Military Brain Science - How to influence future wars.
ABSTRACT: Military Brain Science is a cutting-edge innovative science that uses potential military application as the guidance. It was preliminarily divided into 9 aspects by authors: understanding the brain, protecting the brain, monitoring the brain, injuring the brain, interfering with the brain, repairing the brain, enhancing the brain, simulating the brain and arming the brain. In this review, we attempt to propose the concept, content and meaning of the Military Brain Science, with the hope to provide some enlightenment and understanding of the research area.
Project description:Medical claims were analyzed from 2810 military children who visited a civilian emergency department (ED) or hospital from 2000 to 2014 with behavioral health as the primary diagnosis and TRICARE as the primary/secondary payer. Visit prevalence was estimated annually and categorized: 2000-2002 (pre-deployment), 2003-2008 (first post-deployment), 2009-2014 (second post-deployment). Age was categorized: preschoolers (0-4 years), school-aged (5-11 years), adolescents (12-17 years). During Afghanistan and Iraq wars, 2562 military children received 4607 behavioral health visits. School-aged children's mental health visits increased from 61 to 246 from pre-deployment to the second post-deployment period. Adolescents' substance use disorder (SUD) visits increased almost 5-fold from pre-deployment to the first post-deployment period. Mental disorders had increased odds (OR?=?2.93, 95% CI 1.86-4.61) of being treated during hospitalizations than in EDs. Adolescents had increased odds of SUD treatment in EDs (OR?=?2.92, 95% CI 1.85-4.60) compared to hospitalizations. Implications for integrated behavioral health and school behavioral health interventions are discussed.
Project description:Higher tobacco taxes reduce tobacco use. On military installations, cigarettes and other tobacco products are sold tax-free, keeping prices artificially low. Pricing regulations in the military specify that tobacco should be within 5% of the local most competitive price, but prices still average almost 13% lower than those at local Walmarts.To gain insight into policy leaders' ideas and positions on military tobacco pricing, we interviewed members of the Department of Defense (DoD) Addictive Substances Misuse Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Tobacco about tobacco pricing policies (n = 12).Participants frequently lacked specific knowledge of details of military pricing policy, and the impact higher prices might have on military tobacco use. Most participants thought tobacco should not be sold at military stores, but many also felt that this policy change was unlikely due to tobacco industry pressure, and DoD reliance on tobacco profits to support Morale, Welfare, and Recreation funds.Achieving a tobacco-free military will require changing pricing policy, but this study suggests that for effective implementation, military leadership must also understand and articulate more clearly the rationale for doing so.Previous work has found that adherence to military tobacco pricing policy is inconsistent at best. This study suggests that lack of knowledge about the policy and conflicting pressures resulting from the funding stream tobacco sales represent extend to high level military policy leaders. Without clearer information and direction, these leaders are unlikely to be able to establish and implement better tobacco pricing policy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Our group has shown that in vivo tau brain binding patterns from FDDNP-PET scans in retired professional football players with suspected chronic traumatic encephalopathy differ from those of tau and amyloid aggregate binding observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and cognitively-intact controls. OBJECTIVE:To compare these findings with those from military personnel with histories of mild traumatic brain injury(mTBI). METHODS:FDDNP-PET brain scans were compared among 7 military personnel and 15 retired players with mTBI histories and cognitive and/or mood symptoms, 24 AD patients, and 28 cognitively-intact controls. Nonparametric ANCOVAs with Tukey-Kramer adjusted post-hoc comparisons were used to test for significant differences in regional FDDNP binding among subject groups. RESULTS:FDDNP brain binding was higher in military personnel compared to controls in the amygdala, midbrain, thalamus, pons, frontal and anterior and posterior cingulate regions (p < 0.01-0.0001). Binding patterns in the military personnel were similar to those of the players except for the amygdala and striatum (binding higher in players; p = 0.02-0.003). Compared with the AD group, the military personnel showed higher binding in the midbrain (p = 0.0008) and pons (p = 0.002) and lower binding in the medial temporal, lateral temporal, and parietal regions (all p = 0.02). CONCLUSION:This first study of in vivo tau and amyloid brain signals in military personnel with histories of mTBI shows binding patterns similar to those of retired football players and distinct from the binding patterns in AD and normal aging, suggesting the potential value of FDDNP-PET for early detection and treatment monitoring in varied at-risk populations.
