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Not every car crash is life changing. Sometimes you walk away with just a minor concussion. But new research suggests that even this mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) could cause brain damage and should be taken seriously.
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recently released the results of a study comparing patients with mild, moderate, and no TBI. The researchers took scans of the patients’ brains and had them take verbal fluency, thinking, and memory tests. At the time of the injuries, the brain damage was visible on the scans and injured patients scored 25% lower on the tests than their non-injured counterparts.
A year later, nearly half of those with injuries had suffered nerve damage in the white matter of their brains. But their performance on the tests was the same as the healthy people. Andrew Blamire, Ph.D., who wrote the study, explains:
These results show that thinking skills were recovering over time. The areas of brain damage were not as widespread across the brain as previously, but focused in certain areas of the brain, which could indicate that the brain was compensating for the injuries.”
Another study by Emmanuel Lagarde, Ph.D., from Université de Bordeaux in France shows that three months after a mild TBI, 21.2% of head-injured patients showed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Most of these patients had instead been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
What these studies show is that you should take any head injury seriously. Even mild traumatic brain injuries can cause ongoing problems, and could even lead to homelessness. The effects of TBI increase the longer it goes untreated, so be sure to go to your doctor as soon as possible. Also, some forms of mild TBI do not show up on normal brain scans, so be sure to monitor the injury. Watch for dizziness, slurred speech, and other symptoms that could mean the injury was more than a bump on the head.
The brain injury experts at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan, have been representing TBI victims for decades. If you or someone you love suffered a concussion or more serious TBI as a result of an auto accident, contact David Christensen today for a free consultation.