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J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2010 Jan-Feb;25(1):9-14. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181bd090f.

Mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) during combat: lack of association of blast mechanism with persistent postconcussive symptoms.

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  • 1Division of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA.



To determine whether screening for a blast mechanism of concussion identifies individuals at higher risk of persistent postconcussive symptoms (PCS).


United States Army post.


3952 US Army infantry soldiers were administered anonymous surveys 3 to 6 months after returning from a yearlong deployment to Iraq.


Self-reported concussion (defined as an injury that resulted in being "dazed, confused, or 'seeing stars'"; "not remembering the injury"; or "losing consciousness [knocked out]): Patient Health Questionnaire 15-item scale for physical symptoms and PCS; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist; and Patient Health Questionnaire depression module.


Of the 587 soldiers (14.9% of the total sample) who met criteria for concussion, 201 (34.2%) reported loss of consciousness, and 373 (63.5%) reported only an alteration of consciousness without loss of consciousness; 424 (72.2%) reported a blast mechanism, and 150 (25.6%) reported a nonblast mechanism. Among soldiers who lost consciousness, blast mechanism was significantly associated with headaches and tinnitus 3 to 6 months postdeployment compared with a nonblast mechanism. However, among the larger group of soldiers reporting concussions without loss of consciousness, blast was not associated with adverse health outcomes.


Blast mechanism of concussion was inconsistently associated with PCS, depending on the definition of concussion utilized. A self-reported history of blast mechanism was not associated with persistent PCS for the majority of US soldiers with concussions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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