Project description:There is growing awareness of the problem of intimate partner violence (IPV) among military populations. IPV victimisation has been shown to be associated with mental disorder. A better understanding of the link between IPV and mental disorder is needed to inform service development to meet the needs of military families. We aimed to systematically review the literature on the association between IPV victimisation and mental health disorders among military personnel.Searches of four electronic databases (Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, and Web of Science) were supplemented by reference list screening. Heterogeneity among studies precluded a meta-analysis.Thirteen studies were included. There was stronger evidence for an association between IPV and depression/alcohol problems than between IPV and PTSD. An association between IPV and mental health problems was more frequently found among veterans compared to active duty personnel. However, the link between IPV and alcohol misuse was more consistently found among active duty samples. Finally, among active duty personnel psychological IPV was more consistently associated with depression/alcohol problems than physical/sexual IPV. The review highlighted the lack of research on male IPV victimisation in the military.There is evidence that the burden of mental health need may be significant among military personnel who are victims of IPV. The influence of attitudes towards gender in the military on research in this area is discussed. Further research is needed to inform development of services and policy to reduce IPV victimisation and the mental health consequences among military personnel.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Having a visual, hearing or physical impairment (defined as problems in body function or structure) may adversely influence the mental well-being of military personnel. This paper reviews the existing literature regarding the prevalence of mental health problems among (ex-)military personnel who have a permanent, predominantly, physical impairment. METHOD: Multiple electronic literature databases were searched for relevant studies (EMBASE (1980-January 2014), MEDLINE (1946-January 2014), PsycINFO (2002-January 2014), Web of Science (1975-January 2014)). RESULTS: 25 papers were included in the review, representing 17 studies. Studies conducted among US military personnel (n=8) were most represented. A range of mental health disorders were investigated; predominately post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but also depression, anxiety disorder (excluding PTSD), psychological distress and alcohol misuse. The findings indicate that mental health disorders including PTSD (range 2-59%), anxiety (range 16.1-35.5%), depression (range 9.7-46.4%) and psychological distress (range 13.4-36%) are frequently found whereby alcohol misuse was least common (range 2.2-26.2%). CONCLUSIONS: Common mental health disorders were frequently identified among (ex-)military personnel with a physical impairment. Adequate care and support is necessary during the impairment adaptation process to facilitate the psychosocial challenges (ex-)military personnel with an impairment face. Future research should be directed into factors impacting on the mental well-being of (ex-)military personnel with an impairment, how prevalence rates vary across impairment types and to identify and act on specific needs for care and support.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The study aimed tocompare recurring themes in the artistic expression of military service members (SMs) with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and psychological health (PH) conditions with measurable psychiatric diagnoses. Affective symptoms and struggles related to verbally expressing information can limit communication in individuals with symptoms of PTSD and deployment-related health conditions. Visual self-expression through art therapy is an alternative way for SMs with PTSD and other PH conditions to communicate their lived experiences. This study offers the first systematic examination of the associations between visual self-expression and standardised clinical self-report measures. DESIGN:Observational study of correlations between clinical symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety and visual themes in mask imagery. SETTING:The National Intrepid Center of Excellence at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. PARTICIPANTS:Active-duty military SMs (n=370) with a history of traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress symptoms and related PH conditions. INTERVENTION:The masks used for analysis were created by the SMs during art therapy sessions in week 1 of a 4-week integrative treatment programme. PRIMARY OUTCOMES:Associations between scores on the PTSD Checklist-Military, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale on visual themes in depictions of aspects of individual identity (psychological injury, military symbols, military identity and visual metaphors). RESULTS:Visual and clinical data comparisons indicate that SMs who depicted psychological injury had higher scores for post-traumatic stress and depression. The depiction of military unit identity, nature metaphors, sociocultural metaphors, and cultural and historical characters was associated with lower post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety scores. Colour-related symbolism and fragmented military symbols were associated with higher anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress scores. CONCLUSIONS:Emergent patterns of resilience and risk embedded in the use of images created by the participants could provide valuable information for patients, clinicians and caregivers.
