Military contractors suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) face a significant uphill battle in their recovery. Obviously, those affected and their families closely watch for medical advances in TBI diagnosis and treatment. One recent advance involves new and innovative neuroimaging that is proving to be effective for military veterans and defense contractors who have suffered traumatic brain injuries while working in various zones overseas. Neuroimaging is drastically changing the treatment and medical diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries.
The importance of accurate imaging cannot be overstated, particularly with regard to “hidden” injuries like TBI. For example, in the case of injured overseas contractors, consider the complex rules regarding what injuries qualify for coverage under the Defense Base Act. Improved imaging and diagnostic tools often allow those hurt to clearly and specifically show the damage suffered as well as track any improvements. The implications can significantly affect financial support provided by these insurance programs.
A medical journal article recently highlighted these various advances, including demonstrating how such technology based medical device innovation can and does have a huge impact on those dealing with traumatic brain injuries. The researchers specifically identified those developing TBI overseas as a motivation for their work noting that brain injuries “remain one of the most prevalent forms of morbidity among Veterans and Servicemembers, particularly for those engaged in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.” There has been immense efforts by the government, advocacy groups, and families to seek more advanced and innovative technology to assist healthcare providers in this regard and to assist develop a range of technology-based tools that can help physicians,more fully understand the scope and range of medical treatments in regards to TBI. Many physicians are excited at the prospects of neuroimaging and are finding that such technology is increasingly useful, accessible, and informative to a broad spectrum of diagnoses.
The New Imaging Tools
Although there is a variety of technology available to assist veterans, “neuroimaging has been considered a potentially useful diagnostic and prognostic tool across the spectrum of TBI” It may have particular importance in military and civilian contractor populations where the diagnosis of mild TBI is particularly challenging, given the frequent lack of documentation on the “nature of the injuries and mixed etiologies, and highly comorbid with other disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance misuse.” As the article describes, these tools have also been used to better understand the potential late effects of trauma and to evaluate the effects of promising therapeutic interventions.
The science behind the new technology is complex. The article reviews many other techniques currently in place. This includes “the utilization of quantitative fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI), volumetric analysis, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), magnetization transfer imaging (MTI), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetoencephalography (MEG), task-based and resting state functional MRI (fMRI), arterial spin labeling (ASL), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).” The latest research also provides a comprehensive overview of the various neuroimaging based tools that are now available to assist in the treatment of traumatic brain injury.
Neuroimaging is proving to be an invaluable source of medical innovation for individuals, especially where it becomes almost a necessity for medical professionals to be able to develop new methods to keep up with the developing research pertaining to traumatic brain injuries. This particular niche in science, technology, and engineering will likely continue to be a significant source of information, research, and treatment plans for years to come.
The Defense Base Act Can Provide Support
News of science advances related to diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury is always welcome news. It is important for families affected, including U.S. military contractors, to understand the steps that must be made to take full advantage of these breakthroughs. The Defense Base Act ensures that those hurt in this manner receive full and fair compensation and support. It is important to have the aid of a legal professional to advance your DBA claim. The process can be confusing, frustrating, and mired in red tape. An experienced attorney can spearhead the effort, explaining what needs to be done and keeping you apprised every step of the way.
If your spouse or loved one was injured while working outside of the United States for or as a U.S. government contractor, please contact the Defense Base Act attorneys at Barnett, Lerner, Karsen & Frankel, P.A. today. We have decades of experiences helping individuals in just this situation and are ready to put that experience to work for you.