The role of inflammation in brain trauma

Brain injuries are a major cause of permanent disability for Washington residents. A serious brain injury may result in a person who was once fully independent requiring long-term care. Even a minor brain injury can cause cognitive problems and depression. A new research paper by researchers at University Of Maryland School Of Medicine cites inflammation as the major cause of long-term damage.

After a serious brain injury, a person is often given a specific diagnosis like chronic traumatic encelphalopathy. Researchers argue that diagnosis of a cause like inflammation, which is usually not taken seriously, may lead to better outcomes because it is a treatable condition.

After a concussion, an inflammation reaction can occur that lasts for months or years after the injury. In cases of repeated injuries, such as those sustained by football players, chronic inflammation can lead to permanent damage. Recent studies suggest that inflammation can be controlled with experimental drugs and controlled exercise programs. Researchers hope that a better understanding of how brain damage occurs will lead to better treatment after injuries. The research suggests that repeated minor injuries can lead to damage that looks very similar to the damage that occurs after moderate or severe injuries, due to inflammation. The inflammation can eventually cause brain cell death.

Serious brain trauma usually requires extensive rehabilitative care, which can result in costly medical bills and permanent disability. While much attention is focused on brain injuries sustained by contact sports participants, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of these types of injuries. A person who receives a brain injury in a car collision that was caused by the negligence of another driver may want to discuss with an attorney the advisability of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist seeking compensation for the damages that have been sustained.