It found evidence that a single blast from a typical IED can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma that leads to brain tissue death. Like TBI, which is considered to be its precursor, CTE results in psychiatric symptoms (e.g. personality changes, depression) and long-term cognitive disability (e.g. memory loss, impaired judgment, dementia).
The team of researchers — which included eminent CTE expert Dr. Ann McKee as well as leading experts in blast physics, experimental pathology and neurophysiology — investigated the brains of four military personnel with known blast exposure and compared them to brain tissue samples from four athletes who had a history of repetitive concussive injury and four comparably-aged people with no history of concussions or neurological disease.