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Military attempts to improve brain injury diagnoses

North Carolina military families have been asked to give a lot, especially if their loved one has been deployed overseas in recent years. The battlefield poses plenty of health risks, but now the army is trying to do some damage control with their failure to diagnose instances of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Though brain injuries can be hard to diagnose in the field, military doctors are now taking action to be precautious.

The prevalence of roadside bombs and other explosions has increased the risk of brain injuries on the battlefield. A TBI occurs when the brain shakes violently within the skull. The problem with such injuries is that they don't always present symptoms. Furthermore, there is no simple, sure-fire test that can be administered in the field.

Now, medics are equipped with some tools to check out those suspected of having TBI. The hope is that those who are believed to have brain injuries, such as a concussion, will be removed from action swiftly.

In the past, the military did not act with caution when soldiers suffered brain injuries in the field by failing to diagnose their troubles. The long-term effects of a brain injury, even a concussion, can be very serious. Finally, military officials are taking the threat of TBI seriously.

When concussions or other TBI are diagnosed and treated efficiently, military personnel will most likely return to full health with time.

Men and women in the military have been asked to sacrifice a lot in order to protect our nation's security. They deserve to be kept as safe as possible. Knowing that many of the long-term brain injuries that service members suffered could have been mitigated with proper care is unsettling. Military officials should always be doing what they can to keep soldiers from unnecessary harm, so it's a relief to see that steps are now being taken.

Source: NPR, "Army Moves To Act Fast On Battlefield Brain Injuries," Quil Lawrence, Feb. 20, 2012

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