Study Suggests Progress in Diagnosis of Invisible Brain Injuries

Personal injury attorneys who represent clients with head injuries must strive to ensure that the client's symptoms are fully identified and documented in consultation with top neurological experts and other medical professionals. The effects of a closed head injury on an individual are not always immediately apparent. The best source of information is often not the client, but rather those who knew the client before and after the accident. These individuals can help identify cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes in an injury victim.

The medical community and the public at large are becoming increasingly aware that even relatively "minor" effects of a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury can have a serious impact on a person's life and career. Furthermore, though it was once believed that the effects of a closed head injury would be resolved in a few months, current studies document that in a small percentage of cases, the symptoms can last for years or even lifetimes for some victims.

New Study Shows Evidence of TBI Due to Head Acceleration

A study published in an past issue of Science Translational Medicine examined the physical evidence of head injuries suffered by U.S. military personnel from violent blasts. Its conclusions could be helpful for neurologists seeking to better understand everything from sports-related concussions to brain injuries caused by car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and even construction accidents.

The authors noted that exposure to blasts can lead to traumatic brain injury, long-term cognitive deficits, and a range of neuropsychiatric symptoms. By examining the brains of mice previously exposed to a simulated blast, the study showed evidence of a neurodegenerative disease that is common for patients who suffered concussions.

Notably, the research showed that head immobilization during blast exposure actually prevented the occurrence of learning deficits and memory loss in the mice. The natural inference is that it is not the shock wave itself that causes harm to soldiers' brains, but rather the rapid head acceleration caused by blast wind.

As brain injury science has long understood, the whiplash forces exerted in a vehicle accident or a devastating NFL tackle can cause serious concussions—despite the lack of any actual blow to the skull. Building on these ideas, scientists are beginning to build a clearer picture of the devastation that a brain injury can cause.