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Breakthroughs in Traumatic Brain Injury Research: How the Smell Test Can Identify TBI in Soldiers

In previous posts about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)--an injury to the brain that occurs when one sustains a violent impact to the head or body--we have identified a relationship between TBIs and the olfactory system. A recent study reaffirms this relationship in a groundbreaking way by establishing that "olfactory impairment [is] highly predictive of abnormal neuroimaging findings in blast-injured troops with TBI," according to a new article on Medscape. In other words, the study found a positive correlation between olfactory impairment and abnormalities in the brain that were found to be indicative of TBI.


The study, published online on March 18 in Neurology, reveals that quantitative identification olfactometry "has 'limited sensitivity but high specificity'" in detecting the kind of structural neuropathology that indicates trauma. As a result, the researchers conducting the study suggest that "functional disturbance with central olfactory impairment should be regarded as an important tool to inform" whether a physician should order advanced neuroimaging.
The study surveyed 231 soldiers who were injured from explosions in Afghanistan or Iraq. Of these 231 soldiers, 191 had a normal sense of smell (136 of those troops having only mild TBI and 55 of them having none at all). The researchers emphasized that all the troops with a normal sense of smell had normal neuroimaging findings.
However, troops with "concurrent acute traumatic radiographic abnormalities" showed central olfactory impairment, indicating a correlation between the impairment of the olfactory system and abnormalities in the brain resulting from TBI.
Ultimately, this test could prove highly useful in determining the need for neuroimaging in blast-injured troops. As a result, it may become more efficient or easier to determine "who should be removed from battle or training." And moreover, with more development, olfactory testing might be usable in determining a wide range of brain injuries or neurodegenerative diseases.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of someone else's negligence, such as a rear end collision, call us for help. We will talk to you and review your case for free. The Tyrone Law Firm specializes in representing those who have suffered a devastating injury, such as traumatic brain injury resulting from the negligence of another. Our personal injury firm here in Atlanta has a very successful record of trying such cases.
Nelson Tyrone handles Brain Injury, Spine Injury and RSD/CRPS cases throughout the United States. He involves only the top medical, rehabilitation and life-care plan experts in the field. His results on behalf of clients include several of the largest settlements and verdicts on record.
You can reach us at 404-377-0017 or via email at admin@tyronelaw.com. If we can't help you, we will do our best to put you into the hands of lawyers who can.
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