Traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a recent deployment was associated with postdeployment posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD) among Marines, according to a study by Kate A. Yurgil, Ph.D., of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, and colleagues.

Blast injuries caused by the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for an estimated 52 percent of deployment-related TBI cases. Symptoms of PTSD are reported at approximately double the rate by service members who have mild TBI in comparison with those who do not, according to the study background.

Between 2008 and 2012, researchers conducted predeployment and postdeployment interviews and self-report assessments with 1,648 active-duty Marine and Navy service personnel on Marine Corps bases in California. PTSD symptoms were measured before deployment and after deployment, as were factors such as combat intensity, predeployment mental health symptoms and deployment-related TBI.

The risk of PTSD was higher for participants with severe predeployment symptoms, high combat intensity, and deployment-related TBI.

"Results suggest that deployment-related TBI may be an important risk factor for PTSD, particularly for individuals with symptoms related to a prior traumatic event," the authors conclude.