The United States Department of Defense reports that the Army will participate in a $60 million research study for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The effort is sponsored by the National Football League, General Electric and the athletic apparel manufacturer Under Armour.
Additionally, a White House executive order recently allocated $700 million toward both TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research in a renewed effort in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs Department and other organizations. With the new funding, the Army has set up seven “restorative centers” in Afghanistan for TBI in soldiers to be identified and treated. The centers allow soldiers to stay in theater while they improve.
PTSD and TBI deserve a national discussion as they are not just military issues, Brig. General John M. Cho, a doctor and deputy chief of staff for operations with the Army Medical Command said. PTSD can develop when someone experiences a traumatic or life-threatening experience. Symptoms range from anxiety and insomnia to hyperarousal and depression.
The Army hopes the research can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues like PTSD. Often, PTSD can occur after someone experiences a TBI, and that is one field the research will cover. The first evidence of a causal link between TBI and an increased susceptibility to PTSD was discovered by University of California, Los Angeles life scientists and their colleagues last year, according to a UCLA news release. Although the reasons for the correlation are unknown, the events that cause a TBI are generally traumatic and frightening. The link could be incidental, but the researchers hypothesized that they “could be linked in a more mechanistic way.”