Army tries new brain scans to hunt blast effects

By KRISTIN M. HALL | May 23, 2011 | 11:45 AM EDT

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — The Army is trying a type of brain scan commonly used to study dementia to find subtle changes in the brains of soldiers who suffer wartime head injuries.

The single-photon emission computerized tomography, or SPECT, produces data about the level of perfusion, or blood flow in the brain, which is rendered in colors from red and white to blue and grey. Doctors at Fort Campbell in Kentucky have been using the scan for less than a year to help in treatment of wounded soldiers and study the effects of blast injuries.

Maj. Andrew Fong, chief of radiology at the post's Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, said the scans are showing diminished blood flow after an injury, when standard CT scans showed no obvious signs of damage.