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Colleagues,

In the Journal of Nuclear Medicine (Metabolic deficits in blast-exposed veterans with mild traumatic brain injury as revealed by FDG-PET, J Nucl Med. 2010; 51), and  findings published online in the Journal NeuroImage (Cerebrocerebellar hypometabolism associated with repetitive blast e..., Seattle researchers, have found what appear to be long-term changes in brain functions of Iraq veterans exposed to blast shock waves...

...The findings are published amid a debate about the causes of memory loss, mood swings, insomnia and other symptoms that afflict some troops exposed to bomb blasts or other explosions...

..."This is evidence of persistent alterations of the brain of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with repetitive blast exposure," said Elaine Peskind, a Veterans Affairs Puget Health Sound Health System psychiatrist who led a team of 11 VA and University of Washington researchers....

... To conduct their research, Peskind and her research team turned to Postiron Emission Tomography, or PET, scans that inject subjects with a minute dose of radioactive glucose, then track the rate the sugar is metabolized by the brain...


... In scans of 12 veterans cited in the NeuroImage article, the researchers found four areas of the brain utilized the glucose at substantially below the rates of other study volunteers who never had served in the military. The affected brain areas are involved in regulating emotion, language, mental focus, sleep and other key functions ...


... In a new phase of research, Peskind's team is examining the brains of these veterans with a specialized form of magnetic resonance imaging or MRI. This research indicates the blasts also may have caused structural abnormalities to the brain, and researchers are looking for additional evidence that these veterans are at higher risk of dementia...


See attached powerpoint of preliminary data

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