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.
Across the U.S., traumatic brain injuries lead to millions of people visiting the emergency room and being hospitalized, and many of them are suffered by West Virginia residents. They are also a leading cause of death, with children and athletes in contact-related sports being especially at risk. Some of the most common long-term effects of TBIs are impaired thinking and memory, but a study has shown that they could include dementia as well.
Researchers have reported new evidence suggesting that a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) may be the result of head impacts, not just concussions. This knowledge could improve efforts to detect, treat and prevent CTE, a condition commonly associated with athletes involved with high-impact sports like football and military veterans with a history of head trauma. West Virginia residents may have heard that more than 100 NFL players have been diagnosed with the disease, which can only be positively detected after death.
Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of disability and death for people in West Virginia and across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 138 Americans die from a brain injury every day. Meanwhile, many of those who survive their brain injury are left with some sort of disability.
West Virginia residents of course use their eyes to see the world around them. However, vision may also be analyzed to see if people have a number of physical or mental conditions. A product called EyeQ from RightEye may be able to diagnose and help treat those who may experience autism symptoms or who may have a concussion. This is done through a variety of tests such as Sports Vision that are conducted using eye tracking technology.
Traumatic brain injuries are all too common in West Virginia and around the country, especially among children and the elderly. They are caused by external forces like a blow or jolt to the head and can result in everything from headaches to memory loss to mood swings. According to a study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine using mice as subjects, that's not all. TBIs forge a harmful two-way link with the gastrointestinal system.
When people in West Virginia experience blows to the head, the medical community strives to detect and monitor the extent of their brain injuries. The pupillary system within people's eyes presents physicians with a noninvasive method for diagnosing and monitoring mild traumatic brain injuries. Unfortunately, pupillometers that measure minute changes in pupil reactions to light are expensive, and emergency room physicians lack access to a handheld version that could allow brain injuries to be detected as soon as possible.
Undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries may result in severe impairment, particularly if an individual sustains such injuries repeatedly. However, physicians in West Virginia may soon be able to use blood tests to diagnose traumatic brain injuries early enough to prevent lasting damage.
Some of the most serious injuries that West Virginians might suffer in accidents are traumatic brain injuries. While some TBIs may be minor, others are debilitating and cause lifelong disabilities necessitating round-the-clock care.
Concussions are a common occurrence, particularly in sports. However, people in West Virginia who have sustained at least one concussion should know that there may be long-term consequences from the injury. A concussion occurs when the brain is shifted inside of the skull, typically from some force. For example, drivers may receive a concussion when their vehicle is struck from behind and their head jolted in a forward motion from the impact of the collision.