March 19, 2012
With the media attention surrounding the Army staff sergeant who recently killed 16 civilians in a shooting rampage in Afghanistan, many medical experts are questioning if a traumatic brain injury the soldier had suffered months prior may have played a role in his behavior.
According to experts questioned by News Channel 3, the answer is yes. Data collected by researchers show that traumatic brain injuries can alter a person’s personality, making him or her more aggressive and impatient. Furthermore, those who suffer injuries to the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls emotions, show signs of that part of the brain functioning at a lower level following the serious injury.
Other experts argue that brain injuries do not always equal more aggressive behavior. They claim that if that was the case, the more than 5.3 million people who are living with these kinds of injuries would have led to more reports of rash behavior.
In the meantime, groundbreaking research is being conducted on a new drug that may improve the outcome for those who suffer serious traumatic brain injuries. Experiments with lab rats have shown quicker recovery times and better cognitive function in animals that are given the drug after suffering a brain injury.