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Articles Posted in Brain Injury

We frequently write about the causes and consequences associated with traumatic brain injuries. However, not all brain injuries occur as a result of a sudden impact. As cellphones become ubiquitous in numerous parts of the world, medical professionals, safety experts and the public generally are left wondering if these devices can harm the human brain.

Most recently, British researchers announced that they are launching the largest study that the world has ever seen on the subject of whether cellphone use can harm brain development in children. The research project that is currently being launched is called the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP).

Until now, the majority of research focused on cellphone use and potential harm to the human brain has centered on adult brain cancer development. SCAMP aims to determine whether cognitive functions including attention span and memory are impacted by the use of cellphones and other wireless devices in childhood and adolescence.

We frequently write about the causes of brain injury and the side effects that can result from such trauma. We have noted that moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) tend to be extraordinarily expensive to treat and that TBI-related consequences can affect an individual for the rest of his or her life. The subject of TBI tends to be sobering and frustrating as a result.

However, there is hope to be had for victims and their families when scientists and the medical community achieve advancements in their understanding of TBI. For example, when the public understands how TBI occur, concerned individuals can mitigate their risk of sustaining this kind of injury. In addition, when the community understands how to treat TBI more successfully, victims may benefit.

Most recently, the scientific community advanced its understanding of why some individuals sustain TBI while others do not. If two children get hit equally hard during a sports practice, why does one suffer injury while the other does not? The answer to this question may be found in the children’s genetics.

We frequently write about the causes of head trauma. Many traumatic brain injury patients sustain their injuries during falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports collisions and during the birthing process. But no matter how an infant, child or teen sustains a TBI, it is important for parents to understand that this injury may cause consequences well into the future.

Not only can TBI result in learning difficulties and pain, a new study indicates that these injuries place young people at an elevated risk of being bullied and at an elevated risk of attempting suicide during their teen years. Young people who have suffered concussions and more traumatic injuries are both at heightened risk for these frightening scenarios.

The study’s lead author is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. She has concluded that TBI victims are also more likely to be bullies themselves during their adolescence and are generally at an elevated risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors when compared with their non-injured peers. They are also more likely to become runaways and to be prescribed anti-depressant medication.

In 2003, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics released its latest set of guidelines on neonatal encephalopathy. These guidelines concerning newborn brain injuries and disorders focused heavily on determining whether an injured infant suffered any lack of oxygen during the birthing process. Those guidelines had not been updated until earlier this month.

The new guidelines instruct physicians to examine all possible factors and conditions that may have contributed to the development of an infant’s brain injury. The collaborative efforts between these two organizations may lead physicians to better understand infant brain injury and to ultimately prevent infant brain injury in the future.

The chair of the task force that created these new guidelines recently explained that, “Although a significant portion of newborn brain injuries are due to problems around the time of labor and delivery, some cases occur before the pregnant patient even arrives at the hospital and the labor floor.” If physicians continue to focus on oxygen-deprivation issues alone, they may miss valuable information about what causes infant brain injury and how to prevent it.

In recent years, American football has become increasingly difficult for many fans to enjoy due to increased public awareness of how many physical consequences players tend to suffer as a result of the game. In particular, the public, players, the NFL and the NCAA are all concerned about the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) among professional and amateur players alike.

One particularly debilitating condition that can develop as a result of repetitive TBI is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This degenerative condition has affected boxers, hockey players and American football players alike. Unfortunately, it seems that CTE has now been discovered posthumously inside the brain of a 29-year-old former amateur and semi-professional soccer player. According to the New York Times, the portion of the player’s brain that sustained the CTE-related damage is located in the area that soccer players use to head the ball.

A number of studies in recent years have linked soccer players to an increased risk of TBI due to repeated contact between their heads and soccer balls. Heading the ball now seems to be tied to an increased risk of CTE even in relatively young players.

We have previously written about how important it is to prevent brain injuries whenever possible and to properly diagnose and treat those that do occur. Whether they occur as a result of auto accidents, maritime accidents, sports-related collisions or a host of other scenarios, brain injuries may be life-altering and must be treated seriously. A new study conducted by research experts at England’s Oxford University confirms this critical point.

