WaPo: Still much to learn about traumatic brain injuries

Monday - 10/4/2010, 5:42pm EDT

The Washington Post features a big piece today on one of the costs of war that's plagued the military, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

The Post writes, at the Bethesda hospital, the flow of brain-injured patients has been constant. For nearly a decade, the U.S. has been fighting wars in which soldiers are routinely exposed to explosions that send waves of compressed air hurtling through the atmosphere at 1,600 feet per second.

TBI is often an invisible wound. It's largely because of that that the military is still struggling to come to terms with brain injuries. They used to be shrugged off as "getting your bell rung," but now we know they can lead to serious consequences. In some cases, even apparently mild brain injuries can leave a soldier disqualified for service or require lifelong care.

Critics say the Department of Veterans Affairs is not equipped to handle the growing number of vets suffering from TBI. The Pentagon says, since the year 2000, traumatic brain injury has been diagnosed in about 180,000 service members.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report brought to you by Dell. For more defense news, click here.