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Military Injuries: Understanding Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (MINUTE), Health, and Quality-of-Life Effects of Caregiving

We have a limited understanding of post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) and its impact in Post-9/11 combat Veterans. In studies of the general epilepsy population, cognitive and mental health problems are significant impairments. Cognitive problems can include issues with memory, concentration, and the ability to think clearly. Mental health problems can include depression, anxiety, and irritability. In our prior study using data from 1999, we examined the impact of epilepsy on Veterans. We found that Veterans with epilepsy (VWE) of all ages reported difficulties. These difficulties were caused by physical and emotional limitations, social function, and mental health.

The goals of this study are to evaluate the health, well-being, and quality of life of Veterans with PTE and their Caregivers. The effect of caregiving on caregiver health is likely unique to specific caregiver populations. The effects of caregiving for Veterans with PTE is understudied. For this study, the TORCH team works alongside researchers at University of Texas San Antonio and Appalachian State University. By including Caregivers, we hope to find the most appropriate and effective care for Veterans based on their needs.

First, Veterans who have previously participated in one of our studies and their Caregivers will be contacted to complete a baseline survey. Next, participants are encouraged to complete short, daily prompts over the course of 30 days. These prompts will focus on the primary outcome variables in this study: health, including comorbidity, and quality of life. Lastly, the San Antonio team will conduct interviews of a select number of Veterans and Caregivers. The interviews will help identify important elements of caregiving. Using this mixed-method approach, we have the opportunity to improve the lives of Veterans and their Caregivers through the findings of this study.