Approximately 2000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will be wearing helmets equipped with a newly developed sensor to monitor their exposure to brain injury arising from IED's. The Department of Defense hopes that the new device will provide data to determine the level of exposure to an explosion which causes brain injury and to help in the development of improved methods to screen soldiers for brain injury. Brain Injury has become the signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict with growing numbers of soldiers experiencing brain injuries at all levels of severity from battlefield explosions.
Many soldiers have undetected brain injuries which have been identified subsequent to their military service. Others have had excellent treatment for their other battle related injuries while their brain injuries have not been evaluated and treated. These dynamics lead to a vast number of soldiers with brain injuries who are moving through the military and VA hospitals and returning home without adequate intervention.
While it is important to improve detection, effective treatment and rehabilitation requires an aggressive response. We hope that the advances in brain injury detection will be accompanied by an increase in the availability of brain injury rehabilitation services at all levels of care, from coma into the community.