Many West Virginia residents have suffered brain injuries. These can be some of the most devastating types of trauma for both the victim and their loved ones. Faster and more accurate detection of head trauma can help doctors to provide proper treatment and therapies to best assist a patient.
Family members of and people with brain injuries in West Virginia may be aware of two brain injury markers called neurofilament light chain and tau. These two proteins are found in the blood of people who have suffered a brain injury. A recent study found that neurofilament light might be an indicator of acute traumatic brain injury, and tau might be more closely linked to accumulated damage to the brain over time.
West Virginia women who suffer from a traumatic brain injury may be more likely than men with the same injury to also develop neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, funded by the university's Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, found that this is because of the way that TBIs disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a part of the neuroendocrine system.
West Virginians who suffer from brain injuries may be interested in learning about research published in PLOS Computational Biology. According to the study, modeling the networks of connections that characterize brain tissue may help medical researchers gain a better understanding of why different kinds of brain damage impact victims in distinct ways.
Many West Virginia armed forces veterans are aware of the traumatic brain injuries that explosions in war zones can inflict on military personnel. Uniformed Services University researchers have been studying the effect of head trauma on the neuroendocrine system and the differing responses of men and women, and the results will be presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. The findings could improve care for veterans and apply to victims of car accidents and sports injuries too.
West Virginia residents who experience mild traumatic brain injuries might need to see a specialist within six months. Otherwise, some of those people may experience an unfavorable outcome, according to a recent study that examined patients recruited at trauma centers between 2013 and 2015. Unlike most studies of its kind, this one differentiated between patients who were hospitalized and those who were not. This is significant because patients who are hospitalized tend to be more seriously injured. They also have different guidelines for follow-up care. Patients who are not hospitalized are generally only advised to seek recurring care if they have ongoing problems.
If a concussion test that uses saliva to measure the severity of a concussion reaches the market, it might be easier to identify West Virginia children and adolescents who may have lingering symptoms. At present, there is not a test available that identifies those who will suffer from fatigue, nausea and headaches for one to four months although up to 25 percent of children with concussions do. However, researchers at Penn State have developed a saliva test that predicted with 90 percent accuracy which children would have these symptoms over a longer period of time.
A traumatic brain injury can occur when a West Virginia resident suffers a sports injury, becomes involved in a car accident or even falls. These blows to the head can range in severity. Even mild traumatic brain injuries can have serious side effects, though the severity of the brain injury may actually be influenced by a number of factors like the age and health of the person before the injury.
West Virginia residents who have a friend or family member who suffered a traumatic brain injury may know how debilitating it can be. While researchers know that the membranes that protect and separate the brain from the skull play a large role in protecting the brain against sudden impacts and the resulting damage, the details surrounding the mechanisms are still largely unknown.
In West Virginia and across the country, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the cause of about 30 percent of annual injury deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, an estimated 5 million people in the U.S. are disabled due to TBIs. Since the condition is so prevalent, March has been designated "Brain Injury Awareness Month."