The Scars of War Foundation was formed in 2011 as part of The Queen's College, to carry out research into the neurocognitive problems created by wars, and as a consequence of natural disaster.
The power of modern explosives and their increasing use as the basis of asymmetric war strategy, means large numbers of both military and civilian casualties are affected by blast. The effects of blast on the brain, and of the extreme and prolonged stress that characterises combat, can be permanent and debilitating.
Until we can differentiate between purely psychological effects and so-called “mild” blast trauma to the brain (mTBI), effective treatments cannot be developed. It seems highly likely that veterans’ problems stem from combinations of both.
The numbers known to be suffering from combat-related neurocognitive disorders are high. Between 17 and 50% of UK and US troops deployed on combat operations (depending on type of unit and role) are known to suffer from PTSD and mTBI. Civilians are similarly affected.
Untreated mTBI often develops into PTSD and other serious psychological conditions like depression, and premature dementia. This is an intractable, difficult and unwelcome problem for military authorities. The veterans’ charities are unable to provide effective care.
The Scars of War Foundation has developed specific neuroimaging techniques for the study of veterans. The Foundation works with Danish, British and Australian war veterans; and with colleagues at UCLA to look at the effects on families. Understanding brain processes enables the identification of diagnostic markers, and the development of effective treatments.
The Foundation is co-directed by Professor Morten Kringelbach and Hugh McManners. For more information about people associated with the Foundation, please follow this link.