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Institute of Medicine Increases Effort to Study Effects of Brain Trauma

This week the New York Times published a story exploring the latest work by medical professionals to better understand the effects of traumatic brain injuries. As explained, the recent expanded focus on these problems stems in large part from the fact that these wounds are the “signature” injuries suffered by our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The current techniques used to treat these injuries are helpful to some, but almost all current treatments lack actual scientific support. As our Illinois brain accident lawyers shared this week, those findings were reflected this week in a report that was released by the Institute of Medicine at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Experts have called the report the most comprehensive analysis yet into the medical treatments available for brain injury victims. A few of the current methods use to help brain trauma had a bit of scientific support-such as the use of special daily journals to help with memory and similar mental functions. However, the vast majority of other treatments had little to no actual evidence supporting their effectiveness. The goal of the research effort was to create a set of guidelines to help those who are assisting the returning soldiers suffering from such issues. However, researchers on the effort essentially concluded that few reasonable guidelines could even be created, because the overall evidence base was too thin. Even then, some experts claim that the situation is even less clear than the researchers suggest in the report. One professional noted, “I think the panel had a slight bias toward wanting these therapies to work, but at the same time it did not overstate the evidence.”

Currently, the military provides so-called “cognitive rehabilitation” to those returning service members who show signs of head trauma. For many of these victims, they sustained these injuries from nonpenetrating blasts on top of head trauma from bombs or bullets. However, many family members of veterans have criticized the current efforts to support these troops. They claim that even though that 20% of injured service members have suffered head trauma, little has been done to help them deal with the long term ramifications. The problem only seems to be worsening as the number of brain injuries suffered by members of the military have nearly tripled in the past decade to more than 30,000.

If you ask any Illinois brain injury lawyer, they will likely be familiar with the struggles faced by those hoping to recover from this trauma. All too often brain injuries outside of the military context arise from accidents that could have been avoided if those involved had exercised reasonable care. Every year more than 1.7 million Americans suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Car accidents are the leading cause of these injuries. The difficulties in fully recovering from these accidents often make it even more important for families to receive compensation for their losses-because they often last a lifetime. If you or someone you know finds themselves suffering from a brain injury caused by a car accident, childbirth problem, or any other situation, please contact our Chicago injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti to see how we can help.

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