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Brain damage does not always exhibit symptoms

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) cause approximately 50,000 deaths annually and are cited as the reason for 1.5 million emergency room visits each year. The vast majority of these visits result in a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). The symptoms of MTBI include headaches, dizziness, loss of memory and mental fogginess. Current research shows that brain injury can occur even when these symptoms are absent.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine examined the post-mortem brains of teenaged athletes that had sustained mild closed-head injuries. Enough time had passed after their deaths for the head injuries to no longer be considered acute, which was key to their findings. Mice were then used to recreate the type of head trauma that the deceased athletes had sustained. The researchers then documented whether the mice exhibited concussive symptoms to extrapolate whether the teens had experienced the same. Even without showing symptoms of concussion, the mice exhibited degenerative neurological conditions classified as tauopathies. These findings indicate that a blow to the head could cause long-term damage even without the recipient of the blow exhibiting concussion symptoms.

The key takeaway for regular citizens not involved in brain research is that every blow to the head has the potential to cause lasting damage. Sports are a common cause of head injuries, so wearing protective headgear and exercising caution during athletic pursuits is essential for long-term neurological health. Equally important is that someone wears the appropriate headgear on the job and while cycling.

Automobile wrecks often cause blows to the head that accident victims may disregard. In order to hold negligent drivers accountable for their carelessness, victims need to secure the appropriate medical treatment and make sure to document everything. A qualified accident attorney can provide insight about brain injuries and make recommendations to victims concerning insurance claims after being injured in any kind of accident or fall.

Source: International Brain Injury Association, 'Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Were Previously Undiagnosable, and Therefore Treatment Uncertain, and Damages Speculative", Robert Bitonte, Bianca Tribuzio, Kim Hecht, and Donald J. DeSanto

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