Last February, the use of advanced brain imaging machines by military personnel in Afghanistan, was discontinued and in late October three of the high-dollar MRIs were disassembled and cannibalized for parts.
The MRIs had been ordered to the war zone in 2011, by then Admiral Mike Mullen who demanded the best in all kinds of diagnostics for his warriors and for the doctors who treated them.
Things have changed.
In what seems to be an almost puzzling statement, an unnamed senior medical officer for CENTCOM, which oversees military operations in Afghanistan, says,
“It remains unclear whether using MRI machines in the war zone truly helps the process of treating these brain injuries.”
So, the multi-million dollar pieces of medical equipment are now defunct; even though many brain specialists, including Dave Hovda, Professor and Vice Chairman of Research Affairs and Director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center maintain MRIs help doctors who are diagnosing all kinds of brain injuries, even those that might otherwise go undetected.
The final decision in February 2012 to shut down the machines was made by Central Command and Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglass Robb, then medical adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Robb is now director of the Defense Health Agency overseeing Pentagon medical programs and policies.
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