US Department of Defense
BLAST INJURY RESEARCH PROGRAM
COORDINATING OFFICE
Advancing Blast Injury Research to Protect and Heal Those Who Serve

Research Highlights

Each month the US Department of Defense (DoD) Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office (BIRCO) highlights an accomplishment from the DoD Blast Injury Research Program's key program areas: Injury Prevention, Acute Treatment, and Reset. These highlights include new publications and products that add to the knowledge base for blast injury research, or novel strategies for preventing blast injury and enabling injured Service Members to return to duty and maintain an active lifestyle.

  • FY19 Research Highlights
    • October 2018: University of California Group Makes a Leap Towards a Clinically Available Source of Spinal Injury Repair Material
      Components for a promising new technology could help Veterans paralyzed by blast injuries regain some motion. (H Kumamaru, 2018) In animal models, this therapy shows physical repair, and some functional repair, of substantial damage to the corticospinal tract (CST), the column of neurons within the spinal cord that is the most important among spinal tracts for voluntary movement. Read more...
    • November 2018: Medical Management of Blast Injury Victims Exposed To Radioactive Material
      Explosive weapons are detonated in various scenarios, and victims include U.S. Service members, adversarial forces, and civilians. Researchers from the Bundeswehr Institute of Radiobiology in Munich, Germany, provide the recommended medical management of victims of dirty bomb attacks in a recent article in Military Medical Research. Read more...
    • December 2018: Functional and Structural Consequences of Primary Blast Overpressure to the Eye
      This nonclinical collaborative study characterized structural and functional changes in the retina and associated visual impairments that occur in the chronic phase after blast injury. Read more...
    • January 2019: Clinical Practice Guideline for Aural Blast Injury or Traumatic Hearing Loss
      The DoD Hearing Center of Excellence releases an updated Joint Trauma System Clinical Practice Guideline (JTS CPG) titled "Aural Blast Injury/Acoustic Trauma and Hearing Loss" Read more...
    • February 2019: Pelvic Injuries in Mounted and Dismounted Blast Casualties
      While protective equipment and armor may have reduced fatalities in recent years, little is known about the differential impact of these explosions on mounted or dismounted blast causalities. Read more...
    • March 2019: Early Clinical Measures May Predict Mild TBI Long-Term Health Outcomes
      The University of Washington, Seattle conducted a longitudinal, prospective study to determine the long-term effects of blast-related mild TBI on non-medically evacuated Service members and identified predictors of future clinical outcomes. Read more...
    • April 2019: Exacerbating Factors of Deployment-Related Tinnitus in U.S. Marines
      Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is the number one disability within the U.S. Veterans Administration. Read more...
    • May 2019: Biomaterials-Based Drug Delivery Shortens Recovery Time and Reduces Scarring from Burn Injuries
      Researchers have developed a potential drug therapy that may hasten healing time and reduce scarring in Service members recovering from burns associated with blast injury. Read more...
    • June 2019: Characterizing the Anatomy of Complex Tissue Regeneration in Mice
      Researchers from Texas A&M University compared the anatomy of normal and regenerated digit tips using mice. Characterizing normal processes of tissue regeneration provides valuable information for development of regenerative medicine therapies. Read more...
    • July 2019: Factors Influencing Infection after Combat-Related Extremity Trauma
      Researchers with the Trauma Infectious Disease Outcomes Study (TIDOS) investigated the factors associated with the risk of infection. Read more...
  • FY18 Research Highlights
    • October 2017: Cognitive Processing of Sound in Veterans with Blast Exposure
      Researchers at Boston University present findings suggesting that communication problems reported by Veterans who have difficulty following conversations in noisy settings cannot simply be explained by compromised auditory sensory processing components of the ear, but may rather be explained by blast-induced damage to cortical networks associated with the control of attention. Read more...
    • November 2017: Amputation or Surgical Reconstruction?
      Because of recent surgical advances, lower extremity injuries that once required lower limb amputation are now routinely managed with limb reconstruction surgery. To evaluate the long term outcomes of this treatment option, researchers at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center compared lower extremity biomechanics during walking between individuals with lower limb reconstruction or amputation. Read more...
    • December 2017: Benefits of Canine Companionship in Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
      Anecdotal data suggest that canine companionship has numerous health benefits. Researchers at the National Center for PTSD at the Department of Veteran Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System objectively demonstrate the positive impact of canine companionship on attentional bias in Veterans diagnosed with chronic, severe PTSD. Read more...
    • January 2018: Transcriptomics as Biomarkers for Traumatic Brain Injury
      The lack of consistently identifiable symptoms for traumatic brain injury (TBI) has created a need for more effective, minimally invasive, and reliable techniques to identify and diagnose TBI. Transcriptomic analyses of hair follicles after a blast injury demonstrates the potential for identifying TBI, and may be correlated to the specific exposure circumstances. Read more...
    • February 2018: Auditory Rehabilitation for Blast-Exposed Veterans
