Understanding blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) through mechanisms and patterns of injury

Document Type


Publication Date



Objective of review: To provide clinicians and researchers with a comprehensive, evidence-based overview of blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) and the implications for a multi-disciplinary approach to treating military personnel. Understanding the effects of that injury on the human brain is difficult due to the complexity of explosive forces. This review introduces new tools and innovations being applied within the context of bTBI research. Understanding blast injury-a common occurrence in military combat- by evaluating benchmarks for concussive or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) with computational tools, neuroimaging, epidemiology and neurophysiology in a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment, will help delineate subsequent effects that may complicate recovery and produce the majority of manifestations associated with this type of injury. Recent findings: Body and vehicular armor reduces combatants' risk of higher severity blast exposure, which tends to increase the rate of bTBI incidence. An increase of mTBI literature has been found in a diverse range of science and medical journals from the fields of immunology, epidemiology, neuroscience and psychiatry, to computer science and blast forensics. This has improved understanding of what differentiates bTBI, post-concussive syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the goal of improving diagnosis. Conclusions: In the current state of the U.S. medical crisis, cost-effective solutions are needed to manage the new condition of chronic bTBI in our veterans. Understanding neurodegeneration with biomarkers, axonal damage, personality aberrations and inflammatory responses aimed at building treatment protocols improves both patient outcomes and scientific research progress. Through a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the mechanisms and patterns of injury of blast-induced traumatic brain injury, research scientists and physicians hope to achieve optimal patient outcomes.

Publication Title

AAO Journal





First Page


Last Page



This article was published in AAO Journal, Volume 22, Issue 2, Pages 10-16.

The published version is available at http://files.academyofosteopathy.org/AAOJ/AAOJSummer2012.pdf .

Copyright © 2012.

This document is currently not available here.