Mild traumatic brain injury (concussion), posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression in U.S. soldiers involved in combat deployments: association with postdeployment symptoms.
ABSTRACT Several studies have examined the relationship between concussion/mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and postdeployment symptoms. These studies indicate that the multiple factors involved in postdeployment symptoms are not accounted for in the screening processes of the Department of Defense/Veteran's Affairs months after concussion injuries. This study examined the associations of single and multiple deployment-related mTBIs on postdeployment health.
A total of 1502 U.S. Army soldiers were administered anonymous surveys 4 to 6 months after returning from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan assessing history of deployment-related concussions, current PTSD, depression, and presence of postdeployment physical and neurocognitive symptoms.
Of these soldiers, 17% reported an mTBI during their previous deployment. Of these, 59% reported having more than one. After adjustment for PTSD, depression, and other factors, loss of consciousness was significantly associated with three postconcussive symptoms, including headaches (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-2.3). However, these symptoms were more strongly associated with PTSD and depression than with a history of mTBI. Multiple mTBIs with loss of consciousness increased the risk of headache (OR = 4.0, 95% CI = 2.4-6.8) compared with a single occurrence, although depression (OR = 4.2, 95% CI = 2.6-6.8) remained as strong a predictor.
These data indicate that current screening tools for mTBI being used by the Department of Defense/Veteran's Affairs do not optimally distinguish persistent postdeployment symptoms attributed to mTBI from other causes such as PTSD and depression. Accumulating evidence strongly supports the need for multidisciplinary collaborative care models of treatment in primary care to collectively address the full spectrum of postwar physical and neurocognitive health concerns.
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ABSTRACT: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex mental disorder with psychological and emotional components, caused by exposure to single or repeated extreme traumatic events found in war, terrorist attacks, natural or man-caused disasters, and by violent personal assaults and accidents. Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain is violently rocked back and forth within the skull following a blow to the head or neck as in contact sports, or when in close proximity to a blast pressure wave following detonation of explosives in the battlefield. Penetrating TBI occurs when an object penetrates the skull and damages the brain, and is caused by vehicle crashes, gunshot wound to the head, and exposure to solid fragments in the proximity of explosions, and other combat-related head injuries. Despite clinical studies and improved understanding of the mechanisms of cellular damage, prevention and treatment strategies for patients with PTSD and TBI remain unsatisfactory. To develop an improved plan for treating and impeding progression of PTSD and TBI, it is important to identify underlying biochemical changes that may play key role in the initiation and progression of these disorders. This review identifies three common biochemical events, namely oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and excitotoxicity that participate in the initiation and progression of these conditions. While these features are separately discussed, in many instances, they overlap. This review also addresses the goal of developing novel treatments and drug regimens, aimed at combating this triad of events common to, and underlying, injury to the brain. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.Brain Research 12/2014; 1599. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2014.12.038 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Blast-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been a common injury among returning troops due to the widespread use of improvised explosive devices in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. As most of the TBIs sustained are in the mild range, brain changes may not be detected by standard clinical imaging techniques such as CT. Furthermore, the functional significance of these types of injuries is currently being debated. However, accumulating evidence suggests that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to subtle white matter abnormalities and may be especially useful in detecting mild TBI (mTBI). The primary aim of this study was to use DTI to characterize the nature of white matter abnormalities following blast-related mTBI, and in particular, examine the extent to which mTBI-related white matter abnormalities are region-specific or spatially heterogeneous. In addition, we examined whether mTBI with loss of consciousness (LOC) was associated with more extensive white matter abnormality than mTBI without LOC, as well as the potential moderating effect of number of blast exposures. A second aim was to examine the relationship between white matter integrity and neurocognitive function. Finally, a third aim was to examine the contribution of PTSD symptom severity to observed white matter alterations. One hundred fourteen OEF/OIF Veterans underwent DTI and neuropsychological examination and were divided into three groups including a control group, blast-related mTBI without LOC (mTBI-LOC) group, and blast-related mTBI with LOC (mTBI + LOC) group. Hierarchical regression models were used to examine the extent to which mTBI and PTSD predicted white matter abnormalities using two approaches: 1) a region-specific analysis and 2) a measure of spatial heterogeneity. Neurocognitive composite scores were calculated for executive functions, attention, memory, and psychomotor speed. Results showed that blast-related mTBI + LOC was associated with greater odds of having spatially heterogeneous white matter abnormalities. Region-specific reduction in fractional anisotropy (FA) in the left retrolenticular part of the internal capsule was observed in the mTBI + LOC group as the number of blast exposures increased. A mediation analysis revealed that mTBI + LOC indirectly influenced verbal memory performance through its effect on white matter integrity. PTSD was not associated with spatially heterogeneous white matter abnormalities. However, there was a suggestion that at higher levels of PTSD symptom severity, LOC was associated with reduced FA in the left retrolenticular part of the internal capsule. These results support postmortem reports of diffuse axonal injury following mTBI and suggest that injuries with LOC involvement may be particularly detrimental to white matter integrity. Furthermore, these results suggest that LOC-associated white matter abnormalities in turn influence neurocognitive function.04/2015; 28. DOI:10.1016/j.nicl.2015.04.001
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ABSTRACT: Researchers often extrapolate posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) status from PTSD Checklist (PCL) data. When doing so, cut points should be based on samples with similar characteristics. This study assessed PCL diagnostic accuracy and postconcussive symptom levels within 106 Iraq/Afghanistan war Veterans and servicemembers with recent blast exposure. Two definitions of PTSD were applied: (1) "strict" Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM), 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria and (2) "relaxed" DSM-IV criteria dropping the A2 criterion as per the DSM, 5th edition (DSM-V). Using a structured interview for PTSD, we found moderate agreement with the PCL. Under strict criteria, PTSD prevalence was 16%, PCL cut point was 66 at peak kappa, and mean Rivermead Postconcussion Questionnaire (RPQ) score trended higher for those with PTSD than for those without PTSD (35.5 +/- 11.2 vs 30.5 +/- 10.7, respectively; p = 0.080). Under relaxed criteria, PTSD prevalence was 26.4%, PCL cut point was 58 at peak kappa, and those with PTSD had higher RPQ scores than those without PTSD (36.4 +/- 11.2 vs 29.5 +/- 10.2, respectively; p = 0.003). Participants diagnosed with blast-related mild traumatic brain injury (n = 90) did not differ from those without mild traumatic brain injury (n = 16) in symptom scores. In conclusion, persons with combat-related blast exposure need higher than conventional PCL cut points and those with PTSD have more severe postconcussive-type symptoms than those without PTSD.The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 01/2014; 51(8):1203-16. DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2013.12.0271 · 1.69 Impact Factor