Health Outcomes Associated With Military Deployment: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Blast, Trauma, and Combat Associations in the Florida National Guard.
ABSTRACT Vanderploeg RD, Belanger HG, Horner RD, Spehar AM, Powell-Cope G, Luther SL, Scott SG. Health outcomes associated with military deployment: mild traumatic brain injury, blast, trauma, and combat associations in the Florida National Guard. OBJECTIVES: To determine the association between specific military deployment experiences and immediate and longer-term physical and mental health effects, as well as examine the effects of multiple deployment-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) on health outcomes. DESIGN: Online survey of cross-sectional cohort. Odds ratios were calculated to assess the association between deployment-related factors (ie, physical injuries, exposure to potentially traumatic deployment experiences, combat, blast exposure, and mild TBI) and current health status, controlling for potential confounders, demographics, and predeployment experiences. SETTING: Nonclinical. PARTICIPANTS: Members (N=3098) of the Florida National Guard (1443 deployed, 1655 not deployed). INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Presence of current psychiatric diagnoses and health outcomes, including postconcussive and non-postconcussive symptoms. RESULTS: Surveys were completed an average of 31.8 months (SD=24.4, range=0-95) after deployment. Strong, statistically significant associations were found between self-reported military deployment-related factors and current adverse health status. Deployment-related mild TBI was associated with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and postconcussive symptoms collectively and individually. Statistically significant increases in the frequency of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a postconcussive symptom complex were seen comparing single to multiple TBIs. However, a predeployment TBI did not increase the likelihood of sustaining another TBI in a blast exposure. Associations between blast exposure and abdominal pain, pain on deep breathing, shortness of breath, hearing loss, and tinnitus suggested residual barotrauma. Combat exposures with and without physical injury were each associated not only with PTSD but also with numerous postconcussive and non-postconcussive symptoms. The experience of seeing others wounded or killed or experiencing the death of a buddy or leader was associated with indigestion and headaches but not with depression, anxiety, or PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: Complex relationships exist between multiple deployment-related factors and numerous overlapping and co-occurring current adverse physical and psychological health outcomes. Various deployment-related experiences increased the risk for postdeployment adverse mental and physical health outcomes, individually and in combination. These findings suggest that an integrated physical and mental health care approach would be beneficial to postdeployment care.
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this pilot study is 1) to develop an annotation schema and a training set of annotated notes to support the future development of a natural language processing (NLP) system to automatically extract employment information, and 2) to determine if information about employment status, goals and work-related challenges reported by service members and Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-deployment stress can be identified in the Electronic Health Record (EHR). Retrospective cohort study using data from selected progress notes stored in the EHR. Post-deployment Rehabilitation and Evaluation Program (PREP), an in-patient rehabilitation program for Veterans with TBI at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Service members and Veterans with TBI who participated in the PREP program (N = 60). Documentation of employment status, goals, and work-related challenges reported by service members and recorded in the EHR. Two hundred notes were examined and unique vocational information was found indicating a variety of self-reported employment challenges. Current employment status and future vocational goals along with information about cognitive, physical, and behavioral symptoms that may affect return-to-work were extracted from the EHR. The annotation schema developed for this study provides an excellent tool upon which NLP studies can be developed. Information related to employment status and vocational history is stored in text notes in the EHR system. Information stored in text does not lend itself to easy extraction or summarization for research and rehabilitation planning purposes. Development of NLP systems to automatically extract text-based employment information provides data that may improve the understanding and measurement of employment in this important cohort.PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e115873. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study examined health-related quality of life within the first 5 years following concurrent mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) and polytrauma. Participants were 167 U.S. service members who had sustained a MTBI who had completed a brief neurobehavioral evaluation within 3 months postinjury and at least one telephone follow-up interview at 6 (n = 46), 12 (n = 89), 24 (n = 54), 36 (n = 42), 48 (n = 30) or 60 months (n = 25) postinjury. Within the first 5 years postinjury, service members reported ongoing headaches (67.4% to 92.0%), bodily pain (66.7% to 88.9%), medication use (71.7% to 92.0%), mental health treatment (28.3% to 60.0%), and the need for help with daily activities (18.5% to 40.0%). Problematic alcohol consumption was common within the first 24 months postinjury (23.9% to 29.2%). Many service members were working for pay (36.0% to 70.8%) though many reported a decline in work quality (16.0% to 30.4%). Despite ongoing symptom reporting, many service members reported that their medications were effective (43.3% to 80.0%), good/excellent health status (68.0% to 80.0%), and life satisfaction (79.6% to 90.5%). A minority reported suicidal or homicidal ideation (5.6% to 14.8%). Recovery from MTBI in a military setting is complex and multifaceted. Continued support and care for all service members who sustain a combat-related MTBI with polytrauma is recommended, regardless of the presence or absence of symptom reporting within the first few months postinjury.Military medicine 08/2014; 179(8):827-838. · 0.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Up to 20% of US military personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan experience mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) while deployed; up to one-third will experience persistent post-concussive symptoms (PCS). The objective of this study was to examine the epidemiology of deployment-related mTBI and its relationship to PCS and mental health problems (MHPs) in Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel.Methods Participants were 16153 personnel who underwent post-deployment screening (median =136 days after return) following deployment in support of the mission in Afghanistan from 2009 ¿ 2012. The screening questionnaire assessed mTBI and other injuries while deployed, using the Brief Traumatic Brain Injury Screening Tool. Current MHPs and PCS were assessed using items from the Patient Health Questionnaire, the Patient Checklist for PTSD, and the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire. Log-binomial regression explored the association of mTBI, other injuries, and MHPs with PCS, using the presence of 3 or more of 7 PCS as the outcome. Results are expressed as adjusted prevalence ratios (PR).ResultsmTBI while deployed was reported in 843 respondents (5.2%). Less severe forms of mTBI (associated only with having been dazed or confused or having ¿seen stars¿) predominated. Blast was reported as a mechanism of injury in half of those with mTBI. Multiple PCS were present in 21% of those with less severe forms of mTBI and in 27% of those with more severe forms of mTBI (i.e., mTBI associated with loss of consciousness or post-traumatic amnesia). After adjustment for confounding, mTBI had no statistically significant association with PCS relative to non-TBI injury. In contrast, MHPs had a strong association with reporting 3 or more PCS (adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) =7.77).Conclusion Deployment-related mTBI prevalence was lower than in many US reports; most of those who had had mTBI were free of multiple PCS. PCS was strongly associated with MHPs but not with mTBI. Careful assessment of MHPs is essential in personnel with a history of combat-related mTBI and PCS.BMC Psychiatry 11/2014; 14(1):325. · 2.24 Impact Factor