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Researchers say a better helmet could protect U.S. troops in combat

April 23, 2011 |  2:37 pm

Helmet Ten years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military is still looking for ways to protect troops from the so-called "signature wound" of the war: traumatic brain injury.

The blast from a Taliban bomb can severely damage the brain of a soldier or Marine even without breaking the skin. The signs, including depression, disorientation and speech difficulties, can arise weeks, even months, after the explosion.

Along with investing billions into technology that will detect and defuse such bombs, the Army also is looking to improve the basic equipment given to frontline troops, particularly the combat helmet.

Now, two researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California, working under an Army contract, think they have found a way to give troops more protection by making minor changes in the helmet. The Army is interested.

Photo: Marines in Afghanistan

Credit: Department of Defense



-- Tony Perry in San Diego