Articles Posted in Brain Injury

Many Washington residents may think that a simple bump on the head is not a serious matter, but in some cases, such an accident can result in a subdural hematoma. Older people are particularly vulnerable to these types of injuries. If left untreated, a subdural hematoma can in some cases behave like a brain tumor and lead to impaired functioning and even death.

A subdural hematoma occurs when an injury causes blood to begin pooling around the brain over a period of days and weeks. In most cases, they heal themselves. The brain absorbs the blood and the injured person is never aware of that hematoma. However, this is not always the case. As a person ages, the brain may shrink and pull away from the membrane covering the brain in a way that leaves veins more exposed. A bump can cause those veins to tear.

Subdural hematomas often occur in injuries so minor that people do not initially remember bumping their heads. For example, in one case, a man hit his head in the attic. Weeks later, due to neurological symptoms such as trouble walking and confused thinking, he visited the doctor and ended up in emergency surgery. Another man’s hematoma was discovered after he had headaches and trouble driving.

Washington women who have sustained head injuries may be interested to learn that they could be at increased risk for serious outcomes like concussions. Some reports indicate that even though men’s brain injuries receive heightened attention due to the concussion risks associated with typically-male sports like football, women often suffer these kinds of injuries at greater rates.

Medical experts say that the combination of women’s large brains and relatively smaller necks places them in increased danger of experiencing whiplash, and the ill effects of such brain trauma may last longer than they would in men. One analysis revealed that although a group of male concussion sufferers regained normal brain function in about six weeks after getting hurt, women continued to suffer cognitive issues after the same time frame had passed.

According to researchers, girls who play sports in high school sustain concussions at twice the rate of male athletes at the same level. Potentially further compounding the issue may be the fact that women’s higher estrogen levels can induce heightened neural susceptibility to injury. The director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center also admits that science is behind when it comes to studying the impacts of concussions in women.

Washington patients who suffered concussions should be aware that a report published on Dec. 21 showed that conventional imaging methods detected brain scars in soldiers who have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries. The results ultimately showed that those who suffered brain injuries that were considered to be mild could still lead to long-term damages.

The brain scans were taken at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Researchers discovered that half the participants had white matter, the part of the brain that sends signals to different areas of the body, that showed brain abnormalities. According to a neuroradiologist at the medical center, the results undermined the conventional medical thought that those who suffered a traumatic brain injury would have brain scans that do not show abnormalities.

Researchers used an advanced MRI to detect the abnormalities as CT scans and regular MRIs often do not show scarring. Although the abnormalities have been detected, the researchers were not sure of the medical significance. Essentially, the scans show that the brain suffered damage in that particular area and the scar was left after the body attempted to repair the damage.

Boys in Washington and across the nation who participate in contact sports could be at an increased risk for developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, later in life. A new study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that almost one-third of men who had played contact sports as children showed signs of CTE. Meanwhile, none of the men in the study who had not played contact sports as children had CTE.

CTE is a degenerative brain disorder that can only be diagnosed posthumously, so the study relied on research that was conducted using donated brains. Researchers studied the brains of males who had played contact sports such as football, basketball, baseball, boxing, wrestling and rugby. The author of the study said that the frequency with which CTE was identified in former athletes was surprising.

The report, which was published in the December edition of Acta Neuropathological, analyzed 66 men who had played contact sports in their youth. CTE was identified in 32 percent of these men while signs of CTE were not found in any of the 198 brains from people who hadn’t played any contact sports in their youth. The leader of the research team said that CTE awareness could help to make contact sports safer.

People in Washington may want to learn about an exciting new study out of Finland that demonstrates even elderly patients may be helped by surgery following a traumatic brain injury. Historically, when elderly people suffered such an injury, nothing was done due to their age and the fact that they could die from such surgery.

Now, people are getting older and enjoying a longer life span. Researchers with the Helsinki University Hospital Department of Neurosurgery decided to study the effects of surgical treatment for people at or over the age of 75 who had suffered a traumatic brain injury.

