A recent study focused on how the central nervous system responds to non-penetrating blast injuries like those induced by blast waves from terrorist explosive devices.
Researchers subjected rats to controlled blast waves to measure inflammatory response, tissue damage, and programmed cell death; they observed mechanisms indicating the presence of these injury responses up to three weeks after the rats were subjected to blast-overpressure waves. Rats subjected to blast injury achieved poorer results in cognitive function assessments compared to their performance before injury.
The results of this study suggest that blast induced injuries to the central nervous system initiate an inflammatory response seen in victims of mild traumatic brain injury; and that blast-overpressure waves may quickly cause lasting injury to brain tissue.
Tompkins P, Tesiram Y, et al. Brain Injury: Neuro-Inflammation, Cognitive Deficit & MRI in a Model of Blast Induced TBI. Journal of Neurotrauma. (January 2013).