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Long-term effects of brain injury part of a chain reaction

Recovering adequate compensation for an injured person through a civil lawsuit is not always a straightforward or easy task. There is much to be considered when trying to determine how much the victim will need to cover medical expenses, loss of earnings or future medical care and assistance. When a traumatic brain injury is involved, the process deserves even more attention and expertise.

For those in Ohio who have been affected by a traumatic brain injury, either personally or through friends or relatives, they understand the complications of the injury. Brain injuries are not always readily apparent following an accident. Symptoms may be subtle and only exhibited through changes in mood or behavior. Sleep-wake disturbances are often a side effect of concussions, making it difficult for victims to sleep. This lack of sleep can cause major problems in work, school and regular social interactions.

The effect of a brain injury can often be long-lasting. Many people who experience a head trauma may suffer neurological symptoms for the rest of their lives. A recent study published in the journal Radiology helps to explain the longevity of the injury. Researchers discovered that white matter damage in concussion victims' brains was similar to white matter damage in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

The data suggests that the "hit" that causes a concussion triggers a chain of events in the brain that can result in long-term damage. Of the 1.7 million people in the U.S. who are affected by concussions each year, roughly 15 percent suffer long-term symptoms of neurological damage.

Researchers in this study looked at different types of concussion victims and used diffusion tensor imaging, a subset of the MRI test and looked solely at the white matter in the brain to find areas of damage. From what they can see, hitting the head doesn't cause the most damage; instead it's the damage that occurs afterwards which is most destructive. If doctors can figure out how to prevent the chain reaction, then many of the long-term consequences of brain injury could be a thing of the past.

Source: Fox News, "Concussions cause brain abnormalities similar to Alzheimer's, study shows," Amanda Woerner, June 18, 2013

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