Study focused on mild TBI uncovers hidden dangers

A study shows that mild traumatic brain injuries may not fully heal and could lead to significant and sometimes permanent cognitive damage.

Traumatic brain injuries affect a surprisingly number of people in Kentucky and across the United States every year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 30 percent of injury fatalities in the country involve traumatic brain injury. Those who are fortunate enough to survive a traumatic brain injury, however, may suffer long-term cognitive damage. While many studies focus on moderate to severe brain injuries, less research has been performed on mild brain trauma and the effect it can have on a person's life.

Detecting mild brain injuries

One reason why mild brain injuries have remained such a mystery is that traditional screening tests, including MRIs and CT scans often fail to show areas of mild damage. This is especially true when the injury occurs in the white matter of the brain. Diffusion tensor imaging, on the other hand, is able to find damaged tissue in the brain's white area using variances in brightness. Medical professionals are able to pinpoint areas in the brain that show a different brightness on the DTI scan. They are then able to customize a treatment plan that focuses on the injured area of the brain, as well as the severity of the damage.

The study

A study published in Neurology found that mild trauma found in brain tissue can cause long-term, and even permanent damage to brain cells. Using DTI, researchers studied patients that had mild brain damage in the white areas of their brain. These patients also showed impaired cognitive function on several levels, including their ability to speak, write and understand language. Approximately one year following the initial assessment, the study participants were revaluated. Researchers found that although some patients' injuries had shown improvement in that period of time, other patients continued to suffer from significant cellular damage and still experienced cognitive deficits. In cases of brain trauma, the neurons may restructure or rewire in order to compensate for the damage. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, the more restructuring that takes place, the longer it takes for people to complete tasks

Living with brain damage

If you have received a traumatic brain injury as a result of another person's negligent actions, you may feel overwhelmed. You may be faced with excessive medical expenses, emotional trauma and the physical pain of your injuries. Maybe you are unable to return to work because of your injury. An attorney in Kentucky may be able to answer your questions regarding financial compensation and your legal options.