Frontline experience linked to brain changes

Dutch researchers studied 22 soldiers from a NATO peacekeeping operation using neuropsychological tests and imaging to compare brain changes tied to executive functions, which rely on attention and working memory for planning and decision-making.

They found exposure to combat stress affected the structural integrity of the midbrain and interfered with the soldiers’ ability to sustain attention.

“These alterations normalise within 1.5 years in soldiers without psychiatric complaints, which may explain why long-term cognitive deficits