New Study Shows that Concussions Can Cause Persistent Brain Changes
The dangers of brain injuries have become more apparent in recent years, with research revealing that repeated concussions increase the risk of dementia and have a long-term impact on the brain. While most people now know that a blow to the head can be dangerous, some may assume that only a serious brain injury can have a significant impact on your health. The reality, however, is that any blow to the head can have lasting consequences.
Concussions account for around 75 percent of the 1.7 million brain injuries that occur annually, and are most likely to occur in incidents such as motor vehicle collisions, falls, sporting accidents and incidents of assault or violence. A concussion patient may be observed in the hospital briefly and then go home and seem OK, but new studies show that the changes to his brain may actually last much longer than previously believed.
Everyone who suffered a concussion or other brain injury should ensure they know the extent of their injuries when pursuing a claim for compensation after an accident. A Janesville brain injury attorney can help victims to get the money they need for their losses.
Study Shows That Concussions Cause a Lasting Change to the Brain
The medical journal Neurology published the results of recent research into the long-term effects of a concussion. A total of 50 patients who had sustained a head injury were evaluated 14 days after they had initially experienced a concussion. Twenty-six of the patients returned four months later for a follow-up test to see if their brains had returned to normal.
The patients who had experienced a concussion reported that they were still experiencing emotional changes, memory issues and cognitive deficiencies four months after their initial head injury.
Researchers also conducted imaging testing in order to assess whether the lingering symptoms were actually a reflection of abnormalities in the brain’s gray matter, which still persisted although months had passed.
A specialized test called a diffusion MRI was used, which is a test designed to carefully examine the structure and underlying architecture of the test subject’s brain. Diffusion MRIs trace how water molecules and other molecules move through the brains of the subjects, which essentially maps brain functionality.
The results of the diffusion MRI showed that patients who had experienced a concussion had 10 percent higher fractional anisotropy in the gray matter of the brain at the four-month follow up visit.
Researchers were not certain what caused the elevated FA, but speculated that it may have resulted from changes to the structural cells within the brain. If true, this would have serious consequences since it would mean that the brain could be long-term impaired even by one single concussion. Victims who take action and recover compensation after a brain injury need to be aware that they may have lingering symptoms and should let their Janesville brain injury attorney know about any ongoing health problems.
Other possible reasons for the increased FA included lingering fluid accumulation from the concussion, or the after-effects of the healing process. More research is required to determine what the relationship is between the FA and the concussion, and to assess whether there may be other permanent brain changes.
While researchers look for conclusive answers, this new study should alert every concussion victim to the serious and potentially long-term health effects he faces. A Janesville brain injury attorney should be consulted by victims of brain injuries for help in obtaining full compensation for past and future medical treatment, lost income, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Contact the offices of Nowlan & Mouat LLP, today for a consultation regarding your brain injury.
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