Traumatic brain injuries, PTSD linked to deployment
Traumatic brain injuries sustained during deployment are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms that develop after deployment, according to study results recently published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Researchers conducted clinical interviews and administered self-report assessments to 1,648 active Marine and Navy service personnel 1 month before a 7-month deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. In addition, the researchers conducted a 1-week follow up during deployment and 3 months after deployment.
The study findings show that 56.8% of participants reported traumatic brain injuries before deployment and 17.9% reported traumatic brain injuries occurred during deployment. Of the 327 participants who sustained brain injuries after pre-deployment assessment, 34.3% reported more than one injury and 63.6% experienced alteration of consciousness.
Serious injuries caused by the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for about 52% of traumatic brain injuries related to deployment, according to a press release. The study findings suggest that participants who sustained brain injuries after pre-deployment assessment were more likely to have had prior traumatic brain injuries and reported more severe PTSD symptoms during their deployment.
“Results suggest that deployment-related [traumatic brain injury] may be an important risk factor for PTSD, particularly for individuals with symptoms related to a prior traumatic event,” study researcher Kate A. Yurgil, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, and colleagues concluded.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.