|Blogs||Articles||Organizations||Biography||Jack's Book||Contact Information||Links|
Navigation: SOS Sisson > Traumatic Injury Blog
Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
A hug is duct tape for the soul.
Friday, March 08, 2013
Are brain injuries from IED blasts causing the military suicide crisis?
From NBC NEWS.COM:
Traumatic brain injuries sustained by more than 200,000 U.S. troops may be fueling the military’s suicide crisis, according to a letter co-signed by 53 congressional members who are seeking additional data to investigate the new theory.
In the letter, sent Tuesday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the lawmakers urged both agencies to provide Congress with a raft of figures, including the number of Iraq and Afghanistan service members and veterans who committed suicide or tried to end their lives after being brain injured by the detonation of an improvised explosive device — “the weapon of choice” in both wars.
“Evidence has suggested that blast injuries, including but not limited to those causing damage to vision or hearing, can have a severe psychological impact ... that can play a major contributing role in suicides,” read the bi-partisan letter.
Between November 2011 and October 2012, there were more than 15,000 IED attacks against U.S. service members in Afghanistan, and 58 percent of all coalition casualties during that span were caused by the hidden bombs, the letter states.
At least three veterans groups, including the Blinded Veterans Association, are backing the congressional push to — as the letter to DOD and VA states — “get a better understanding of the connection between blast injuries and suicide.”
“I’ve talked to a lot of neurologists, military neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons who have all started to ponder if the IEDs that have caused the TBIs are the real cause of the suicides, versus the traditional approach that suicides are all caused by the psychological stresses of combat,” said Thomas Zampieri, head of government relations for the Blinded Veterans Association.
“Let’s collect more information and maybe the epidemiologists will find a way to unlock some of this mystery: Are military suicides actually more related to the brain injuries? I think there may be a big connection,” added Zampieri, who served as a Vietnam-era Army medic. “As the numbers of TBIs go up, the numbers of suicides continue to go up.”
The portion of U.S. service members who sustained TBIs increased each year from 2001 to 2011 — with a total of 266,810 brain injuries diagnosed in American troops between 2000 and 2012, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, part of the DOD. More than 80 percent of those injuries were not deployment-related cases, with many occurring amid crashes of privately owned cars and military vehicles.
Army soldiers account for the vast majority of diagnosed TBI cases, and those injuries range from “mild” (a concussion) to “severe.” Within the Army, the suicide rate among active-duty members has risen from 9 per 100,000 in 2001 to nearly 23 per 100,000 in 2011, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
During that same span, according to the DOD’s brain injury center, the number of annual TBI diagnoses among American troops has ballooned from 11,580 in 2001 to 32,609 in 2011 — an increase of 182 percent.
“What is significant is that we are looking at a potential paradigm shift of significant proportion if the link between low-level TBI from IEDs emerges,” said retired Army Col. Bob Morris, founder of the Global Campaign against IEDs.
LinksTBI Film Reviews
TBI Book Reviews
Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
SoapBlox/Chicago: Protecting Our Troops
Head Injury Survival Journal
Losing the Physical Self
Tower of Hanoi: Instructions for this popular puzzle can be viewed simply by clicking the Instructions button on that page.
May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 January 2009 March 2009 April 2009 December 2009 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 October 2013