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Mild Traumatic Brain Injury; Common And Not Mild At All

Mild TBI is a medical industry term used to describe less serious injuries to the brain. Now, it’s common sense that any injury to the brain is serious, but the use of terms like mild TBI can be misleading to those suffering from this type of brain injury. Especially since researchers have recently learned that these injuries can be very serious, have lasting effects, and occur much more prevalently than originally thought. Thus, the term “mild” can be troubling to a brain injury attorney like myself when presenting a case to an insurance carrier for settlement purposes or to a jury at trial.

Something as innocent as a common sports concussion can be very dangerous. Athletes the world over are being sidelined with post-concussive syndrome after seemingly innocuous hits. In February, Mayo Clinic Researchers began studying the rate of occurrence of brain injury and closed head trauma amongst different demographics.  They ran into a problem; concussions and brain injuries often present varying symptoms. TBI can affect sensory and motor functions, awareness, logic and reasoning ability, emotions, sleeping patterns, communication, and even basic thinking. Or TBI can affect none of those things. This problem is why so many cases of brain injuries get overlooked. Using a new method for recognizing likely symptoms of TBI, the Mayo researchers poured over decades of records and discovered that Traumatic Brain Injuries occur in patients over 60 percent more frequently than is diagnosed.

The reason that is so frightening was made clear by researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine this month. By studying abnormalities in the brain of patients who had suffered TBI in the past, medical scientists have found life-long lasting effects of mild TBI. It’s been long known that brain trauma can have a lasting effect on those unfortunate enough to suffer it. Cognitive processes can be permanently damaged; and symptoms such as debilitating headaches, Confusion, PTSD, and severe emotional issues can persist indefinitely.  The VCU study published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience is the first look into the physiology of these lasting effects.

The study showed that even mild brain trauma can cause structural interference with axons inside the brain. Mild TBI also sometimes changes the way that neurons (the electrical center of a nerve) fire in parts of the brain that haven’t even suffered the physical trauma. This displays the brain’s attempt to adjust its function as a result of the damage almost like the brain using a crutch. This affects the overall function of the brain and might be the reason for the lasting symptoms and problems associated with traumatic brain injuries.

If you or a loved one has sustained a closed head injury as a result of the negligence of another, please call the injury law attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation and case evaluation at: (727) 451-6900