The Buried IED…Here at Home

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A Marine flees an IED blast that killed two comrades in Afghanistan / Manpreett Romana/AFP/Getty Images)

The military’s fight against improvised explosive devices along roads in Afghanistan and Iraq — which have killed more than 3,000 Americans — has cost more than $20 billion. But that’s only the money spent by the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO, pronounced ji-dough) to stop them over there. The costs at home are C.O.D. —  yet to be paid — as Sharon Weinberger writes in the latest issue of Nature:

…an increasing body of evidence suggests that the repeated concussions have left [troops] with an invisible, subcellular-level form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that not only impairs their day-to-day functioning, but also increases their long-term risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. “We’ve got a lot of guys out there that might be 30 years old that have been blown up a dozen times,” says Kevin Kit Parker, a biomedical engineer at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who is conducting research on TBI. “And the risk that these guys are going to get a disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s is soaring.”

Read the full thing here. And weep.