Head Injury Victims & the Risks of Concussions

A concussion is generally defined as a temporary disruption to the normal function of the brain. The Mayo Clinic indicates that the top causes of this disruption are car accidents; falls; and violence, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that concussions account for as many as 75 percent of the 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries experienced within the United States each year.

This data means that a lot of people are experiencing concussions, in many cases because of preventable accidents that are caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. Personal injury attorneys in South Carolina can represent victims of accidents who suffer a concussion and help them to obtain monetary compensation for the damage they experienced. However, it is necessary to understand the full impact of a head injury when seeking compensation.  A new study published in the journal Neurology provides new information for head injury victims that helps to make the far-reaching consequences of a concussion more clear.

A Concussion Can Have a Long-Term Impact on the Brain

The new study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of New Mexico, has revealed that a person who experienced a concussion as a result of head trauma has 10 percent more fractional anisotropy in the brain’s grey matter as a person who did not experience a concussion. This increase in FA was present four months after the initial trauma occurred, which suggests that the brain experiences a long-term change because of the disruption caused by a concussion.

The increase in FA was detected using a special type of medical test called a diffusion MRI.  Regular MRI’s and even CT-scans likely would not demonstrate this change to the prefrontal cortex. The difference shows up in the diffusion MRI because a diffusion MRI traces molecules including water as the molecules move through the brain. This paints a clearer picture of the structure and the architecture of the human brain.

While the diffusion MRI showed the increase in FA, the researchers were not able to specifically determine the cause. One of the potential explanations given was that the brain was in the process of healing still, even though months had passed since the trauma initially occurred. Another possible explanation was that the fluid that built up in the brain from the concussion had not yet fully dissipated at this time. Another troubling explanation was the possibility that there were changes to the structural cells of the brain.

Whatever the explanation, the victim of the concussion experienced more symptoms than just a slight change in FA in the brain’s grey matter. The researchers administered the diffusion MRIs at 14 days after the concussion and again at four months after the trauma. At the same time as the MRIs were administered, the researchers also gave behavioral tests both to the 26 concussion victims and to 26 healthy test subjects. Those who had experienced the head trauma and suffered the concussion performed slightly worse both in measuring memory and cognitive function.

This evidence indicates that a concussion does damage to the brain that lasts for a long time. Victims of head injuries caused by falls, car accidents and other incidents of negligence need to be aware of the potential long-term implications of their injuries so they can seek appropriate compensation.

McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC serves clients throughout South Carolina. Call (888)572-3800 today to schedule a free consultation.