up to 20 000 British soldiers could be at risk
by Mattew Taylor and Esther Addley
The Guardian Weekly, 2.11.07, p. 11
A committee of MPs is to investigate fears that up to 20,000 UK troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are at risk of brain damage after being exposed to high-powered explosions.
It was revealed last week that the Ministry of Defence has launched a major study into mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) in soldiers returning from active service.
MTBI, cuased by blows to the head or shockwaves by explosions, has been named in the US as one of four "signature injuries" of the Iraq war, due to the increased use of roadside bombs there and in Afghanistan. The condition can lead to memory loss, depression and anxiety.
The US army says a many as 20% of its soldiers and marines may be at risk of MTBI. It is introducing a largescale screening programme for troops returning from the frontline.