West Virginia readers who suffer concussions or other mild traumatic brain injuries could increase their chances of developing Parkinson's disease by over 55 percent, according to a new study. The study was recently published in the journal Neurology.
Many West Virginians receive mild traumatic brain injuries every year while playing sports, being involved in motor vehicle accidents, falling or suffering other types of trauma to the head. While these injuries may be characterized as being mild, they can cause lasting impacts for people who suffer from them.
West Virginia readers may have heard that traumatic brain injuries are a serious problem for men, particularly for those who play in the NFL or serve in the U.S. military. However, they may be surprised to learn that very little research has been done on the ways that brain injuries impact women.
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.
According to a recently published study, there could be a link between experiencing a traumatic brain injury and an increased risk for Alzheimer's or dementia. There are about 50 million people who sustain such an injury in West Virginia and throughout the world each year. According to the University of Washington School of Medicine, roughly 47 million people globally have dementia.
Everything from a car accident to a sports-related collision can cause a brain injury. In general, these injuries are classified as either traumatic or acquired for West Virginia patients. Acquired brain injuries can be the result of tumors, strokes, electric shocks or a lack of oxygen to the brain. On the other hand, traumatic brain injury refers to those injuries caused by an external force or impact.
Concussions can be severe and even life-changing for people in West Virginia injured while playing sports, driving a car or going about their business. Concussions and other forms of brain injury can develop after a hard impact to the head; while this fact is well-known, it remains unclear how exactly to prevent concussions or identify particular types of hits that are more likely to lead to serious injury. Researchers have pursued a deeper inquiry into the problem, making use of computer simulations of the human brain and data obtained from observation of football players.
West Virginia residents who have sustained brain injuries in the past should be aware that research has linked concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries to the increased likelihood of the early onset of Alzheimer's disease. This is according to a study that used Alzheimer's disease cases, which were confirmed by autopsies, to assess the lasting impact of head injuries.
West Virginia residents who have suffered a head injury may want to know about a blood test that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and that helps determine whether they need a CT scan. CT scans expose patients to a high level of radiation and should be avoided when possible, so the test comes with definite benefits. However, there are some limitations.
Oxygen therapy could be an interesting source of hope for West Virginians suffering from brain injuries. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are recognized as an effective decompression treatment for scuba divers, but they have become the source of some controversy among doctors and scientists dealing with mild traumatic brain injuries.