believes explosions could cause bubbles to form inside troops’ brains. The formation and subsequent popping of the bubbles could damage brain cells and, over time, contribute to a host of conditions. Post-traumatic stress. Loss of hearing and eyesight. Even Alzheimer’s.

Read More- The Daily Beast

Image courtesy of the Daily Beast