Traumatic brain injuries affect more than one million Americans every year. The causes may vary from car accidents, falls and sporting injuries. However, when a brain injury occurs, the after effects are often serous. Some individuals die because of the trauma, while others live with a lifelong disability with by communication, movement, emotion, sensation, and thinking difficulties.
Brain injuries are damaging because they cause swelling and bleeding in the brain that does damage to neurological connections that transmit important information. Even after the swelling goes down, patients may suffer from permanent disability.
Because the brain is the body’s most complicated organ, treatments are difficult to standardize. While there are currently no universally approved therapies, recent research has provided various methods that can help ward off some of the complications caused by a traumatic brain injury. MRIs and CT scans let doctors take a photograph of the brain and allow them to see the damage more clearly. This allows them to act quickly in order to save patients from life-threatening complications.
Other imaging tests allow physicians to see if there is any swelling or fluid accumulation around the brain tissue. Swelling in the brain is a serious concern. The hard structure of the skull means there is no place for the swelling to expand. The work of researchers has developed treatments like hyperventilation and mannitol to draw fluid and swelling away from the injured area and to reduce the damage caused by swelling. Research has also shown us that when these methods do not work, certain drugs can slow brain function in the injured area so that brain connections are less likely to be damaged.
Research testing on transplanted neural stem cells will show if the method can improve healing after a brain injury. Researchers believe that these cells may help to repair the injured brain and help to restore the damaged abilities. They hope to learn if the neural stem cells can survive in the post-injury brain, where the balance of natural brain chemicals is altered by the injury. Because the post-injury brain is a different chemical environment, researchers worry that stems cells may not be able to function well.
Hope for the Future
Each time the brain is injured, the consequences can be more severe. Researchers are investigating the effects of introducing fresh nerve cells in the hopes that these cells can help rebuild the brain circuits to a pre-injury state. If the neural stem cells prove they can repair damaged circuits and transform into the types of cells that the brain needs, they might protect the brain from the long-term problems caused by multiple head injuries.
If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic brain injury and is suffering from disability as a result, contact our attorneys. We will provide you with a free consultation and help you to learn about compensation for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.