Effects of War on the Human Brain

From watching and studying Apocalypse Now I have been made more aware of how war had affected these soldiers mentally. As a group Yazz, Carla, James and I have decided to do some research into how war affects the mentality of soldiers. We had come up with a possible artefact idea which is heavily inspired by these effects.

Since our movie Apocalypse Now clearly exhibits the severe psychological effects of war on soldiers we thought it would be interesting to convey this in our artefact. What better way to convey psychosis than sculpting an exploding brain? Unfortunately we can’t have any explosive devices on campus so we had to settle for detonating only the areas of the human brain which are affected by war… through the use of clay, wire and other things not yet decided upon.

69fe9b95efa2b2e210e328b0824c8680Image Courtesy – pandys.org

Research into the effects of PTSD and T.B.I on the brain

I read an article from The New York Times where they discussed how PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) wasn’t discovered in soldiers until the Vietnam war, despite the fact that hundreds of years before veteran’s had suffered the same disability. Post-war, PTSD was the most commonly diagnosed disorder among soldiers. Traumatic brain injury (T.B.I) is another disorder which was less commonly diagnosed  yet was more dominant in soldiers who suffered mentally post war.

anatomy-of-brainImage Courtesy – headwaycornell.co.uk

When re-watching  Apocalypse Now and thinking into the character progression, we are not told of the back stories in great depth. We are left to assume that they have had many traumatic experiences during the Vietnam war yet we cannot decipher whether the quick decline of their sanity was due to repeated exposure to concussive force, emotional stress or drugs (or even all at once). It is difficult to say which started first.

The frontal lobe is the main area of the brain which deteriorates due to the effects of PTSD/T.B.I. Therefore for our artefact, the main area which will be destroyed/exploding will be the frontal lobe. We may also present bleeding of the brain in our artefact as T.B.I’s can sometimes cause this.

Blast in the Brain

Blasts that occur during war cause great damage in soldiers brains.  The key mechanical factors associated with brain injury include an increase in intracranial pressure and the brains motion relative to the skull. The overpressure from bombs affects the brain immediately upon impact with the skull.

new_blastImage Courtesy : nationalgeographic.com

Broken Connections

The images below shows the breakdown of neural connections in the brain of a civilian victim who suffered from  severe traumatic brain injury. The healthy brain is shown at the top, the affected at the bottom.



Image Courtesy : national geographic.com


War Is Brain-Damaging. (2017). [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/war-is-brain-damaging.html [Accessed 19 Feb. 2017].

Blast Force. (2017). [online] Nationalgeographic.com. Available at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/healing-soldiers/blast-force.html [Accessed 19 Feb. 2017].

About Brain Injury – Headway Cornwall. (2017). [online] Headway Cornwall. Available at: http://headwaycornwall.org.uk/about-brain-injury/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s