News & AnalysisNeuropathology

Blast Injuries Linked to Neurodegeneration in Veterans

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Science  18 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6083, pp. 790-791
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6083.790

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As the number of troops exposed to improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan has mounted, so, too, has concern about the long-term impact of these and other blasts on the neurological health of service members. These worries are amplified by recent evidence that head injuries sustained by football players and other athletes can cause personality changes, dementia, and neurodegeneration later in life. A study reported this week in Science Translational Medicine ties these troublesome threads together: In autopsies of four military veterans who served in recent conflicts, researchers have found distinctive features of the same neurodegenerative disease reported previously in athletes.