Our Chicago brain injury attorneys have long known that traumatic brain injury is among the most devastating of injuries: it can severely damage the victim’s cognitive abilities while simultaneously leaving his personality altered and his emotional state destroyed. Yet many traumatic brain injuries are undiagnosed or undertreated due to the difficulty in finding evidence of these injuries on medical imaging (such as CT scans).
Now, new information is allowing doctors and researchers to better understand the nature of traumatic brain injuries – including how they occur physically, and how they cause the damage they do. Scientists are now learning that these injuries literally crumple the axons in the brain – the component which transmits signals between neurons in the brain. Traumatic brain injuries also gum up the neurons through the formation of strings of proteins known as tau, an effect similar to that in Alzheimer’s disease, and strangle or destroy blood vessels within the brain.
Indeed, once researchers knew what to look for, they found that the effects of a traumatic brain injury are so severe that it looks as though the brain is “eating itself alive.” However, these problems still remain invisible to traditional CT and MRI imaging – the injuries must be viewed with a microscope or, ideally, an electron microscope. These researchers hope that their new knowledge of the physical nature of traumatic brain injury will help to get such injuries properly diagnosed, and to develop new, better treatments.
Left untreated, these effects can lead to the condition colloquially known as “boxer’s dementia,” characterized by decreased judgment, memory loss, uncontrollable temper, aggression, depression, and poor impulse control. And, although the condition is often thought of as linked to older victims, such as retired boxers, the researchers found these effects, amounting to boxer’s dementia from traumatic brain injury, in victims as young as seventeen years of age.
Nor are these effects confined to the victims of a single, severe injury such as an IED blast or a car accident. Recent research has also found similar effects in those who have sustained repeated, but very minor, traumatic brain injuries (minor hits to the head or mild concussions).
Our experienced brain injury attorneys are pleased to see this new wave of research documenting the very physical damage that occurs in a traumatic brain injury. We are confident that this new research will help in diagnosis and treatment – and will also help the victims of traumatic brain injury to convince skeptical jury members that their debilitating, life-devastating injuries are very, very real.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.