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Pascrel Amendment to Study Blast Injury Passes House


On May 14, the House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) that would direct the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct a study on blast injury mechanics impacting soldiers on the battlefield. Rep. Pascrell's amendment was included in National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (H.R. 1735). Rep. Pascrell is co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

Primary blast injury occurs when an explosion generates a blast wave traveling faster than sound and creating a surge of high pressure immediately followed by a vacuum. Studies have shown that the blast wave shoots through armor and soldiers' skulls and brains, even if it doesn't draw blood. Researchers still do not know the exact mechanisms by which primary blast injuries damages the brain's cells and circuits.

“The high rate of TBI and blast-related concussion events resulting from current combat operations directly impacts the health and safety of individual service members, and subsequently the level of unit readiness and troop retention," said Rep. Pascrell. "Understanding how a primary blast injury affects the brain is imperative to developing appropriate prevention measures, including ensuring proper equipment.”


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