      Many Service members and Veterans who have been exposed to blast-related events demonstrate various auditory deficits. Researchers at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research compared the effectiveness of communication strategies education, use of a personal frequency modulation system, and use of an auditory training program for improving behavioral and self-reported hearing difficulties in a population of blast-exposed Veterans. Read more...
    • March 2018: Sensory Sensitivity in Veterans with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
      Most Service members who experience a combat-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) will make a complete recovery; however, a portion of these Service members continue to report chronic postconcussive symptoms for years following the initial TBI. Researchers at the VA Portland Health Care System are working to tease apart the complex interactions between TBI, sensory sensitivity, and psychological distress. Read more...
    • April 2018: Balancing Brainwaves to Alleviate PTSD Symptoms
      This was the first study to report increases in autonomic cardiovascular measures following use of an intervention for Service member or veterans with PTSD. Service members or recent veterans also showed reduction in PTSD symptomology through the 6 months following use of HIRREM. Read more...
    • May 2018: Characterizing Lower Extremity Blast Injury
      This study from Centre for Blast Injury Studies is the largest analysis of combat-related traumatic amputations to date and sheds new light on this injury pattern, its characteristics, and ways to improve survivability. Read more...
    • June 2018: Epidemiology of Trauma-related Infections among Combat Casualties
      Results from the Trauma Infectious Disease Outcomes Study (TIDOS) cohort sheds new light on short- and long-term infectious complications following combat trauma. Read more...
    • July 2018: Effects of Blast Overpressure on Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability: Implications for Traumatic Brain Injury
      This study from NJIT sheds new light on the temporal and spatial changes in blood-brain barrier permeability as a function of blast overpressure in blast TBI. Read more...
    • August 2018: Investigating Mechanisms of Blast Injury
      This article from CBIS suggests several key messages for those planning and conducting research to better understand blast-related injuries. Read more...
    • September 2018: What other injuries are associated with blast-related, dismounted single-leg amputation?
      This article analyses the pattern of injuries associated with lower limb amputation in Service members exposed to improvised explosive devices while on foot patrols Read more...
  • FY17 Research Highlights
    • March 2017: Novel Smart Catheter for Multimodal Monitoring of the Head-Injured Warrior
      While traumatic brain injury remains a grave threat to Service Members due to explosions, the ability to effectively and safely monitor the physiology of the brain is imperative in managing treatment and preventing secondary injuries. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have developed a novel multimodality neuromonitoring catheter that will improve the understanding of explosive blast neurotrauma, enhancing the care of critically brain-injured Service Members. Read more...
    • April 2017: Enhanced Cognitive Rehabilitation to Treat Comorbid Traumatic Brain Injury and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
      Researchers at the VA Medical Center in San Diego have developed a hybrid training program, known as SMART-CPT, aimed at addressing the cognitive deficits associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) while simultaneously treating the neurobehavioral symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By taking into account the complex interplay between PTSD and TBI, this hybrid treatment has the potential to effectively treat Service Members and Veterans with comorbid PTSD and TBI as opposed to treating each disorder independently. Read more...
    • May 2017: A Dragon's Quest To Stop Infection
      Researchers have identified novel antimicrobial peptides from Komodo dragon blood which show promise as alternatives to traditional antibiotics and may be effective in treating drug-resistant infections across both military and civilian settings. Read more...
    • June 2017: A Systematic Review of Traumatic Brain Injury Outcomes
      Researchers have noted comparable clinical and functional outcomes in Service Members and Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI), regardless of their blast exposure; however, many questions remain unanswered. Read more...
    • July 2017: Protein Biomarkers to Detect Heterotopic Ossification
      In recent years, heterotopic ossification (HO) has become an increasingly significant problem facing Service Members who have survived combat-related blast injuries including amputation. Using recent advances in high-throughput mass spectrometry, researchers at Daemen College have identified potential protein biomarkers associated with the development of HO. Read more...
    • August 2017: Surgical Technique to Treat Noncompressible Torso Hemorrhage
      Researchers demonstrate that resuscitative endovascular occlusion of the aorta (REBOA), a surgical technique to treat noncompressible torso hemorrhage, can be effectively performed in simulated battlefield conditions. Read more...
    • September 2017: Art Therapy to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
      "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth" (Oscar Wilde). Researchers discuss common themes that appear throughout masks created by Service Members during art therapy sessions as part of an interdisciplinary outpatient program at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) ranging from mourning the loss of past relationships to the use of cultural metaphors to represent experienced emotions. Read more...
Last modified: 01-Jul-2019