ARA Researchers Release Findings on Body Positioning and Blast Exposure

During training and deployment, service members experience blast exposure that can negatively impact brain health in the short and long term.

To help address this impact, a team of researchers at Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) studied service members’ blast exposure and collected exposure data as part of the Combat and Training Queryable Exposure/Event Repository (CONQUER) program.

Using BlackBox Biometrics (B3) Blast Gauge System (BGS), ARA scientists instrumented military trainees and instructors employing breaching charges, shoulder-fired weapons, and a 120mm mortar launcher. Trainees and instructors modified their positions relative to the blast from each and ARA determined the positions that mitigated blast exposure the most effectively.

This important research resulted in the development of training procedures that reduce service member exposure to negative brain health effects by at least 35 percent, and in some cases more than 50 percent. Based on these observations, researchers have suggested new locations and body positioning of service members during training.

The article “Significant Mitigation of Blast Overpressure Exposure During Training by Adjustment of Body Position as Demonstrated With Field Data” was published in the Oxford Academic’s Journal of Military Medicine here.

ARA is the key partner the medical and military communities look in order to achieve leading-edge health solutions, and our team is at the forefront of research into personal protection and traumatic brain injuries. ARA pairs innovation with in-depth knowledge of physical, chemical, physiological, and biological processes to solve complex health problems. Learn more at


Suthee Wiri, PhD, Christina Wagner, PhD, Jasmyne Longwell, BS, Tasha Adams, BS, Joshua Whitty, Todd Massow, James Reid, Cyrus Dunbar, Wallace Graves, Andrea Gonzales, MS, Charles E Needham, MS, Fabio Leonessa, MD, Josh L Duckworth, MD

About ARA

Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) was founded in 1979, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to offer science and engineering research to solve problems of national importance. ARA delivers leading-edge products and innovative solutions for national defense, energy, homeland security, aerospace, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing. With over 2,000 employee-owners at locations in the U.S. and Canada, ARA offers a broad range of technical expertise in defense technologies, civil engineering, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, biomedical engineering, environmental technologies, and blast testing and measurement.