Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be life-altering, causing serious physical, cognitive, emotional, and social injuries – and we are just beginning to understand the long-term impact of head injuries, even relatively “mild” head injuries like concussions. For instance, concussions have been linked to a number of lifelong medical problems, including depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and an increased risk for stroke.
For years, athletes, including football players and hockey players, have accounted for the majority of victims of serious long-term brain injuries caused by concussions. In fact, the NFL recently agreed to pay $765 million to resolve claims made by thousands of former players who have developed dementia or other concussion-related medical problems, and the NCAA and NHL are facing similar lawsuits regarding their role in the perpetuation of concussion-related medical problems of former athletes.
A new study now shows that soldiers who suffer mild brain injuries from blasts experience long-term changes in their brains. According to an article in Health Day, researchers used a special type of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging to evaluate the vets’ head injuries because diagnosing mild brain injuries caused by explosions can be difficult to do using standard CT and MRI scans.
Although the study was small – it studied the brains of 10 American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who had been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries and a comparison group of 10 people without brain injuries – the findings were noteworthy. Researchers found significant differences in brain white matter, which consists largely of signal-carrying nerve fibers, that are linked to attention problems, delayed memory, and reduced psychomotor test scores among the veterans.
According to researchers, the findings suggest that even mild brain injuries caused by an explosion can have long-term effects on the brain.
“This long-term impact on the brain may account for ongoing [mental] and behavioral symptoms in some veterans with a history of blast-related [mild traumatic brain injuries],” said the study’s co-author P. Tyler Roskos, a neuropsychologist and assistant research professor at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Not only does the study show that even mild traumatic brain injuries can have serious, long-term effects, but it also shows that diffusion tensor imaging may be better than standard MRI or CT scans at detecting explosion-related brain injuries, which could help improve diagnosis and treatment for veterans with brain injuries.
At Cogan & Power, P.C., our Chicago head injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the victims of personal injury accidents, including those that result in traumatic brain injuries like concussions. We have the experience and skill to get you the compensation that you need and deserve, including compensation for past and future medical bills, lost income, disability, future care, loss of normal life, and pain and suffering.
Contact the Chicago head injury lawyers at Cogan & Power, P.C. to learn more about the head injury lawsuits.