A new VA study provides more insight into the relationship between roadside blasts and the devastating long-term effects of traumatic brain injury.
Benjamin Trotter, a VA bio-medical engineer and lead author of the new study, reported that those soldiers who were exposed to roadside bomb explosions are showing signs of brain deterioration at an earlier age. Although some decline in cognitive functioning, memory, and planning is accepted as a part of the natural aging process, the study shows that this decline is coming much more rapidly to those veterans who were exposed to roadside blasts. Many veterans who were included as part of the study either did not have concussion-like symptoms at the time of the blast or did have symptoms but noticed that they cleared up such that military doctors concluded that they had recovered.
Veterans may be able to use studies such as this one, which show the dramatic long-term impact of TBI, as evidence supporting a claim for service connection for TBI. Importantly, the study suggests that some veterans who were exposed to blasts may not have even been aware of how seriously they were injured at the time of the blast, or during their military service. It would seem that in most cases, VA should provide a C&P examination to veterans who have been exposed to a roadside blast and now demonstrate symptoms such as impaired judgment, memory, attention, and concentration, or any other symptoms that suggest a decline in cognitive functioning.