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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:32 PM

Veterans and Brain Disease

He was a 27-year-old former Marine, struggling to adjust to civilian life after two tours in Iraq. Once an A student, he now found himself unable to remember conversations, dates and routine bits of daily life. He became irritable, snapped at his children and withdrew from his family. He and his wife began divorce proceedings.

This young man took to alcohol, and a drunken car crash cost him his driverís license. The Department of Veterans Affairs diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder, or P.T.S.D. When his parents hadnít heard from him in two days, they asked the police to check on him. The officers found his body; he had hanged himself with a belt.

That story is devastatingly common, but the autopsy of this young manís brain may have been historic. It revealed something startling that may shed light on the epidemic of suicides and other troubles experienced by veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His brain had been physically changed by a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E. Thatís a degenerative condition best-known for affecting boxers, football players and other athletes who endure repeated blows to the head.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/opinion/kristof-veterans-and-brain-disease.html?_r=3

This is a sad but fascinating explanation for the high suicide rate among veterans, and it links to the study's abstract.

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Chemisse Apr 2012 OP
Meiko Apr 2012 #1
Chemisse Apr 2012 #2

Response to Chemisse (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 08:43 PM

1. Many of these soldiers

 

Have had just too many tours in combat, period. This is what happens when you have wars going all over the place and reduced forces to support operations. I have read where some troops have had 4,5 or even as many as 6 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are only capable of dealing with so much stress.

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Response to Meiko (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 08:39 AM

2. That's certainly what I thought.

So many tours is akin to torture, in my mind.

But these studies suggest there is a physical reason for the distress that leads to the suicides. And it helps explain why those with PTSD from Vietnam were not so prone to suicide as these soldiers.

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