Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine used rats to study how the brain can change due to mild blast exposure. In humans such exposure can lead to mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), whose effects cannot be observed by MRI or other imagers.
The researchers observed that the brain tissue of rats subjected to mild blast exposure experienced shifts in gene activity patterns. These shifted patterns were similar to patterns seen in humans suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers also observed data that suggested inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain tissue, again symptomatic of Alzheimer's.
Kochanek, P M, Dixon, E C, et al. Screening of biochemical and molecular mechanisms of secondary injury and repair in the brain after experimental blast-induced traumatic brain injury in rats. Journal of Neurotrama. (April 2013).