West: Symposium Set On Invisible Effects Of Deadly Explosion

WEST (November 1, 2013)—The symposium Saturday is open to the public.

It will be held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 301 South Harrison St.


WEST (November 1, 2013) Army Capt. Paul Hammer, a medical doctor who’s the former director of the Defense Center on Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, briefs West residents Saturday on the lasting, but invisible effects of the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15, injured several hundred and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and buildings.

In the aftermath of the explosion, he says some residents may be suffering some of the same symptoms as troops who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an explosion, he says, the atmosphere is instantly changed, and a vacuum is created, which can have a significant effect on the brain.

The condition is called Blast Induced Neurotrauma or BINT and it requires special medical equipment to identify it, he said.

Hammer says many in West who say they have no problems and feel no side effects from the blast, actually may just not know how much they have been affected.

“That’s the kind of thing I’m concerned about, are we really okay, and making sure that people don't live in denial,” he said.

Symptoms include chronic irritability, anger, difficulty sleeping and not eating, he said.

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