When trauma affects the brain, the consequences can range from a temporary concussion to a lifetime of physical disabilities and neurological complications. While the prevalence of sports concussions is commonly reported in the news, researchers are also focusing on the long term affects of a traumatic injury on the brain. MedicineNet is reporting about a recent study, which suggests that premature aging of the brain is consequence of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The British study reportedly found that severely traumatized brains showed structural changes similar to those found in healthy older brains.
The Study Details
According to the report, study researchers examined the brain scans of 99 patients, suffering from TBIs. The causes of injury included automobile accidents, falls and physical assaults. The time of initial injury ranged from one month to more than 40 years, and each of the participants reported persistent neurological complications, even years later. The brain scans were then compared to scans taken from individuals with no history of TBI.
Through the use a computer model, researchers were reportedly able to measure the white and gray matter of the brain, which assists in the determination of the brain’s age. It was reportedly determined that the injured brains presented five years older than their physical age. This study supports the widely recognized theory that TBIs lead to the development of brain injuries that are generally related to age, such as dementia and Alzheimers.
Dr. James Cole, of Imperial College London, was the study leader. He is quoted in the article as stating, “Traumatic brain injury is not a static event. It can set off secondary processes, possibly related to inflammation, that can cause more damage in the brain for years afterwards, and may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.”
According to the National Institute of Health, the loss of brain function is generally referred to as cerebral atrophy. It occurs with the loss of neurons and the connections that are supposed to occur between them. There are two ways in which it presents itself:
Generalized – The entire brain has shrunk in size
Localized – Only sections of the brain are affected, resulting in individualized complications related to that specific area of the brain
Researchers believe that the study’s computer model will provide physicians with a tool to determine which TBI patients are at the greatest risk of developing long term neurological complications. This is an important development for patients who suffer TBIs at the hands of another. By utilizing this strategy, victims may be better able to determine the long term financial burdens of their injury. With the help of a capable attorney, this information will translate into a meaningful and fair compensation amount.
If you or a loved is suffering with a severe brain injury at the hands of another, contact legal professionals for help today.
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