Always Look On The Bright Side
Bush's Iraq adventure has killed more than 4,000 American and British soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It has displaced millions, and left the Iraqi economy and Iraqi society in a shambles. It will wind up costing the American economy more than $1 trillion in direct cost, opportunity cost, interest on debt, and long term costs like treatment for wounded soldiers.
But in honor of Bush's half-glass-full spirit, I think we should look on the bright side: medical researchers are discovering a lot about prosthetic limbs, traumatic brain injuries, and post traumatic stress disorder. The latest discovery is that PTSD physically scars the brain:
At a recent conference for some of the area's leading neurologists, San Francisco physicist Norbert Schuff captured his colleagues' attention when he presented colorful brain images of U.S. soldiers who had returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.So not every aspect of the Bush presidency has been negative. Just look at what he's doing for neurological science!
The yellow areas, Schuff explained during his presentation at the city's Veterans Affairs Medical Center, showed where the hippocampus, which plays major roles in short-term memory and emotions, had atrophied. The red swatches marked hyperfusion - increased blood flow - in the prefrontal cortex, the region responsible for conflict resolution and decision-making. Compared with a soldier without the affliction, the PTSD brain had lost 5 to 10 percent of its gray matter volume, indicating yet more neuron damage.
Schuff's research is at the forefront of a bold push by the Department of Defense to address PTSD, the psychological disorder that will haunt an estimated 30 percent of the veterans returning from the current two wars, according to the Pentagon. Forty thousand veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon officials say, have already been diagnosed with PTSD, which is defined as an anxiety disorder triggered by exposure to traumatic events; symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks.
Left untreated, clinicians say, patients with PTSD are more likely to engage in anti-social behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. The disorder, neurologists are now learning, can also lead to long-term maladies, such as Alzheimer's and dementia.
(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)