Project description:Blast-related traumatic brain injuries have been common in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but fundamental questions about the nature of these injuries remain unanswered.We tested the hypothesis that blast-related traumatic brain injury causes traumatic axonal injury, using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an advanced form of magnetic resonance imaging that is sensitive to axonal injury. The subjects were 63 U.S. military personnel who had a clinical diagnosis of mild, uncomplicated traumatic brain injury. They were evacuated from the field to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, where they underwent DTI scanning within 90 days after the injury. All the subjects had primary blast exposure plus another, blast-related mechanism of injury (e.g., being struck by a blunt object or injured in a fall or motor vehicle crash). Controls consisted of 21 military personnel who had blast exposure and other injuries but no clinical diagnosis of traumatic brain injury.Abnormalities revealed on DTI were consistent with traumatic axonal injury in many of the subjects with traumatic brain injury. None had detectable intracranial injury on computed tomography. As compared with DTI scans in controls, the scans in the subjects with traumatic brain injury showed marked abnormalities in the middle cerebellar peduncles (P<0.001), in cingulum bundles (P=0.002), and in the right orbitofrontal white matter (P=0.007). In 18 of the 63 subjects with traumatic brain injury, a significantly greater number of abnormalities were found on DTI than would be expected by chance (P<0.001). Follow-up DTI scans in 47 subjects with traumatic brain injury 6 to 12 months after enrollment showed persistent abnormalities that were consistent with evolving injuries.DTI findings in U.S. military personnel support the hypothesis that blast-related mild traumatic brain injury can involve axonal injury. However, the contribution of primary blast exposure as compared with that of other types of injury could not be determined directly, since none of the subjects with traumatic brain injury had isolated primary blast injury. Furthermore, many of these subjects did not have abnormalities on DTI. Thus, traumatic brain injury remains a clinical diagnosis. (Funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00785304.).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Disordered eating, ranging from occasional binge eating or restriction to behaviors associated with eating disorder diagnoses, is common among military personnel and veterans. However, there is little information on how military service affects eating habits. OBJECTIVE:To describe possible pathways between military service and disordered eating among women veterans, a high risk group. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Twenty women veterans who reported changing eating habits in response to stress participated in audio-recorded focus groups or dyadic interviews between April 2013 and October 2014. We used thematic analysis of transcripts to identify and understand women's self-reported eating habits before, during, and after military service. RESULTS:Participants reported entering the military with varied eating habits, but little disordered eating. Participants described several ways military environments affected eating habits, for example, by promoting fast, irregular, binge-like eating and disrupting the reward value of food. Participants believed military-related stressors, which were often related to gender, also affected eating habits. Such stressors included military sexual trauma and the need to meet military weight requirements in general and after giving birth. Participants also reported that poor eating habits continued after military service, often because they remained under stress. CONCLUSIONS:For some women, military service can result in socialization to poor eating habits, which when combined with exposure to stressors can lead to disordered eating. Additional research is needed, including work to understand possible benefits associated with providing support in relation to military weight requirements and the transition out of military service. Given the unique experiences of women in the military, future work could also focus on health services surrounding pregnancy-related weight change and the stress associated with being a woman in predominantly male military environments.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To identify the impact of the first world war on the lifespan of participating military personnel (including in veterans who survived the war). DESIGN: Comparison of two cohorts of military personnel, followed to death. SETTING: Military personnel leaving New Zealand to participate in the first world war. PARTICIPANTS: From a dataset of the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces, we randomly selected participants who embarked on troopships in 1914 and a comparison non-combat cohort who departed on troopships in late 1918 (350 in each group). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Lifespan based on dates of birth and death from a range of sources (such as individual military files and an official database of birth and death records). RESULTS: A quarter of the 1914 cohort died during the war, with deaths from injury predominating (94%) over deaths from disease (6%). This cohort had a significantly shorter lifespan than the late 1918 "non-combat" cohort, with median ages of death being 65.9 versus 74.2, respectively (a difference of 8.3 years shown also in Kaplan-Meier survival curves, log rank P<0.001). The difference for the lifespan of veterans in the postwar period was more modest, with median ages of death being 72.6 versus 74.3, respectively (a difference of 1.7 years, log rank P=0.043). There was no evidence for differences between the cohorts in terms of occupational class, based on occupation at enlistment. CONCLUSIONS: Military personnel going to the first world war in 1914 from New Zealand lost around eight years of life (relative to a comparable military cohort). In the postwar period they continued to have an increased risk of premature death.
Project description:We investigate the role of networks of alliances in preventing (multilateral) interstate wars. We first show that, in the absence of international trade, no network of alliances is peaceful and stable. We then show that international trade induces peaceful and stable networks: Trade increases the density of alliances so that countries are less vulnerable to attack and also reduces countries' incentives to attack an ally. We present historical data on wars and trade showing that the dramatic drop in interstate wars since 1950 is paralleled by a densification and stabilization of trading relationships and alliances. Based on the model we also examine some specific relationships, finding that countries with high levels of trade with their allies are less likely to be involved in wars with any other countries (including allies and nonallies), and that an increase in trade between two countries correlates with a lower chance that they will go to war with each other.