Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a frequent occurrence in the United States, and has been given particular attention in the veteran population. Recent accounts have estimated TBI incidence rates as high as 20 % among US veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq, and many of these veterans experience a host of co-morbid concerns, including psychiatric complaints (such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder), sleep disturbance, and substance abuse which may warrant referral to behavioral health specialists working in primary care settings. This paper reviews many common behavioral health concerns co-morbid with TBI, and suggests areas in which behavioral health specialists may assess, intervene, and help to facilitate holistic patient care beyond the acute phase of injury. The primary focus is on sequelae common to mild and moderate TBI which may more readily present in primary care clinics.
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"While most victims of mild TBI recover fully, moderate and severe TBI often result in persisting deficits such as difficulties in coordination and poor muscle strength as well as cognitive problems including memory loss, impaired information processing, perceptual skills, and communication deficits (Sayer, 2012). Furthermore , the diagnosis of TBI in military personnel and veterans is often complicated by comorbidities such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders (King & Wray, 2012). Many individuals affected by TBI will require some form of assistance or supervision for daily living (Brain Injury Association of America, 2012). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A majority of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in motor vehicle crashes and sporting environments are mild and caused by high-rate acceleration of the head. For injuries caused by rotational acceleration, both magnitude and duration of the acceleration pulse were shown to influence injury outcomes. This study incorporated a unique rodent model of rotational acceleration-induced mild TBI (mTBI) to quantify independent effects of magnitude and duration on behavioral and neuroimaging outcomes. Ninety-two Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to head rotational acceleration at peak magnitudes of 214 or 350 krad/s(2) and acceleration pulse durations of 1.6 or 3.4 ms in a full factorial design. Rats underwent a series of behavioral tests including the Composite Neuroscore (CN), Elevated Plus Maze (EPM), and Morris Water Maze (MWM). Ex vivo diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the fixed brains was conducted to assess the effects of rotational injury on brain microstructure as revealed by the parameter fractional anisotropy (FA). While the injury did not cause significant locomotor or cognitive deficits measured with the CN and MWM, respectively, a main effect of duration was consistently observed for the EPM. Increased duration caused significantly greater activity and exploratory behaviors measured as open arm time and number of arm changes. DTI demonstrated significant effects of both magnitude and duration, with the FA of the amygdala related to both the magnitude and duration. Increased duration also caused FA changes at the interface of gray and white matter. Collectively, the findings demonstrate that the consequences of rotational acceleration mTBI were more closely associated with duration of the rotational acceleration impulse, which is often neglected as an independent factor, and highlight the need for animal models of TBI with strong biomechanical foundations to associate behavioral outcomes with brain microstructure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blast-related head injuries are among the most prevalent injuries suffered by military personnel deployed in combat and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion on the battlefield in Iraq/Afghanistan has resulted in its designation as a "signature injury." Vestibular complaints are the most frequent sequelae of mTBI, and vestibular rehabilitation (VR) has been established as the most important treatment modality for this group of patients.
We studied the effectiveness of a novel brain and VR treatment post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in subjects who had suffered combat-related traumatic brain injuries in terms of PTSD symptom reduction. The trial was registered as ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02003352. (http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02003352?term=carrick&rank=6). We analyzed the difference in the Clinician Administered DSM-IV PTSD Scale (CAPS) scores pre- and post-treatment using our subjects as their own matched controls. The study population consisted of 98 combat veterans maintaining an alpha of <0.05 and power of 80%.
Prior to treatment, 75 subjects representing 76.53 % of the sample were classified in the 2 most severe categories of PTSD. Forty-one subjects, representing 41.80 % of the total sample, were classified in the extreme category of PTSD and 34 subjects, representing 34.70 % of the total sample, were classified in the severe category of PTSD. After treatment, we observed a large reduction in CAPS severity scores with both statistical and substantive significance.
Treatment of PTSD as a physical injury rather than a psychiatric disorder is associated with strong statistical and substantive significant outcomes associated with a decrease of PTSD classification. The stigma associated with neuropsychiatric disorders may be lessened when PTSD is treated with brain and VR with a potential decrease in suffering of patients, family, and society.
Frontiers in Public Health 02/2015; 3. DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2015.00015