Small Study: Stress Of War May Impair Brain Function For A Time.

The CNN (9/4, Landau) “The Chart” blog reports that a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “found the brains of soldiers who go into combat show impairment in function and structure upon returning, but that these effects largely go away over time.” Investigators looked at 33 Dutch soldiers who had been deployed to Afghanistan, and compared them to 26 soldiers who were not deployed. The researchers found that “the combat group showed reduced functioning in the midbrain, as well as structural differences in that area” Additionally, deployed soldiers generally performed worse on cognitive function tests. However, “a year and a half later, researchers found that the soldiers who had been deployed had, on average, returned to normal with respect to both brain structure and cognitive performance.” Nonetheless, imaging tests indicated that certain regions of the brains of deployed solders still had reduced connectivity.

Related Links:

— “Stress may harm brain – but it recovers, “Elizabeth Landau, CNN Health, September 3, 2012.

Posted in In The News.