According to this recent study, individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) face a significantly higher rate of premature death than the general population does. According to the study’s lead researcher, “After a traumatic brain injury, patients have a threefold increased risk of dying prematurely.”

This statistic is certainly upsetting. But it is important to understand some deeper truths that this research has revealed. The study’s authors determined that most of the premature deaths suffered by brain injury victims occur as a result of additional brain injury, suicide and assault. In addition, the risk of premature death climbs even high if the patient struggles with a substance abuse and/or psychiatric issue.

When you suffer any kind of injury, your body may be affected by that injury long after you stop experiencing symptoms outwardly. In the case of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), a recent study suggests that the brain may be riddled with abnormalities for months after symptoms have abated. This prognosis holds true even in cases of concussions and other mild brain injuries.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and was recently published in the medical journal Neurology. Its findings are particularly significant given that it helps to confirm that the brain is affected by TBI after symptoms subside. It is also significant in that it suggests that the brain heals in two possibly distinct ways.

The study’s author recently explained that, “These results suggest that there are potentially two different modes of recovery for concussion, with the memory, thinking and behavioral symptoms improving more quickly than the physiological injuries in the brain.” When these kinds of conclusions are drawn, they often inspire other brain researchers to more carefully study the phenomena involved. Those studies can then help to inspire improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of TBI.

Over the past several years, the media has paid an increasing amount of attention to the subject of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI) suffered by professional and amateur athletes. When an individual suffers a brain injury, even if the injury is seemingly mild, he or she can experience consequences for years to come. When athletes repeatedly sustain head injuries, the long-term consequences of this trend can be devastating.

As a result of increased media attention and public scrutiny, a number of concussion and TBI-related studies have been conducted in order to better understand how to prevent, diagnose and treat these injuries. Most recently, the Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth released a study comparing concussion rates among high school and collegiate athletes. This committee is affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences and the study was partially funded by the NFL.

According to the experts who conducted the study, high school athletes remain at a nearly 50 percent higher risk for sustaining concussions than collegiate athletes are. To make matters worse for this age group, the study has determined that both high school and collegiate athletes face a culture of resistance when it comes to both following head injury treatment plans and reporting concussions in the first place.

Adults and children respond to certain kinds of injuries similarly and certain kinds of injuries in very different ways. A study recently completed by scientific experts at Brown University confirms that when children suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI), they become much more likely to suffer depression. This long term side effect was already linked to brain injury and concussion in adults. Physicians, safety experts and parents should now take care to watch for similar symptoms in affected children.

The study’s authors explained their findings broadly when they noted that, “Brain injury remains significantly associated with depression in children despite adjustment for known predictors. This study may enable better prognostication for brain-injured children and facilitate identification of those at high risk of depression.” This conclusion was made in regards to children who have suffered concussions as well as those who have experienced more severe TBIs.

The prevalence of TBI among children has become the subject of much media coverage in recent years. In addition to TBIs sustained in car accidents and in falls, the media has become especially interested in the TBIs that young athletes suffer during contact sports. Increased media attention on this issue has helped to inspire a great deal of research on the issue, including the recent Brown study.

As doctors and scientists learn more about how our brains work and heal after an injury, attempts are continuously being made to find ways to treat serious injuries to the organ such as traumatic brain injuries. These injuries happen to people throughout the nation, including Seattle, Washington, and are the result of many different types of accidents. While some people appear to recover from brain injuries without any lasting effects, others don’t fare as well and in some cases may contend with symptoms for the rest of their lives. Because of this studies of various treatment methods are routinely conducted.

A study recently conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon, explored the use of a hyperbaric chamber to treat those suffering from mild TBI. Symptoms that accompany mild TBI include sensitivity to light, headaches and deficits in one’s ability to problem-solve. The subjects involved in the study were Marines. Each of the 60 participants had mild TBI as a result of injurious incidents that occurred while deployed, such as roadside bombs.

The Marines were split into two groups with one group serving as the control group and the other receiving different levels of pressurized oxygen. The hope was that the inhalation of pressurized oxygen would increase the amount of oxygen in the brain of the injured person, aiding damaged cells. In turn, it was thought that brain function may improve. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be what happened. No difference was recorded between the two groups.

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