Pentagon Failed To Abide By Order To Test Troops For Brain Injury Before And After Combat

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Posted on 14th June 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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The U.S. military has failed to follow a Congressional directive that mandates that soldiers be tested before and after they serve in combat to gauge if they have suffered any brain injuries, according to a story in USA Today.

The paper reported that more than 562,000 tests taken by soldiers before they were shippd out to fight weren’t readminstered when they came home by military health officials. 

According to one of the Congressmen who helped write the 2008 order on the testing, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., now thousands of solidiers who may have brain damage will go undetected. Pascrell is co-chariman of the bi-partisan Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

The Pentagon contends that the test, called the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics, or ANAM, used to check the soldiers isn’t accurate. Lt. General Eric Schoonmaker, the Army surgeon general, told USA Today that the test is “no better than a coin flip.”

 Another officer, Lt. Col. Michael Russell, chief of the army’s ANAM program, claimed the test comes out with too many false-positive results, and that such results could occur even by someone taking a medication such as Benadryl.

But defenders of the test said that it is just designed to indicate if a soldier’s cognitive processes have worsened, meaning that additional testing is necessary. In other words, the ANAM test is a good screening tool. 

Neuropsychologist Tresa Roebuck-Spencer, who is with the University of Oklahoma, told USA Today that when the post-combat test is compared to the first one, the false-positive test results drop out. The university developed and distributes the ANAM test for the army.

USA Today reported that 575,000 pre-deplolyment tests were collected at a price of about $30 each. But only 12,000 to 13,000 have been used for comparisons. 

Traditionally the military has expected soldiers to report their own head injuries. Somewhere in the range of 5 percent to 15 percent continue to have problems from their brain trauma, according to USA Today. 




  1. Brain Injury and Schizophrenia: How to Deal | World University Information says:

    […] Pentagon Failed To Abide By Order To Test Troops For Brain Injury … […]

    14th June 2010 at 7:29 pm

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