The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, is looking for individuals to participate in clinical studies. Participating in clinical trials allows you to play an active role in research on the nature and causes of many disorders of the brain and nervous system, and to possibly help physician-scientists develop future treatments. The information below is designed to help you quickly learn about actively recruiting research studies for which you or someone you know may be eligible.

Description:

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the cognitive and neurophysiological effects of chronic exposure to repeated low-level blast overpressure. Previous studies show converging evidence for a neurophysiological effect from cumulative exposure to blast, which is consistent with subjective reports of cognitive impairment by individuals trained to use explosives to gain entry to structures (breachers). This study will expand on these findings by examining a larger cohort of experienced breachers and artillery personnel who may be incurring a cumulative effect of low-level blast exposure over the course of several years. We will evaluate up to 20 participants from each of three groups: breachers, artillery personnel, and unexposed individuals. Additionally, we will ask each of the above to bring a close companion for a set of questionnaires and an interview to capture changes in functioning that participants may not be able to self-assess. Participants will travel to the NIH for evaluation of cognitive and neurophysiological measures. The procedures include neuropsychological testing, blood analysis for biomarkers, vestibular and auditory testing, and neuroimaging studies using diffusion tensor imaging, susceptibility weighted imaging, perfusion imaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and, where there is evidence of a sleep disorder, polysomnography. This study will be conducted in collaboration with the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) under a Research Collaborative Agreement. The complementary DoD protocol will be reviewed by the DoD IRB and includes this NIH protocol. The complementary DoD protocol includes data collection at field settings, activity NIH is not engaged in and not described in this protocol.

Eligibility Criteria:

- INCLUSION CRITERIA: EXPERIMENTAL GROUP: BREACHERS - Active duty and veterans who have left active duty within the previous five years or civilian law enforcement personnel - Ages 18 60 (age range for an active duty military population) - At least 4 years of experience in the breaching profession and actively involved in breacher training and/or operations (minimum of annual exposure). An alternate criterion to years of breacher experience is exposure to a significant number of breaching blasts, specifically, exposure to 400 breaching blasts or more within a career, will be considered experienced by the investigators. EXPERIMENTAL GROUP 2: ARTILLERY - Active duty and veterans who have left active duty within the previous five years - Matched to the breacher group in terms of age, gender, and operational experience. Operational experience is defined as years of experience actively involved in artillery operations and/or number of artillery evolutions. - At least 4 years experience with exposure to concussive environments not related to blast (minimum of annual exposure). An alternate criterion to years of experience is exposure to a significant number of concussive evolutions, specifically, exposure to 400 or more within a career, will be considered experienced by the investigators. CONTROL GROUP: UNEXPOSED - Active duty and veterans who have left active duty within the previous five years - Matched to the experimental group (breachers) in terms of age, gender, and operational experience. Operational experience is defined as years of experience actively involved in military or law enforcement operations with the condition that operations include direct mission engagement roles rather than support roles. Military deployment or law enforcement patrol are examples of direct mission engagement roles and shore logistics or office based call center are examples of support roles. COMPANION GROUP - Spouse, close family member, or other living partner of an experimental or control group participant. The criterion is met by a person who has both some historical knowledge of the participant and routine interactions outside a work environment. - Over 18 years of age - Knowledge of the experimental or control group participant s daily functioning - Companions who are unable to travel to NIH may participate remotely ( off-site companion ) EXCLUSION CRITERIA: BREACHERS - History of moderate or more severe brain injury with loss of consciousness greater than 5 minutes - Current diagnosis of other CNS disorder (mild to severe) - Any cardiac, respiratory, or other medical condition that may affect cerebral metabolism - MRI contraindications - Metal in the body which would make having an MRI scan unsafe, such as pacemakers, medication pumps, aneurysm clips, metallic prostheses (including metal pins and rods, heart valves or cochlear implants), shrapnel fragments, permanent eye liner or small metal fragments in the eye - Claustrophobia - Inability to lie supine for up to 2 hours in the MRI scanner ARTILLERY & UNEXPOSED -Parallel to exclusion criteria for the breacher group, with the addition of exposure to breaching blast (greater than 40 individual blasts) for the Artillery Group and exposure to any blast (greater than 40 individual blasts) for the Unexposed Group. COMPANION GROUP -None

Study Design:

Study Location:

Maryland