Health symptoms after war zone deployment-related mild traumatic brain injury: contributions of mental disorders and lifetime brain injuries.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To gain a better understanding of the complex relationship between combat deployment-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCSs), taking into consideration a wide range of potentially mediating and confounding factors. RESEARCH DESIGN: Cross-sectional. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Subjects were 613 U. S. military Veterans and Service Members who served during operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, or New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) and completed a structured interview of mental disorders and a battery of questionnaires. Hierarchical binary logistic regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses. MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: After accounting for mental disorders, lifetime mTBIs outside of OEF/OIF/OND deployment, medical conditions, and injury/demographic characteristics, deployment-related mTBI continued to be associated with several PPCSs (headaches, sleep disturbance, and difficulty making decisions). Deployment-related mTBI was also associated with two symptoms not normally associated with mTBI (nausea/upset stomach and numbness/tingling). CONCLUSIONS: After adjusting for a wide range of factors, OEF/OIF/OND deployment-related mTBI was still associated with PPCSs on average 10 years after the injury. These findings suggest that mTBI sustained during OEF/OIF/OND deployment may have enduring negative health effects. More studies are needed that prospectively and longitudinally track health and mental health outcomes after TBI.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McDonald, SD; Walker, WC; Cusack, SE; Yoash-Gantz, RE; Pickett, TC; Cifu, DX; Mid-Atlantic Mirecc Workgroup, V; Tupler, LA

Published Date

  • September 19, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1338 - 1348

PubMed ID

  • 34543115

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1362-301X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/02699052.2021.1959058


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England