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The Physics of a Blast Injury

The Physics of a Blast Injury

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[Dr. Anand Veeravagu] In the setting of a blast injury, and when a service member is near a blast, the hypothesis is that there is a very quick change in the pressure because of the blast. That pressure generates a wave, and that wave can be wind, it can be sound, and it could be debris. But regardless, there is a change in the pressure surrounding the service member that's very quick and that results in a definitive impact to the service member that you may have seen service members being moved 100 feet from a blast injury, you may see service members simply fall down, but it depends on the extent of the blast. As a result of that pressure wave, as a result of that change in pressure, the brain undergoes a very specific trauma. That could be a micro bleed within the contents of the brain, a micro injury, which is sort of a bruising on the surface of the brain, but at this point in time, I don't think we really know the exact impact of a blast wave on the brain.

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Dr. Anand Veeravagu explains how a blast causes a swift change in pressure that generates a wave of wind, sound, and/or debris that, in turn, can damage a person's brain through a microtrauma or microbleed.

See more video clips with Dr. Anand Veeravagu.


Produced by Christian Lindstrom and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine Military.

Anand Veeravagu, MDAnand Veeravagu, MD is a neurosurgeon in training at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is a former White House fellow and special assistant to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He previously served as chief neurosurgery resident at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital.

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