Study shows mild brain injuries can cause serious damage

Traumatic brain injuries affect millions of people in Alaska and across the country every year. TBIs result in hospitalizations, emergency room visits and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While many studies have looked at severe traumatic brain injuries and how they affect peoples' lives, little research has been done on the impact of mild to moderate brain injuries. People who suffer from mild TBIs, however, make up the majority of traumatic brain injury cases, according to Fox News. More research on mild TBIs is needed to determine just how these injuries influence peoples' cognitive and developmental abilities.

Until recently, mild brain injuries have been difficult to detect using traditional screening devices, such as CT scans and MRIs. Diffusion tenor imaging now allows medical professionals to detect even mild cases of traumatic brain injury. These tests enable researchers to see the cellular structure of the brain's white matter, which should appear orderly and structured in healthy brain tissue. Tissue that has been damaged reflects a different brightness showing medical professionals where trauma has taken place.

The study

A study published in the journal Neurology focused on mild cases of traumatic brain injuries and how they impact peoples' cognitive abilities. Researchers gave participants tests to determine their emotional state, ability to think and the amount of pain they were experiencing. This information paired with DTI scans showed researchers the area of brain damage, as well as how extensive the injury was. Approximately 12 months later, the subjects were re-evaluated and researchers were surprised to find that a number of subjects still showed a significant amount of cognitive damage, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Benefits of early detection

When brain injuries are diagnosed early, people have a better chance at recovery. Various treatments, including occupational, speech, cognitive and physical therapy, have been shown to help people suffering with TBI. When people receive the right type of therapy early on, they often have favorable results.

Identifying the signs of traumatic brain injuries

While mild TBI may be hard to diagnose, accident victims should look for the following symptoms:

  • Headaches that increase in severity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle weakness

People may experience trouble sleeping and changes in mood when suffering from mild TBI as well.

Getting legal assistance

If you have received a traumatic brain injury as a result of another person's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, loss of wages and trauma stemming from your injury. An attorney in Alaska may be able to help you explore your legal rights and options.