Veteran's Day may have been earlier this week, but research at the University of Pittsburgh to benefit wounded servicemen and women is an ongoing effort. The Center for Military Medicine Research was established in June, and recently received a grant from the Defense Department for further research into a condition that affects many wounded warriors - head trauma.
Injuries in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are often due to explosives, and head trauma is the most common serious injury sustained by soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. Wounded warriors are at the center of the research grant, and the University of Pittsburgh will be using the funds to help develop testing that can help diagnose the most common type of head trauma, concussions.
Don't be surprised if the diagnostics make a quick transition from the hospitals in Kandahar, Afghanistan to the ERs of Erie, Johnstown, Altoona, or Pittsburgh though. Concussions are common head traumas, with about 3.8 million Americans suffering from them every year, but normal diagnostic methods like CTs and MRIs make concussion damage hard to verify. The scan being developed will target the damage typically associated with concussions so that they can be treated more effectively. For more information about their research visit http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/12317/1276283-298.stm.
Wounded Warriors have been the focus of other efforts to ensure that they get the benefits they deserve. A bill currently in congress aims to reduce the time that those wounded in active duty must wait for Social Security Disability benefits. Existing agreements between Dept. of Veterans' Affairs and the Social Security Administration have already streamlined the process of receiving Social Security disability benefits for those who were injured on active duty. Veterans can be eligible for Social Security disability benefits based on physical injuries like a traumatic brain injury or mental illness such as PTSD
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