Concussions and PTSD may be linked in military personnel

August 22, 2012

Topic: Injury prevention

Concussions and PTSD may be linked in military personnel.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh discovered that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military personnel may be linked to concussions resulting from a blast or blunt trauma. These findings underscore the importance of injury prevention measures to protect the brain.

For the study, the team of scientists analyzed the medical records of more than 27,000 members of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

The data indicated that PTSD was present in 12 percent, 23 percent and 31 percent of concussions stemming from blunt trauma, blast trauma and blast-blunt trauma, respectively. Furthermore, PTSD became more likely as patients accumulated more injuries, affecting 22 percent, 29 percent and 34 percent of individuals who sustained one, two or three blast concussions.

"The dose-response relationship between the number of blast concussions and residual concussion and PTSD symptoms supports the notion that exposure to blast head trauma has lingering effects," said researcher Anthony Kontos, Ph.D.

This study was presented at the Military Health System Research Symposium.

If not addressed properly, concussions can impair cognitive functions that involve memory, behavior, learning abilities or emotional regulation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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