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Clin Neuropsychol. 2009 Nov;23(8):1299-314. doi: 10.1080/13854040903153902.

Challenges associated with post-deployment screening for mild traumatic brain injury in military personnel.

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  • 1University of British Columbia & British Columbia Mental Health & Addiction Services, Vancouver, BC, Canada. giverson@interchange.ubc.ca

Abstract

There is ongoing debate regarding the epidemiology of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) in military personnel. Accurate and timely estimates of the incidence of brain injury and the prevalence of long-term problems associated with brain injuries among active duty service members and veterans are essential for (a) operational planning, and (b) to allocate sufficient resources for rehabilitation and ongoing services and supports. The purpose of this article is to discuss challenges associated with post-deployment screening for MTBI. Multiple screening methods have been used in military, Veterans Affairs, and independent studies, which complicate cross-study comparisons of the resulting epidemiological data. We believe that post-deployment screening is important and necessary--but no screening methodology will be flawless, and false positives and false negatives are inevitable. Additional research is necessary to refine the sequential screening methodology, with the goal of minimizing false negatives during initial post-deployment screening and minimizing false positives during follow-up evaluations.

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