A traumatic brain injury can significantly reduce an individual's quality of life. It can negatively alter a person's cognitive abilities, including memory, decision-making skills and awareness. According to a recent study, those in West Virginia and across the nation who suffer from a traumatic brain injury may benefit from deep brain stimulation.
Minor traumatic brain injuries, commonly referred to as concussions, affect countless West Virginia residents. A concussion occurs when a person's head is injured by a blow or bump that is strong enough to jostle the brain. When a person's brain bumps against the sides of their skull, brain cells are damaged, and the person may experience temporary or permanent brain changes.
Depending on how they were battered or struck, West Virginians who have been in physically abusive relationships may have sustained traumatic brain injuries. Statistics show that around 14 percent of men and 25 percent of women in the U.S. have at some point in their lives been the victims of serious physical assaults. Although the incidence of brain trauma among these survivors often takes a back seat to TBI diagnoses involving military veterans and contact sports players, there is a real risk.
West Virginia patients who suffer a traumatic brain injury may suffer from complications long after the incident occurred. If the injury is severe enough, they may even suffer from a brain tsunami, or sudden seizure-like waves of brain activity that can cause serious damage.
Many West Virginia residents who have been in car accidents or who have played contact sports have incurred traumatic brain injuries. Nationwide, over 2 million emergency room visits are the result of these types of injuries each year. Mild TBIs, which include concussions, are the cause of a large percentage of these trips to the hospital.
West Virginia residents may be surprised to learn that more than just extreme head injuries can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. A recent study of civilian emergency services providers showed that patients who had experienced mild traumatic brain injuries also had an increased risk for PTSD.
West Virginia residents who follow football likely know that doctors have linked playing the sport to degenerative brain diseases like chronic traumatic encephalopathy. There have been numerous reports about a 2015 lawsuit that was filed against the NFL by former players worried about the consequences of repeated head trauma. The NFL settled the suit by agreeing to pay 20,000 players up to $5 million, a figure that has worried many insurance companies.
A study of 43 athletes conducted by a group from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto found that the impact of a concussion may be seen months or years after it occurs. The study looked at the brains of 22 student-athletes who had a concussion and another 21 who had not. Researchers found that the frontal lobes of those who had suffered a concussion was 10 to 20 percent smaller than those who had not had a concussion.
Research published in the medical journal Pediatrics may have an impact on the treatment of brain injuries in West Virginia and across the United States. The researchers, from the University of Washington, estimate that between 1.1 million and 1.9 million children suffer a traumatic brain injury every year during recreation or while playing a sport. Most of the injuries go untreated.
Traumatic brain injury patients in West Virginia and across the country who struggle with memory loss may have new hope in a new drug called PDE4B. Researchers from Tetra Discovery in Boston and the University of Miami are responsible for the findings.