A recent study found that Vietnam vets with penetrating head injuries could first exhibit seizures decades after the injury. The Journal Neurology published a report that found that among a group of 199 Vietnam veterans, about 13% developed post-traumatic epilepsy more than 14 years after they had suffered a penetrating head wound, such as a gunshot injury or shrapnel that entered brain tissue. In at least one instance the onset was 35 years later. The LA Times wrote about this study "It is unclear how the study relates to combatants returning from Iraq and Afghanistan today, the authors said. The Vietnam veterans in the study suffered from penetrating brain injuries, which are rarer in soldiers fighting in the current conflicts because helmets have improved. Today, closed-head injuries (where the brain is not penetrated) are more common, in part because of the helmet improvements and partly because of a change in the weaponry used in modern warfare." The VA would be well advised to take these results into account. This once again proves that VA, veterans and their advocates should not simply dismiss a medical nexus because of the passage of time.
Veterans can have seizures decades after a head injury, study finds