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A Multisite Study of the Relationships between Blast Exposures and Symptom Reporting in a Post-Deployment Active Duty Military Population with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Study

Abstract

Explosive devices have been the most frequent cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among deployed contemporary U.S. service members. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of previous cumulative blast exposures (that did or did not result in TBI) on later post-concussion and post-traumatic symptom reporting after sustaining a mild TBI (MTBI). Participants were 573 service members who sustained MTBI divided into four groups by number of blast exposures (1, 2, 3, and 4-10) and a nonblast control group. Post-concussion symptoms were measured using the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms using the Post-traumatic Checklist-Civilian version (PCL-C). Results show groups significantly differed on total NSI scores (p<0.001), where symptom endorsement increased as number of reported blast exposures increased. Total NSI scores were significantly higher for the 3- and 4-10 blast groups compared with the 1- and 2-blast groups with effect sizes ranging from small to moderate (d=0.31 to 0.63). After controlling for PTSD symptoms using the PCL-C total score, NSI total score differences remained between the 4-10-blast group and the 1- and 2-blast groups, but were less pronounced (d=0.35 and d=0.24, respectively). Analyses of NSI subscale scores using PCL-C scores as a covariate revealed significant between-blast group differences on cognitive, sensory, and somatic, but not affective symptoms. Regression analyses revealed that cumulative blast exposures accounted for a small but significant amount of the variance in total NSI scores (4.8%; p=0.009) and total PCL-C scores (2.3%; p<0.001). Among service members exposed to blast, post-concussion symptom reporting increased as a function of cumulative blast exposures. Future research will need to determine the relationship between cumulative blast exposures, symptom reporting, and neuropathological changes

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: October 01, 2014
  • Citation: Reid MW, et.al., A Multisite Study of the Relationships between Blast Exposures and Symptom Reporting in a Post-Deployment Active Duty Military Population with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Dec 1;31(23):1899-906.

A comparison of obesity prevalence: military health system and United States populations, 2009-2012.

Study

Abstract

Overweight and obesity prevalence has increased over the past 30 years. Few studies have looked at the enrolled Military Health System (MHS) population (2.2 million per year). This descriptive study examined trends in overweight and obesity in both children and adults from fiscal years 2009 to 2012 and compared them to the U.S. population. Prevalence in MHS children decreased over time for overweight (14.2-13.8%) and obesity (11.7-10.9%). Active duty adults showed an increase in overweight prevalence (52.7-53.4%) and a decrease in obesity prevalence (18.9-18.3%). For nonactive duty, both overweight and obesity prevalence remained relatively unchanged around 33%. For both children and adults, overweight and obesity prevalence increased with age, except for obesity in the nonactive duty ≥ 65 subgroup. When compared to the United States by gender and age, MHS children generally had a lower overweight and obesity prevalence, active duty adults had higher overweight and lower obesity prevalence, and nonactive duty adults had comparable overweight and obesity prevalence, except for obesity in both men in the 40 to 59 subgroup and women in ≥ 60 subgroup. More research on the MHS population is needed to identify risk factors and modifiable health behaviors that could defeat the disease of obesity.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Air Force
  • Sponsoring Office: United States Air Force Medical Support Agency
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Air Force
  • Release Date/Publication: May 01, 2014
  • Citation: Eilerman PA, Herzog CM, Luce BK, Chao SY, Walker SM, Zarzabal LA, Carnahan DH. A comparison of obesity prevalence: military health system and United States populations, 2009-2012. Mil Med. 2014 May;179(5):462-70.

A case-control study of incident rheumatological conditions following acute gastroenteritis during military deployment.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the risk of incident rheumatological diagnoses (RD) associated with self-reported diarrhoea and vomiting during a first-time deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. Such an association would provide evidence that RD in this population may include individuals with reactive arthritis (ReA) from deployment-related infectious gastroenteritis. DESIGN: This case-control epidemiological study used univariate and multivariate logistic regression to compare the odds of self-reported diarrhoea/vomiting among deployed US military personnel with incident RD to the odds of diarrhoea/vomiting among a control population. SETTING: We analysed health records of personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, including responses on a postdeployment health assessment and medical follow-up postdeployment. PARTICIPANTS: Anonymous data were obtained from 891 US military personnel with at least 6 months of medical follow-up following a first-time deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan in 2008-2009. Cases were defined using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) diagnosis codes; controls had an unrelated medical encounter and were representative of the study population. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary measure was an association between incident RD and self-reported diarrhoea/vomiting during deployment. A secondary measure was the overall incidence of RD in this population. RESULTS: We identified 98 cases of new onset RD, with a total incidence of 161/100 000 persons. Of those, two participants had been diagnosed with Reiter's disease (i) (3.3/100 000 persons) and the remainder with non-specific arthritis/arthralgia (157.5/100 000 persons). The OR for acute diarrhoea was 2.67 (p=0.03) after adjusting for important covariates. CONCLUSIONS: Incident rheumatological conditions, even those classified as 'non-specific,' are significantly associated with prior severe diarrhoea in previously deployed military personnel, potentially indicating ReA and need for preventive measures to reduce diarrhoeagenic bacterial exposures in military personnel and other travellers to the developing regions.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Navy
  • Sponsoring Office:
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Agency, office or organization under authority of the Sec Def (not affiliated to Army, Navy, or Air Force)
  • Release Date/Publication: December 01, 2013
  • Citation: Deyoung KH, Riddle MS, May L, Porter CK. A case-control study of incident rheumatological conditions following acute gastroenteritis during military deployment. BMJ Open. 2013 Dec 5;3(12):e003801.
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