Military personnel who receive concussions from blast or blunt trauma may also show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to University of Pittsburgh researchers.
In a large-scale study of 27,169 participants from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, 12% of personnel with concussions from blunt trauma and 23% from blast trauma also reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms from a combination of blast and blunt trauma consisted of 31% of cases, according to a press release.
Successive concussions also increased the risk for PTSD symptoms, researchers noted. A single blast concussion carried a 22% risk, while a second and third concussion increased the risk to 29% and 34%, respectively.
“The findings regarding the clinical PTSD-symptom levels highlight the importance for military medical personnel to screen for and treat PTSD as well as concussion in personnel exposed to concussions, particularly those exposed to multiple-blast traumas,” Anthony Kontos, PhD, assistant research director for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, stated in a press release.
He added, “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.”
Kontos A. Residual effects of combat-related mTBI. Presented at the Military Health System Research Symposium. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Aug. 13-16, 2012.
Disclosure: The study was funded by the U.S. Special Operations Command Biomedical Initiatives Steering Committee.