As of Feb. 20, more than 2,500 veterans suffering from traumatic brain
injury (TBI) and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have
participated in The
American Legion's online survey that seeks to determine the
effectiveness of treatments for these two conditions.
During the Legion's month-long survey, the Institute of Medicine (IOM)
released a report on Feb. 13, "Gulf
War and Health: Long-Term Effects of Blast Injuries," that examines
how blast exposure increases the likelihood of developing TBI, PTSD and
other long-term health ailments among veterans of the Iraq and
The American Legion welcomed IOM's report as a much-needed study that
will help to determine what research is needed in the area of long-term
health problems caused by blast injuries.
Dr. Jeff Greenberg of Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), which helped
the Legion develop its current survey, said the IOM report "is a
critically important document" with findings that indicate "there is
precious little information about the effects of blast exposure over the
"This is unsurprising. Blast exposure is a highly complex phenomena.
Findings of the report indicate the need for greater resources to
address this health challenge."
Similarly, Greenberg said, the online survey The American Legion and DRC
are conducting attempts to address gaps in the scientific understanding
of veterans' health-care experiences who have been exposed to
psychological or head trauma.
With the information currently being collected from veterans by the
Legion, Greenberg said, "The hope is that this information will lead to
a more pronounced understanding of services received, aimed at
supporting the goal of improved quality of care and better
standardization of care."
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requested IOM to conduct the
study and is reviewing the report to determine whether any changes to
its health-care policies need to be made.
Recommendations for VA from the report include to:
"In the case of veterans with PTSD and TBI," Greenberg said, "there
should be little doubt about the importance of continued research
efforts aimed at improving health care, and ultimately long-term health
outcomes, for those who have so nobly served this nation. Scientists,
practitioners and those who would serve veterans are not at the end of
the journey. Rather, there is a long distance to travel."
Long-term health effects from blast injuries include cardiopulmonary and
cardiovascular function, substance-abuse disorders, chronic pain,
long-term hearing damage, and muscle or bone impairment such as
Since 2001, about 3,000 servicemembers have been killed and 32,000 have
been wounded by blasts from improvised explosive devices.
The American Legion created a committee to research treatments for TBI
and PTSD that are being used by VA, DoD and the private sector. It
issued a report on its findings and recommendations, "The
War Within," in September 2013.
The Legion's current online survey is the latest initiative in its
continuing research on treatments and therapies for TBI and PTSD.
LINK to Survey: http://surveys.questionpro.com/a/t/AKtnPZQqKR
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