It appears that Pandora’s box has been opened and that traumatic head injuries related to or from PTSD is not a fantasy but a biological reality called chronic traumatic encephalopathy,or C.T.E.Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
We are at the leading edge of a medical discovery that has some tremendous ramifications and my sense is that over time we will find that it will stand our culture on its ears. Whereas the editorial I read this morning deals with soldiers serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan, the implication is far greater. I will argue that it impact on every segment of society once the science is complete.
The brain does not stop developing till about 27 years of age or there about as I understand it. The soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are an average of maybe 20 to 23. Hence, their brains are still in a major phase of development while being subjected to some rather brutal shocks.
Now, think in terms of a baby that has an incredibly undeveloped brain that takes a fair amount of beatings. Would those impacts not be unlike a soldier hitting an mine at 20 or so years.
Then think again of a woman being physically abused on a repeated basis over a period of years. Can a person be held responsible for a physical altering of their brain when it was not their fault. Who do we hold responsible in such cases?
Worse yet, who pays for the medical bills associated with such lasting and permanent damage to the brains of those involved? The last numbers I heard were that there were over 900,000 applications by veterans for assistance pending at the VA. The comment that followed was that this was only the tip of the problem.
Then again the VA just finished building an addition that almost doubled its size in Gainesville making it one of the largest such facilities in the country.
“…..suicides among young veterans be a result?
“P.T.S.D. in a high-risk cohort like war veterans could actually be a physical disease from permanent brain damage, not a psychological disease,” said Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist who examined the veteran. Dr. Omalu published an article about the 27-year-old veteran as a sentinel case in Neurosurgical Focus, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The discovery of C.T.E. in veterans could be stunningly important. Sadly, it could also suggest that the worst is yet to come, for C.T.E. typically develops in midlife, decades after exposure. If we are seeing C.T.E. now in war veterans, we may see much more in the coming years….”