Scars of War studies the wide range of psychological conditions related to the traumas of combat and warfare.
Some of these conditions may be reactions to experiences; others occur commonly post-combat but the brain mechanisms linking them to combat have yet to be determined. The condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) is one particularly well-known and potentially misleading example of this.
We prefer to refer to “the effects of combat”, until we’ve done enough work to determine if there are indeed large scale differences between participants with combat experience, and non-military controls. If this proves to be the case, we’ll propose the generic term “Post Combat Syndrome – PCS”.
Unless blood vessels are ruptured, the skull is damaged or there are other obvious wounds, damage to the brain’s tofu-like grey matter has been very difficult to diagnose. Since the First World War, some medical experts have suggested that all battlefield psychological conditions are caused by undetectable injuries to the brain. The US Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center estimates that since 2001, 167,913 US soldiers have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) – which is known as the “signature wound” of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.
We need to find out how soldiers’ brains are affected by TBI, of which 75% are the much less easily diagnosed “mild” version mTBI.
The symptoms of mTBI may in due course be discovered to account for a great many of the problems.