December 4, 2008, Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a study on the long-term health consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The IOM study concluded that various forms of TBI are associated with long-term health problems including dementia, Parkinson’s-like symptoms, seizures, and problems related to socialization and unemployment.
“This report clearly shows that TBI, in all its forms, will affect our service members far into the future and that more needs to be done to help them today. It also provides a blueprint for the work needed to address the signature injury of the Iraq War.
“In the coming Congress, I will be working with the Obama administration to implement the recommendations outlined by the Institute of Medicine, including increased TBI screening and research. Because while TBI is often an invisible wound, with battlefield tracking and improved research we can shine a light on possible exposures and get people the help they need sooner.
“Veterans struggling with headaches, memory loss, depression and the other effects of TBI are often confused and unsure of where to turn. They deserve to know that we are taking every step to reach out to them, track their health problems, and provide the very best treatments available.”
For more information on the Institute of Medicine’s study visit: http://www.iom.edu/CMS/4683/60519.aspx
A recent RAND study revealed that of the over 1.64 million service members who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, 19.5%, or about 320,000, reported experiencing a probable TBI during deployment. The study also found that 57 percent of those that had likely experienced a TBI had not been evaluated by a physician for a brain injury.
Senator Murray’s Work:
As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray has worked to provide billions in increased funding for research and treatment for TBI and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).