Articles Tagged with symptoms

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 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.

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.

When military personnel, athletes and accident victims are knocked around as a result of blast force or impact trauma, the consequences can be devastating. Americans now understand that even relatively minor accidents can lead to both traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and lasting brain damage generally. However, the military, the sports world and the medical industry are only now beginning to understand just how long-term TBI symptoms develop and may be treated.

Not so long ago, it was thought that only major accidents could result in TBI. However, the public is increasingly being educated on the fact that multiple minor traumas and repeated hits can also lead to many long-term effects of TBI. Brain experts within the medical community, the sports world and the military are continually finding ways to explore the phenomenon of TBI development with an aim of better preventing, diagnosing and treating these injuries.

Recent efforts by the military focus on the intersection of TBI and concussive blasts. In particular, experts are curious about the ways in which TBI develops in response to concussive blasts. Much like the sports world, the military has long-approached TBI as an issue primarily contained to major accidents and trauma. However, evidence suggests that exposure to multiple concussive blasts over time can lead to TBI development in many cases.

A study recently published in the journal Neurology suggests that certain kinds of head trauma mirrors the kind of grey matter changes which occur in the early stages of Alzheimer’s development. Whether this parallel means that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) cause Alzheimer’s or simply alter the brain in similar ways has yet to be determined.

Experts at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine studied this potential link between TBI and Alzheimer’s and created the piece published in Neurology. Their work will almost certainly inspire future studies that could ultimately impact the ways in which medical professionals diagnose, treat and prevent both TBI and Alzheimer’s. These developments could, in turn, dramatically impact the lives of accident victims and Alzheimer’s patients.

The study’s lead author recently explained why the discovery of this potential link is so critical. He noted that, “Traditionally, it has been believed that patients with mild TBI have symptoms because of abnormalities secondary to direct injury. Our preliminary findings suggest that the initial traumatic event that caused the concussion acts as a trigger for a sequence of degenerative changes in the brain that result in patient symptoms and that may be potentially prevented.”