Detection of Blast-Related Traumatic Brain Injury in U.S. Military Personnel, New England Journal of Medicine, June 2, 2011
Dear Dr. Wesch,
I have never found anything as helpful for blast related concussive injury in veterans than our pro bono treatment of seven veterans who's extensive injuries included multiple exposures to blast with loss of consciousness. Most had attempted suicide, one three times. Neuropsychiatric testing when compared to SPECT brain imaging concluded severe cognitive impairment, depression and some severe vestibular disturbances. Blast injury differs from typical focal TBI by exhibiting multi focal areas of damage that is believed caused by air emboli resulting from gas pressure changes during blast exposure.
It appears these silent wounds set off a disease process that can take years to present clinically often as dementia, Alzheimer's or suicide. Encouragingly the DOD has invested in Banyan Biomarkers, in Alatchua, Florida who tell me they can identify very specific brain injury, ie dendritic, anoxal, neuronal glial etc from a drop of blood. They also tell me they would be able to measure improvements from treatments like ours in the same manner.
If Banyan is right, I predict a much larger population of TBI will be identified. Also early intervention to prevent repeat exposures to blast and the intervention of HBOT within 3 hours of blast will prevent reprofusion injury.
All seven veterans we treated had great results, but I will focus on one vet who's only difference was he had no evidence of any trauma except blast exposure. We treated JR, a 23 year old male who had 46 IED exposures, 23 rocket propelled and 4 grenade exposures. There were multiple periods of loss of consciousness for varying times. Seizure activity, anger control, impulse control, light sensitivity, memory, sleeplessness, suicide attempted with overdose, and combative violent life style were part of this young man's history.
Six hours of Neuropysch testing, SPECT brain imaging, were repeated after 40 Hyperbarics dives (treatments) at 2 ATA. JR returned from Houston 9 months later for Neuropsychiatric testing and was on no meds and in the National Honor Society studying Marine Sciences.
JR had vestibular problems that were corrected with Physical Therapy, he received a free sister device of the Alpha Stim.
Please see link: Exploring the relationship between medications and veteran suicide
Here you can find a list of black box drugs that are prescribed in abundance for our veterans. The off label use of these drugs, especially antidepressants should be explored as to the veteran suicide rate. Military medicine refuses to use a safe drug "oxygen" even for wounds! HBO has been shown to reduce amputation of diabetic foot wounds by 75%.
Interestingly, none of the drugs currently used and paid for by Tricare and the VA to treat our brain injured veterans are FDA approved to treat TBI.. but they refuse to pay for HBO!
Paxil & Zoloft are FDA approved for PTSD both of these and nearly all the antidepressants carry FDA black box warnings urging caution in 17-24 year olds because of increased risk of suicide. a 1/31/2008 FDA alert informed the medical community of the increased risk of suicide of nearly all the currently prescribed anti epileptic drugs. Many of these drugs are prescribed off lable to our veterans with PTSD and TBI.
Some of my vets refused to take them due to dysphasia and depressive feelings. A physician researcher in New Orleans has testified before Congress regarding similar findings.
Our work, had we charged would have cost less than $30,000/man.
I hope this information helps.
Raymond H. Cralle, RPT
A veteran's testimonail
"The War Comes Home", by Sherry Karbin, Law.com, May 24, 2011
"Report: Many errors in VA mental health claims" by Rick Maze, Marine Corps Times, May 23, 2011
"Army tries new brain scans to hunt blast effects", Fort Campbell, KY, AP, May 23, 2011
"Returning Middle East Soldiers Cope With Stress Disorder", by Michael D. Abenethy, Times-News, May 21, 2011
"Traumatic Brain Injury Rehab Bill Offers Warriors New Hope", PRNewswire, May 12, 2011
"Brain related traumatic brain injuries turning up in civilian practice", By Bruce Jancin, Internal Medicine New Digital Network, April 24, 2011
"Can Needles Soothe Wounded Warriors?" by Michael Phillips, Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2011
"Getting back to battle with a brain injury" by Blake Farmer, Nashville Public Radio, April 14, 2011
"Blast Injuries: Traumatic Brain Injuries from Explosions" CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 23, 2010
"Representatives of the International Hyperbaric Medical Association Testify Before House Veterans Affairs Committee" Earth Times, July 21, 2010
"Mental Illness Costing Military Soldiers" by Gregg Zoroya, USA Today, July 23, 2010
"Thousands of Soldiers Unfit for War Duty", by David Wood, Politics Daily
"Military Still Failing to Diagnose, Treat Brain Injuries" by T. Christian Miller and Daniel Zwerdling, NPR June 8, 2010
"Two Wars Produce Unique and Puzzling Brain Injuries" by Gregg Zoroya, USA Today, May 25, 2010
"Study Measures Traumatic Brain Injury" by Christen N. McCluney, Special to American Forces Press Service
"Air Force Studies Brain Injuries" by Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service Jan 8, 2010
"Lawmakers want faster progress on TBI, PTSD", by Kelly Kennedy, Army Times, March 3, 2009