The effects of a traumatic brain injury can prove vast and far reaching. From cognitive disorders to emotional difficulties, injury to the brain can touch virtually every aspect of a patient’s life. As suggested in a medical study, this may also include the urge to eat substances that are dangerous to the body and seen by most people as extremely odd.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines Pica as an urge to eat non-food substances, such as laundry detergent or paper. It is reportedly more common in children than in adults, affecting about a third of all minors between the ages of 1 and 5 years old. Some of the most common materials ingested by people with this disorder include:
Dirt or Sand
Flour or Cornstarch
The general explanation given for Pica is a nutrient deficiency within the individual. Insufficient levels of iron or zinc within the body are thought to trigger the condition. Pregnant women may also develop Pica, as do some adults that cannot resist the craving for certain textures in their mouth. As explained by Health Guide Info, brain injuries may also contribute to the development of Pica. The condition is often noted in patients with developmental disorders, as well those who are currently suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
The Brain’s Dopamine System
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced by several areas of the brain. This hormone serves many functions in the brain, including:
Behavior and cognitive abilities
Voluntary movement of muscles
Mood and Attention
Memory and Learning
Some scientists also believe that dopamine affects the understanding of punishment and reward within the brain. As explained on mindisorders.com, “In nature, we learn to repeat behaviors that lead to maximizing rewards. Dopamine is therefore believed to provide a teaching signal to parts of the brain responsible for acquiring new behavior.” Some injuries to the brain may impede the production of dopamine, possibly affecting the punishment and reward cycle that would normally prevent Pica from developing.
Though the science behind this theory is not concrete, it provides another precaution about the possible side effects of a traumatic brain injury. TBI patients and their families are forced to deal with extremely challenging situations, which can take a physical, mental and financial toll. When the injury was caused by the negligence or purposeful actions of another, the responsible party should be held accountable in a court of law. No amount of money will erase the tragedy of a traumatic brain injury, but with the help of a capable attorney, families can get the necessary financial assistance to care for their loved ones.
If you or a loved is suffering with a severe brain injury, contact the experienced attorneys of Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation. These knowledgeable attorneys will aggressively work to secure the compensation to which you are entitled.
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