While none of the patients who were unconscious when brought to the hospital remained alive after one year, those who were conscious and who underwent the corrective surgery recovered, according to the researchers. Those who recovered then reportedly enjoyed similar life spans as did their peers. One of the study’s authors indicated that he believes the results demonstrate that deciding against surgical intervention for TBI should not be a decision made only on the basis of age. While the study was small, the author indicated that it did demonstrate that elderly patients could potentially benefit from surgery when they have suffered a TBI.

A new discovery in medical research could help patients in Washington with traumatic brain injuries. Researchers from the University of Maryland and the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System have found a way to deliver stem cells to injured areas of the brain using a magnetic field. Although the method has only been tested on rats, researchers believe magnetic cell targeting is very promising.

Previously, medical researchers had been attempting to treat traumatic brain injuries using stem cell therapy without magnets. The problems they had using stem cell therapy on the central nervous system was that the stem cells did not always reach the injured parts of the brain, and there was a risk of intracranial hemorrhage.

Researchers are now labeling human neural progenitor cells with iron-oxide nanoparticles and using a magnetic field to guide them towards injury sites in the brain. The magnetic field allows scientists to specifically target the areas that they want the stem cells to go towards. There are still a lot of important questions that haven’t been answered in the research. Scientists do not know what will happen to the stem cells once the magnetic field is removed, and they do not know what effect stronger magnetic fields could have on the stem cells.

Washington high schools may include cheerleading as an option for extra-curricular activity. In addition to providing opportunities for developing relationships while participating in demanding physical activity, this sport may also be an excellent source of scholarship opportunities for talented individuals. However, the competitive nature of the sport may create situations in which team members are encouraged or expected to take unnecessary risks as they attempt stunts that are dangerous. These situations can result in serious injuries for those who are not comfortable or well-prepared. Brain injury is one of the most serious potential outcomes, and it is important for those participating as well as those overseeing to be aware of concussion protocol.

One of the main reasons for greater risk of serious brain injury is the fact that many routines involve the use of flyers. One flyer works with three supporting individuals, two acting as bases to support the flyer with the third supporting the two bases from behind. If any of these individuals loses focus or errs, one or all could be hurt. Dropping a flyer could result in that person suffering broken bones, bruises, or injury to the spine or head. A flyer falling on the supporting individuals could also lead to head injuries or other negative outcomes.

Cheerleaders should be their own advocate to ensure that they aren’t placed in jeopardy through the performance of a stunt with which they are uncomfortable. Additionally, it is important to speak up if an injury has occurred, especially a blow to the head. Ignoring concussion protocol could lead to more serious consequences in a future incident.

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.

Some Seattle Seahawks fans have heard about a recent study released by PBS concerning degenerative brain disease in football players. The study shows that 96 percent of the deceased players whose brains were studied suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy during their lifetimes. The results could serve to heighten concerns about the well-being of currently active players.

Obtaining samples to test for CTE is complicated by the fact that it can only be conclusively diagnosed after death. Players themselves, suspecting they suffer from CTE, are often the ones to donate their brains for posthumous diagnosis. In addition to the NFL players tested, the study also found signs of serious brain injury in 79 percent of athletes at all levels of football, including high school and college-age players, who were studied.

According to the director of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System, the results are unsurprising given the evidence that links football play to brain traumas. Some players, citing health concerns related to CTE, are reported to have declined lucrative contracts from the NFL, and the NFL itself has already agreed to settle for $765 million with families of players with CTE claims. NFL representatives say that they are committed to making the sport safer for players.

Many people in Washington suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year. The World Health Organization predicts that TBI will become the third most common disease or disability in the world within the next five years. Recent research results suggest that there may be a connection between TBI and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The study was based on a survey of about 4,000 adults in Canada. Among the participants with a history of TBI, almost 6 percent had previously been diagnosed with ADHD, and approximately 7 percent screened positive for ADHD during the survey. Participants with TBI were found to be twice as likely to report ADHD diagnosis or symptoms as those without TBI.

Although the survey found a link between TBI and ADHD, the causal relationship is not clear. Some experts have suggested that TBI produces psycho-neurological effects that increase the chances of developing ADHD. Others believe that ADHD makes an individual more susceptible to a fall or injury resulting in a TBI. Further research is required to understand the exact nature of the link between ADHD and TBI.