Exploring a link between genetics and predisposition to TBI

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.

Recent research indicates that an individual’s genetic makeup may make that person more or less predisposed to suffering head trauma. A clinical psychiatry professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine recently explained that, “Until now, all the attention has been paid to how hard and how often you get hit. No doubt that’s important. But it’s also becoming clear that’s it’s probably an interaction between the injury and the genetics of the person being injured.”

As this research progresses, the scientific and medical communities may be able to more effectively prevent, diagnose and treat TBI. Although it may be frustrating to learn that we are more or less predisposed to suffering TBI, the advancement of this understanding may help individuals either avoid TBI or be treated for their TBI-related symptoms more effectively.

Source: Washington Post, “Finding a link between genes and brain injury: Are some people predisposed to trauma?,” Eric Niiler, May 5, 2014

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