Mild traumatic brain injury may be caused by different mechanisms such as direct impact, head rotational
acceleration, blast exposure, and penetration by projectile objects. The
cause of an mTBI is important because the cause often affects the severity
and persistency of cognitive outcomes.
A recent animal study assessed the relationship between the cause of an
mTBI (in this case, blast injury versus rotational injury) and the subsequent
behavioral outcomes. When researchers induced either blast-force mTBI
or rotational acceleration mTBI in rodents, they observed that rotationally-injured
rats showed greater activity levels during a maze-solving task, while
blast-injured rats showed decreased activity during the task, but at later
points in time. Behavioral assessments also revealed that rats injured
by blasts showed long-term anxiety and other cognitive impairments that
were not found in rotationally-injured rats, even though the severity
of injury was equal in both groups.
These findings indicate that both the severity and the cause of a TBI should
be considered when assessing possible cognitive outcomes. The unique effects
of blast injury on post-TBI behavioral outcomes may have important implications
for the treatment and rehabilitation of war veterans who have experienced
Source: Stemper BD, Shah AS, Budde MD, et al. Behavioral outcomes differ
between rotational acceleration and blast mechanisms of mild traumatic
brain injury. Frontiers in Neuropsychology. (March 2016).