Mild brain injuries linked to risk of Parkinson's disease

New study results have concluded that people in West Virginia and across the United States who have previously experienced a brain injury, even a mild brain injury, are at an increased risk of Parkinson's disease. The study looked at veterans who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, and the incidence of later developing Parkinson's disease. The study found that veterans who had experienced a mild brain injury were 56 percent more likely to later receive a Parkinsons's disease diagnosis, while those who had suffered a moderate to severe brain injury were 83 percent more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's.

The study, which was published in the April 2018 edition of Neurology looked at 325,870 veterans. Approximately 50 percent of the study participants had experienced a traumatic brain injury.

Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that occurs when nerve cells break down and stop sending dopamine to the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that is responsible for sending signals to the brain that controls movement. As these nerve cells break down, people with the condition experience tremors, inability to control their movement, difficulty with swallowing and dementia. The disease is progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time, and there is no known cure.

Traumatic brain injuries may occur as a result of playing professional sports, from serving in the military, due to motor vehicle accidents or work accidents. A person who has experienced a traumatic brain injury may be entitled to compensation for medical care, loss of wages and pain and suffering. A lawyer could file a civil suit on behalf of the injured party or family of the injured party. Negligence must be proved in personal injury cases. In this case, a veteran who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease as a result of a traumatic brain injury may be able to file a civil suit. A lawyer may present proof of negligence based on the failed duty of care on part of the United States military.

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