Researchers say they have found evidence of a degenerative brain disease in soldiers exposed to blast injuries caused by a weapon that became a hallmark of the Afghanistan conflict.
Scientists from the United States and England say brain tissue in some American troops has shown signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The condition is similar to one detected in athletes who have suffered repeated concussions and gone on to develop memory loss, irritability, dementia and suicidal thoughts.
Thousands of military members in Canada and other countries have been exposed to the potent blasts from improvised explosive devices, the crude bombs that maimed and killed dozens of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.
Patric Stanton, a cell biologist in New York and one of the report’s authors, says the brain tissues of three out of the four soldiers examined after they died had sustained blast exposures to IEDs.
He says they all showed signs of CTE and that it may only take one blast exposure to develop symptoms, rather than multiple hits to the head suffered by some athletes.