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Scans Show Details of Damage to Soldiers With Head Injuries

News Picture: Scans Show Details of Damage to Soldiers With Head Injuries

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Complications such as narrowed blood vessels and increased pressure in the brain are common among U.S. soldiers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, a new study reports.

For the study, researchers conducted brain scans using non-invasive Doppler ultrasound on 88 soldiers who suffered penetrating head injuries (in which the skull is breached) and 34 with closed head injuries. More than 40 percent of them had increased pressure in the brain, called "intracranial hypertension."

Narrowed blood vessels (vasospasm) were detected in the front of the brain in 66 percent of those with a penetrating head injury and 13 percent of those with a closed head injury, and in the back of the brain in 64 percent of those with a penetrating head injury and 14 percent of those with a closed head injury, the scans showed.

The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Stroke Association in Honolulu.

"Research shows that traumatic brain injury is a hallmark of recent military conflicts, affecting nearly a third of all wounded soldiers," lead researcher Alexander Razumovsky, director of Sentient NeuroCare Services in Hunt Valley, Md., said in an American Heart Association news release.

"What we've found is applicable and important to civilian traumatic brain injury patients, given that a significant number of them will have post-traumatic bleeding that will lead to vasospasm and intracranial hypertension," Razumovsky said.

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Feb. 6, 2013