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Relation of Repeated Low-Level Blast Exposure With Symptomology Similar to Concussion

Carr, Walter PhD; Polejaeva, Elena BS; Grome, Anna MS; Crandall, Beth BA; LaValle, Christina MS; Eonta, Stephanie E. BS, BA; Young, Lee Ann MA

Section Editor(s): Caplan, Bruce PhD, ABPP; Bogner, Jennifer PhD, ABPP; Brenner, Lisa PhD, ABPP

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: January/February 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 47–55
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000064
Original Articles

Objective: To investigate anecdotal reports suggesting that repeated exposure to low-level explosive blast has myriad health impacts, including an array of neurological effects.

Participants: A total of 184 anonymous survey respondents from military and nonmilitary law enforcement populations (135 exposed to occupational blast and 49 controls).

Design: Survey of self-reported history of occupational exposure to repeated low-level blast (breaching blast) and symptomology similar to concussion.

Results: Findings suggest that number and severity of symptoms increase with history of chronic blast exposure (F = 18.26, P < .001) and that symptoms can interfere with daily activity (t = 2.60, P = .010).

Conclusion: Given the prevalence of repeated exposure to blast among some military and civilian law enforcement occupations, the results of this survey study support a role for blast surveillance programs as well as continued research on health impacts of low-level repeated blast exposure.

Department of Behavioral Biology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland (Dr Carr and Mss LaValle and Eonta); Department of Neurotrauma, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland (Ms Polejaeva); and Applied Research Associates, Albuquerque, New Mexico (Mss Grome, Crandall, and Young).

Corresponding Author: Walter Carr, MAJ, MS, USA, Department of Behavioral Biology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (

This work was supported by Army MOMRP.accelleration.A0908.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, nor the US Government.

MAJ Carr is a military service member. This work was prepared as part of his official duties. Title 17 USC §105 provides that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government.” Title 17 USC §101 defines a US government work as a work prepared by a military service member or employee of the US government as part of that person's official duties.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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