Of the many severe injuries that car and truck accident victims can suffer, brain injuries can be the most difficult to properly diagnose. Accident victims who have suffered head trauma frequently consult with a personal injury lawyer to help them pursue compensation that will meet their long term medical expenses and other damages.
A recent brain injury study published in the Journal of Neuroscience further explores the connections that medical experts have identified between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Alzheimer’s disease. The authors cite compelling evidence that a single occurrence of TBI can trigger brain chemistry changes associated with the development of senility, dementia, memory loss and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
The neurologists based their study on changes that occurred in the brains of mice within two days of a single TBI episode, as well as analysis of samples of brain tissue from autopsies of known Alzheimer’s patients. The study detected a reduction in the level of two intracellular brain proteins in the mice as well as an increase in a particular enzyme, two chemical factors that were also present in the Alzheimer patients.
The presence of these proteins helps the brain maintain normal function, and the authors hope that their research will lead to drug therapies that can delay the development of Alzehimer’s. In the aftermath of any head injury, thorough assessment of the injury victim’s condition is vital to detect TBI symptoms and properly monitor the patient’s progress.
Traumatic Brain Injury: What Are the Symptoms?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides detailed information about the extent of TBI in the U.S. Based on data from emergency room visits, hospitalization and fatalities, an average of 1.7 million Americans suffer TBI in a given year.
TBI is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including changes in mental status, unconsciousness and amnesia. While the word “traumatic” suggests a serious blow or penetrating head injury, TBI can also result from minor blows, bumps or jolts. Brain injury specialists designate TBI from mild to severe based on the extent of the symptoms, not the violence of the injury.
Concussions are one of the most common forms of TBI, and they can result from forces that make the head move rapidly with no actual blow the head. While significant progress in concussion awareness has taken place in recent years, injury victims, caregivers and family members should be on the watch for headaches, dizziness, irritability, balance problems or a lack of clear thinking after a car accident, athletic injury or other trauma.
Helping Injury Victims Seek Compensation for Head Injuries
One potential pitfall for brain injury victims is settling an injury claim with an insurance company or other party before the extent of medical harm is fully understood. A person who believes they suffered only temporary symptoms may find weeks or months later that lack of concentration, headaches or fatigue has limited their ability to remain employed or lead life as before.
Every type of personal injury has the potential to cause lasting harm to the brain, not just bike accidents, car accidents, diving accidents or industrial accidents. Research linking a single head trauma to the long term potential of developing Alzheimer’s is one more very good reason for injury victims to ensure that they receive a comprehensive medical diagnosis.
A brain injury lawyer can help clients explore their options for adequate medical care and document the full extent of the loss of function they have suffered. Hope for significant treatment progress in coming years is a cause for optimism.