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The Military Science

Military Helmet Design Contributes To Brain Damage 294

BuzzSkyline writes "Improvements in helmets have helped modern soldiers survive bullets and blasts that would have killed them in past wars. But increasing numbers of soldiers are suffering long lasting brain damage from explosions, partly as a result of what appears to be a flaw in helmet designs. Although the blast itself may not accelerate the brain inside a soldier's head enough to cause injury, shockwaves that make it through the space between a helmet and a soldier's head can cause the skull to flex, leading to ripples in the skull that can create damaging pressures in the brain. Simulations that relied on 'code originally designed to simulate how a detonated weapon rattles a building or tank' could lead to new helmets that reduce the traumatic brain injuries that many soldiers suffer as a result of improvised explosive devices and other moderate-sized blasts. The research is due to be published in Physical Review Letters, but a pre-print of the entire article is currently available on the Physics ArXiv."
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Military Helmet Design Contributes To Brain Damage

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  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:08PM (#29265585)
    Green military uniforms have also been observed to be a cause of brain damage, proportional to the number of stars on the uniform.
  • by Starcub ( 527362 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:16PM (#29265691)
    A truely scientific study would measure the amount of brain damage a person had prior to entering the military and figure out how to discount brain damage accrued as a result of non-combat related factors associated with being in the military.
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:17PM (#29265713) Journal

    That's true, although porn leads to head-flexing as well.

    And dain bramage!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:18PM (#29265735)

    You have been warned.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:25PM (#29265847) Homepage

    I think that a scientific study for determining just how much military helmets actually contribute to brain damage when the soldier is exposed to an explosion would start by base-lining the brain conditions of 50 or so soldiers. Then, expose them all to the same explosion at the same stand-off orientation, half of them wearing helmets and half without. Then, re-test.

    If the guys without their helmets on come out behind the guys wearing helmets, we should re-title this, "Military Helmet Design Fails to Completely Prevent Brain Damage".

    Still, if they can model it up and do better, that sounds great.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:44PM (#29266173) Homepage

    (you could use "home made" if you like, but that sounds like you're talking about pie, not weaponry).

    If you're talking about a pie made by me, then there's not a whole lot of difference.

    Someday I really should release my autobiographical NIN-parody, Terrible Pie.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:46PM (#29266195) Homepage

    Maybe our helmets need a warning label: War may be hazardous to your health and has been known to cause such side effects as brain damage, PTSD, maiming, and death in many people during and after exposure.

  • by jake.tiger ( 1038046 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @05:15PM (#29266591)

    Actually, the gloves DO cause brain damage. It's nearly impossible to knock someone our bare handed with a blow to the temple, but easy as hell with gloves. The glove protects the hands, not the face. Notice that in college or olympic boxing they wear protective gear on their heads?

    Well, I have professional Muay Thai experience and I'd agree with the gloves causing brain damage. However, as far as the general consensus goes, thats because of the gloves flexing and causing vibrations in your head. As well as that you can get hit a lot in the head, I read that it's better to get a hard blow and get knocked out than lots of small ones. Interestingly, I know a lot of sparring partners who dont like sparring in head-gear because they often feel more dizzy afterwards than without. They attribute this to the gear giving even more padding for the vibrations. When it comes to it being nearly impossible to knock someone out bare-handed I gotta disagree. It's got more to do with where you hit, and how prepared the opponent is. As they say, it's the one you dont see that'll knock you out. Obviously there are several other factors as well. In MMA they wear minimal protection on the hands and people get knocked out just fine.

  • by Bake ( 2609 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @05:56PM (#29267135) Homepage

    Nah, actually just damage to your vision.

  • Bavarians (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @06:53PM (#29267713) Homepage Journal

    In the first world war German soldiers found that the spikes on their pointy helmets tended to get caught on things like tree branches, bunker roofs and occasionally each other.

    The Bavarians came up with an ingenious solution - put the spike on the inside. As an added bonus it stopped them falling off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @07:56PM (#29268223)

    ... it's a good thing the injury was on a part they don't use.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham