A recent study by Navy researchers found that exposure to munitions blast waves from combat and training could be causing brain injuries that result in conditions like depression, PTSD, and increased suicide rates among veterans. The findings corroborate previous research in animals and is the first to identify a link between overpressure exposure and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Exposure to overpressure from munitions blasts in combat and training has been associated with behaviors mimicking depression and potentially increased risk of suicide.
- Repeated exposure to overpressure increases the risks of PTSD, depression, and migraines.
- The study assessed 138,949 service members, analyzing the effects of incoming blasts from enemy munitions and outgoing overpressure when service members fire their own weapons.
- The Department of Defense has been criticized for insufficient screening for traumatic brain injuries in service members and ineffective follow-up with those suffering from them.
- Recent initiatives by the Department of Defense seek to develop policies that prevent, identify, and treat brain damage caused by combat or by repeated exposure to blasts during training.
- Congress plays a crucial role in instilling urgency, providing sufficient funding for diagnostic tool development, and ensuring that the military develops effective guidelines for blast exposure.