The Department of Defense has discontinued the use of the advanced brain imaging machines sent to Afghanistan in 2011 for treating servicemembers in combat zones. Military Times reported that the MRI machines were recalled from the front lines in February 2013, and recently dismantled.
The MRI machines were sent to combat zones to provide doctors with the ability to respond more quickly to the traumatic brain injuries that affect troops due to roadside bombs and other blasts, the news source noted. However, a senior medical officer for the U.S. Central Command said it was unclear whether the machines were helping doctors treat these injuries in combat.
"The device itself doesn't necessarily help you treat that patient, it just helps you understand the nature of the injury in a little bit more meaningful way," Air Force Col. Mark Mavity, a Central Command surgeon, told the news outlet. "[It] was deemed not worth the cost and investment to keep those devices in theater."
Nearly 290,000 servicemembers have sustained a traumatic brain injury in either training or combat since 2000, according to the Defense Department. Mild brain injuries are the most common for military personnel.