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Study: Repeat Brain Injuries Linked To Higher Suicide Risk In Military

MRI of brain injury

Above: MRI of brain injury

The more Traumatic Brain Injuries suffered by a service member, the higher his or her risk of suicide, according to a new study by the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah.

Researchers looked at a survey of 161 service members who served in the Iraq War. They found that troops' risk of suicidal thoughts jumped with the number of TBIs they suffered - and that risk increased not just in the short term, but throughout service members' lives.

Lead author Dr. Craig J. Bryan, said of the study's findings:

"Up to now, no one has been able to say if multiple TBIs, which are common among combat veterans, are associated with higher suicide risk or not. This study suggests they are, and it provides valuable information for professionals treating wounded combat servicemen and women to help manage the risk of suicide."

The Department of Defense calls TBI the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least 115,000 service members have suffered mild TBI in the wars, according to ProPublica.

The new study was published this week in JAMA Psychiatry.

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