Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government
ORD only    All VA Research websites

Office of Research & Development

print icon sign up for VA Research updates
VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Ensuring High-Quality Care | Table of Contents: Fall 2017 | Download this issue

New Initiatives | Announcements

VA traumatic brain injury conference findings


Traumatic brain injury is a signature injury of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
(Photo for illustrative purposes only, ©iStock/Katarzyna Bialasiewicz)
Traumatic brain injury is a signature injury of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Photo for illustrative purposes only,©iStock/Katarzyna Bialasiewicz)

Traumatic brain injury is a signature injury of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Photo for illustrative purposes only, ©iStock/Katarzyna Bialasiewicz)

VA's 2015 traumatic brain injury conference findings were published in the October 2017 issue of Brain Injury. The state-of-the-art conference was focused on combat-related TBI that occurred during operations Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and New Dawn (OND).

In 2014, the National Research Action Plan (NRAP) brought together major research funding agencies to develop a better understanding of TBI and how they could improve care and support for Veterans and their families. Building off the NRAP platform, the 2015 VA TBI conference held group sessions that looked into injury mechanisms and their complications; injury detection screening and diagnosis; complex sensory-related comorbidities; and late clinical care and rehabilitation.

This issue of Brain Injury includes 10 review articles by VA researchers that focus on topics important to the current understanding of TBI and its treatment. Researchers discussed TBI-related topics ranging from identifying fluid biomarkers to medical imaging to clinical guidelines for treatment of TBI. Investigators also discussed the impact that TBI can have on caregivers of Veterans with TBI, many of whom experience depression and financial burdens.

In one review article, investigators described current methods for identifying the cause of hearing problems in Veterans following a TBI. They say it is easier to find the cause of hearing problems in instances where material thrown from a blast penetrates the head, rather than in mild head injuries, where the skull is intact. The problem is a lack of imaging technology that can tell which closed-head injuries are likely to cause hearing issues. The study authors recommend further research in this area.

In another article, authors reviewed the current state of research on effects that come from TBI and blast injuries on the vestibular system, which controls balance and spatial orientation. 

Dizziness is a common problem for people who experience a concussion or mild TBI. It can be caused by a number of reasons, which means physicians must first identify the problem before they can adequately treat it. In Veterans who received a war-related TBI, damage to the inner ear is one common cause of dizziness and imbalance. Researchers say that delicate sensory cells within the inner ear appear to be very sensitive to blast damage. They advise new treatment approaches may be necessary to treat this problem.



Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.