Blast-related traumatic brain injury (bTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been of particular relevance to the military and civilian health care sectors since the onset of the Global War on Terror, and TBI has been called the "signature injury" of this war. Currently there are many questions about the fundamental nature, diagnosis, and long-term consequences of bTBI and its relationship to PTSD. This workshop was organized to consider these questions and focus on how brain imaging techniques may be used to enhance current diagnosis, research, and treatment of bTBI. The general conclusion was that although the study of blast physics in non-biological systems is mature, few data are presently available on key topics such as blast exposure in combat scenarios, the pathological characteristics of human bTBI, and imaging signatures of bTBI. Addressing these gaps is critical to the success of bTBI research. Foremost among our recommendations is that human autopsy and pathoanatomical data from bTBI patients need to be obtained and disseminated to the military and civilian research communities, and advanced neuroimaging used in studies of acute, subacute, and chronic cases, to determine whether there is a distinct pathoanatomical signature that correlates with long-term functional impairment, including PTSD. These data are also critical for the development of animal models to illuminate fundamental mechanisms of bTBI and provide leads for new treatment approaches. Brain imaging will need to play an increasingly important role as gaps in the scientific knowledge of bTBI and PTSD are addressed through increased coordination, cooperation, and data sharing among the academic and military biomedical research communities.
- Animal models of blast-related injury
- Blast physics
- Blast-related traumatic brain injury
- Brain imaging
- Post-traumatic stress disorder