Neurological Effects and Mechanisms of Blast Overpressure Injury
Exposure to blast overpressure from explosive devices during warfare results in considerable neurotrauma known as blast-induced traumatic brain injuries (bTBIs). These injuries occur when shock waves issued from explosive devices impact the brain, causing shearing of tissues, destruction of axons, edema, hematomas, and various long-term neuropsychological effects associated with cellular and biochemical alterations. Although a majority of bTBIs have a good prognosis, in a warfare situation difficulties in diagnosis and inadequate treatments often result in multiple exposures to blast overpressure. The accumulated bTBIs cause a sequela of events resulting in cognitive and behavioral deficits, which may persist for years. This chapter describes the current knowledge and advancements of bTBI research, including blast physics, bTBI diagnostics and research methodologies, neurological effects and mechanisms, and emerging biomarkers. Finally, current therapeutic treatments are briefly discussed .