The Defense Department recently funded a panel to look into the current knowledge of traumatic brain injuries and any consensus or scientific evidence showing how injuries to the brain are best treated. The panel concluded that there is a serious lack of rigorous scientific evidence that backs up current treatment methods.
This demonstrates that there is a pressing need for more scientific studies on the brain and how it best heals from injury. According to a recent article in The New York Times on the subject, there are currently about 30,000 service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with brain injuries, which is a huge jump from 11,000 10 years ago.
Every year, about 1.7 million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries — most commonly from car accidents. Other causes include assault and falls.
One issue is that brain injuries vary widely depending on the person who has suffered the injury as well as how it occurred. Service members with traumatic brain injuries may require even more tailored treatment because they often also suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
Overall, more studies must be done because the brain has a small window of time to heal and time cannot be wasted on ineffective treatments.
Source: The New York Times, “Treatment of Trauma to Brain Is Studied,” Benedict Carey, Oct. 11, 2011