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Study: brain trauma the top predictor of PTSD in soldiers

Some of our nation’s veterans return from deployment with post-traumatic stress disorder. A recent study looked at what factors are the biggest predictors of whether a soldier will develop PTSD.

The study was conducted from 2008 to 2012 and its subjects were 1,650 Marines who had a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq. In the study, for each subject, the researchers conducted a variety of different medical tests and assessments before and after the subject's deployment. One such assessment was a PTSD assessment.

According to some early results from the study, the study found that the factor that was the top predictor of a Marine having a high score on the PTSD assessment upon returning from their deployment was if the Marine suffered brain trauma during their deployment. According to the study, Marines who suffered severe or moderate brain trauma had 71 percent higher PTSD assessment scores. The score increase was 23 percent for Marines who suffered mild brain trauma.

Learning more about what things are a predictor of PTSD in soldiers can help in the development of improved diagnosis and treatment methods. One wonders if this study's results will lead to any changes in diagnosis and treatment practices regarding PTSD in soldiers.

There are many challenges a veteran can face upon returning home from deployment. Returning home from deployment can be particularly hard for a veteran if they have suffered an injury (such as a brain injury) or developed a condition (such as PTSD) that has resulted in them not being able to work. Programs like the Social Security Disability program and veteran's disability programs can help provide financial relief to veterans who suffered disabling injuries or developed disabling conditions while serving our country.

Source: U-T San Diego, "New research: Blast injury predicts PTSD," Jeanette Steele, Feb. 4, 2014

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