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Can heavy military weapons cause brain injury?

Soldiers across New York and the United States hold inherently dangerous jobs, and new concerns are being raised about your risk of suffering a brain injury due to repeated use of certain heavy military weapons.  According to NPR, the military began having its soldiers wear sensors known as blast gauges to get a better sense of how you may be affected by your surroundings while in battle, but that the sensors are no longer widely used.

Initially intended to assess the effects of being near roadside bombs, the sensors indicated that certain weapons, such as the Carl Gustaf, a bazooka-like rifle, also resulted in considerable blast exposure to the person firing it. When you fire this particular weapon, it redirects a sharp burst of hot gas backward, which is why soldiers are supposed to be trained to stand on the side of the weapon before using it.

A study conducted last year as part of a five-year Office of Naval Research endeavor already revealed that your use of certain heavy military weapons can affect your memory and your ability to learn and retain new information. As a result, some legislators are pushing for additional research to determine whether long-term brain injuries are also related to repeated use of heavy weaponry.

There are problems associated with doing so, however. The many variables associated with a battlefield environment make it tough to pinpoint exactly what is causing brain injuries. If you fire a heavy weapon amidst a number of tall buildings, for example, the blast waves from the artillery are more likely to impact you than if you fire the same weapon in an area completely free from obstruction. Additional research is needed to learn more about the potential link between firing heavy weaponry and suffering long-term brain injuries.

This information about weaponry and brain injuries is meant to be informative, but it should not be taken as legal advice. 

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