June 19, 2009
Traumatic Brain Injury Caused By Exposure To Explosive Blast Presents Challenge
Blast-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) has reached critical levels in modern-day warfare. The current issue of Journal of Neurotrauma focuses on the intensive efforts to develop effective treatment strategies and model systems for studying the cause and effects of explosive blast TBI. This special issue of Journal of Neurotrauma, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is free online at www.liebertpub.com/neu
A comprehensive and clearly presented overview of the field entitled "Explosive Blast Neurotrauma" was prepared by a group of authors led by Geoffrey Ling, program officer overseeing the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Preventing Violent Explosive Neurotrauma (PREVENT) blast research program, and colleagues from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (Bethesda, MD), Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC), Inova Fairfax Hospital (Virginia), and Integrated Services Group, Inc. (Potomac, MD).
Two very instructive examples of current research on blast-induced neurotrauma that describe animal model systems developed to study head injuries sustained during combat are presented in the article entitled, "Blast Overpressure in Rats: Recreating a Battlefield Injury in the Laboratory." Joseph Long and co-authors from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Silver Spring, MD), simulated blast effects, evaluated the physiological, neuropathological, and neurobehavioral consequences of airblast exposure, and studied the potential for using a Kevlar vest to prevent death and TBI.
The advantages and limitations of using a pig model to study the causes and effects of explosive trauma to the brain is the subject of the article, "An Introductory Characterization of a Combat-Casualty-Care Relevant Swine Model of Closed Head Injury Resulting from Exposure to Explosive Blast," co-authored by a group of researchers from the military, academia, and the private sector, led by Richard Bauman, from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Polytrauma & Resuscitation.
"We believe the articles in this issue will...provide new insights and stimulate new avenues of investigation into this crucial area of treating our warfighters, as well as the civilian population," write Guest Editors Patrick Kochanek, Richard Bauman, Joseph Long, C. Edward Dixon, and Larry Jenkins, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in their Introduction, "A Critical Problem Begging for New Insight and New Therapies."