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Ear Drum Perforation May Be Sign Of Brain Injury

Physicians treating patients who have suffered tympanic membrane perforation as a result of blast should also look for signs of comcomitant brain or neurologic injury, according to a study published in the August 23 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Michael Xydakis, assistant professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), along with a team of military physicians who were based at the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, studied 210 male U.S. soldiers who were victims of blast injury and discovered a significant association between ruptured ear drums and loss of consciousness. Thirty-five percent had perforated tympanic membranes and 36 percent suffered a loss of consciousness. Those findings suggest a close link and offers hope for early detection of possible brain injury.

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