Military & TBI

TBI has become the signature injury of the current wars in Iraq & Afghanistan

More than 11,800 troops have been seriously injured in an IED attack, and many thousands more have been near enough to suffer a concussion.

As of October 31st, 2006, only 1,652 soldiers and marines who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been officially diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Based on existing data, veterans’ advocates believe that between 10 and 20% of Iraq veterans, or 150,000 and 300,000 people, have some level of TBI. Among wounded troops, the rate of TBI rises to 33%.

In 2005 the Brain Trauma Foundation, supported by a grant from the Defense & Veterans Brain Injury Center, created the Guidelines for the Management of Combat Related Head Trauma.

DOD Advanced Technology Award

Undiagnosed and untreated mTBI has become a significant problem for service men and women serving in Iraq, and the Department of Defense expressed an early interest and funding in the eye tracking project. In September 2008 the DOD awarded BTF a four-year grant $4.6 million grant to develop a portable eye tracking device that can be used on service men and women in the field to instantly determine if they have suffered any brain damage as a result of blast injury or another type of head injury. The researchers at BTF have been working with engineers and researchers at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to develop this device that will revolutionize the way mTBI is diagnosed and help insure that service men and women with brain injury get the care that they need and are not sent back into the field where they could potentially be in harms way.

Re “Home From War, Veterans Say Head Injuries Go Unrecognized” (front page, New York Times, Aug. 26 2008):

To the Editor:

Brain injuries are a signature issue of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and tests to detect them are limited, leading to many troops’ conditions being misdiagnosed or undiagnosed as they return home from combat. Yet there is hopeful news on the horizon.

The Brain Trauma Foundation, with the support of the Department of Defense, is developing a hand-held eye-tracking device that will enable military personnel to determine within seconds — on the battlefield — if a soldier has been subjected to a traumatic brain injury, a condition that has been historically difficult to detect.

This important new technology will allow for even faster and more appropriate treatment and, ultimately, better outcomes for the thousands of men and women serving our country on the front lines.

Jamshid Ghajar
New York, Aug. 27, 2008
The writer, a neurosurgeon, is president of the Brain Trauma Foundation.

Support Research on TBI in the Military

Dr. Michael Geldner Matching Program

Dr. Michael Geldner was a dedicated neurosurgeon born and educated in Poland. He practiced throughout the world, including: Poland, Israel, New York, Maine, and Wisconsin. In his long career he served as the Senior Assistant, Department of Neurosurgery at University Hospital, Warsaw, Poland, Chief of Service, Department of Neurological Surgery, Government Hospital, Tel Hahomer, Tel Aviv, Israel; Fellow at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Hospital, New York, NY; and Research Associate at the New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY.

The doctor’s research included works such as “War Injuries of the Nervous System.”

It is in his memory & in the spirit of that reserach that The Dr. Michael Geldner Matching Program was established by the Brain Trauma Foundation through the support of The Joanne & Alan Silverman Family Foundation in order to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for military personnel with Traumatic Brain Injuries.

Please contribute to this important research here. When making your donation please note that it is in memory of Dr. Michael Geldner.

Further Reading

War injury leads to advances at home

Treating brain injuries on the sports field and battlefield

Blast-Related Brain Injury: Imaging for Clinical and Research Application Report of the 2008 St. Louis Workshop

Pentagon Seeks Battlefield Device to Diagnose Brain Injury

Support the Troops in Need of Care

Out of Sync: The effects of Traumatic Brain Injury and the battle to recovery.