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Minnesota National Guard
Study of Guard Soldiers shows effects of mild brain injury fade over time

St Paul, Minn — Results from an ongoing survey of Minnesota National Guard troops conducted by researchers at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center show that most cases of mild brain injury or concussion are likely to fade over time

Researchers say the survey, which was published in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, also sheds more light on post-traumatic stress symptoms
The findings could be good news for the thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans believed to have suffered mild brain injury during combat, although it's unclear how many troops have come home with TBI

Minneapolis VA Medical Center psychologist Melissa Polusny says the number of soldiers who report an injury that made them feel dazed or confused, or forced them to lose consciousness, varies widely

Polusny and her colleagues surveyed more than 950 Guard soldiers, and in one survey, as many as 22 percent of them reported suffering a mild traumatic brain injury while deployed

"When someone hears the word brain injury, I think they make assumptions about what that is," she said "What we are talking about is concussion, which is sometimes referred to as mild traumatic brain injury"

Mild traumatic brain injury differs from moderate to severe TBI Polusny says there are a number of common symptoms

"Like headache, or difficulty concentrating, or irritability or memory difficulties, maybe ringing in the ears or tinitis," she said "These are grouped together and referred to as post-oncussive symptoms"

The survey followed National Guard soldiers who served in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 Researchers were looking at the associations between concussion and PTSD symptoms, and whether mild TBI caused long-term effects

Polusny says the results were conclusive

"There wasn't really any strong evidence for long-term negative impact of concussion or mild TBI history alone, when you didn't take into account the effects of PTSD," she said

The study found that mild TBI does not further aggravate symptoms of post-traumatic stress Polusny says in fact, it shows that some service members may be attributing their symptoms to brain injury when they could really be caused by PTSD

That's the case with Minnesota National Guard veteran Ed Yurick, who was convinced something was wrong when he returned from Iraq in 2007

More than three years later, he still has trouble concentrating and remembering things At first, he says doctors told him he had traumatic brain injury, or TBI But now they think otherwise

"They apparently don't think I do have TBI They think I have symptoms of that, but they think it's more the PTSD," said Yurick

He gets frustrated when he comes back from the store empty-handed or can't focus

"Concentration is the biggest thing for me," he said
While the survey did not address whether people with repeated mild concussions, or moderate or severe head injury, may have problems down the road, Polusny says she hopes these findings on mild TBI could help more service members get appropriate treatment

by Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
January 4, 2011

More from MPR
Study: Small area of brain could be key to PTSD
October 28, 2010

Ask Dr Hallberg: Traumatic brain injuries
October 14, 2010


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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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