Troops With Traumatic Brain Injury Show Symptoms 5 Years Later

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | July 3, 2013

A high proportion of the 273,859 troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continued to experience “significant symptoms and problems” five years after injury, the Pentagon said in its first take on a 15-year TBI study mandated by Congress.

The long-term study into those wars’ signature wound -- which results from blasts from improvised bombs and mines -- has received no funding, is based on a skewed cohort limited to active duty personnel and had a woefully slow start.

Congress required the Defense Department to conduct the 15-year longitudinal study in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (section  721), signed into law in 2006. The study did not get underway until 2011, after a review by a Defense panel that oversees medical research, Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, wrote in her cover letter to the first of four reports mandated for the third, seventh, eleventh and 15th year of the study.