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A car accident occurs every minute of every day. And brain injuries are one of the most common aftermaths of these accidents. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need immediate medical checkup to rule out any injuries to your brain.
More importantly, it’s critical that you determine the type and severity of the damage, if brain injury is detected. This will help your doctor swiftly prescribe the right course of treatment as well as help your attorneys in demanding a fair compensation for damages. The brain injuries are broadly classified into five categories;
A concussion is damage to the brain resulting from a direct blow to the head. It’s especially common in whiplash accidents. It can occur in open or closed head injuries. The most important thing to note is that patients rarely show symptoms and even if symptoms are present, they may not be severe. This makes it very important to hire a brain injury lawyer so detailed scans can be done to establish severity of damage. If scans aren’t done, it may appear like you didn’t suffer a brain injury.
A contusion is also an injury to the brain caused by a direct blow to the head. In car accidents, it can occur if the driver hits his or her head on the steering wheel or against the window. The main difference between contusions and concussions is that in concussions, internal bleeding is very rare while with contusions, blooding is always present and can be severe. While it’s not usually the first option on the list, surgery is sometimes required to treat a contusion.
Coup-contrecoups are essentially contusions, the only difference being that here, the impact causes damage at both ends of the brain. For instance, if the original impact was situated at the front of the head, a similar impact would be detected at the exact opposite location at the back of the head. This normally occurs when the impact is large enough to cause damage at the site of impact as well as to move the brain at the opposite end of the head.
Diffuse axonal injuries are mostly caused by shaking or a strong rotation of the head. Injury occurs because a sudden movement of the head often leaves the brain lagging behind. When the brain lags behind, the muscles attaching the brain to the skull can be torn. Often, extensive tearing of nerve tissue will be detected throughout the brain, potentially resulting in small masses of brain tissue being released which can cause additional injury.
Finally, a penetration injury is where a foreign object forces its way into the brain. Of brain injuries, this is the deadiest. Fatality rates are as high as 90%. The good news is that penetration injuries aren’t as common in car accidents as they are in violent acts of crime such as shootings and stabbings.
If you’re injured in a car accident, make sure that you get immediate medical attention and necessary scans to rule out brain injury. Even if there are no visible symptoms, it’s in your best interest to get the scans anyway for peace of mind.
On an increasing basis, clinicians have embraced the use of neuroimaging techniques to detect traumatic brain injury (TBI) and mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), and as the detection methods improve for MTBI, personal injury attorneys may find a wealth of data with which to help their clients in seeking restitution for injuries related to negligence.
MTBI, sometimes referred to as concussion, results from external impact or other forces that involve the head. Other causes can include shock waves from large explosions, as encountered in the military, yet the most common origins of MTBI stem from motor vehicle accidents, head injuries during falls, sports-related injuries and physical violence. Physically, the accident jolts the head forwards and backwards or side-to-side, and the acceleration and deceleration resulting from the impact causes the brain to hit against the skull.
Over 1.7 million people in the United States suffer from TBI annually. However, the cases of MBTI may go underreported because victims with mild cases frequently seek out their private physician rather than seek treatment in a hospital emergency room, which may be more inclined to order neuroimaging tests to determine the extent of the injuries. Fortunately, approximately 80 percent of TBI cases are mild with recovery periods within days to weeks.
However, a significant minority will develop post-concussive symptoms that can continue for months and years. In some cases, MBTI may lead to more extensive disability thus disrupting a victim’s ability to work.
Neuroimaging in Detecting MBTI
As recognition of MBTI has increased, the diagnostic frameworks have improved. Generally, 80 to 90 percent of MBTI patients have positive prognoses, yet that means approximately 10 to 20 percent continue to suffer with a range of persistent cognitive, physical and emotional symptoms. For MBTI, detecting brain alterations is more difficult than moderate to severe TBI, and clinicians have increasingly relied upon diffusion imaging to discern diffuse axonal damage. The literature discussing investigations into this phenomenon present two hypotheses regarding the causative factors: neurogenic or psychogenic. As neuroimaging has made inroads into the diagnosis, the neurogenic causative factors have gained a hold.
Thus, obtaining a conclusive diagnosis or more accurate data regarding MBTI in a victim represents a critical element of a personal injury legal action. Generally, conventional testing using computed axial tomography scans (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has not resulting in differentiating diagnoses from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Therefore, the current objective is to diagnose MBTI through the utilization of more sophisticated tools, such as diffusion tensor imaging, which can detect damage to brain’s white matter, which functions as the pathways that connect neurons. Diffuse axonal injury is the most common injury in MBTI, and these innovative techniques are gaining importance in evaluating subtle changes to the brain that traditional methods miss.
Victims suffering from MBTI experience a range of symptoms that may be different for each individual. These fall into categories including cognitive, physical, behavioral and emotional symptoms. Cognitive symptoms may include lack of concentration, inattention, an inability to focus and difficulties making decisions. Physical symptoms can include headaches, hearing problems, blurred vision, changes in smell or taste, sensitivity to light, a persistent feeling of lethargy, sleep disturbances, dizziness or vertigo. In addition, emotional symptoms can result in irritability, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression and getting easily frustrated by small matters.
Most symptoms will resolve within three months; however, for the significant minority of victims in which the symptoms continue unabated, having the neuroimaging data from sophisticated testing not only lends credence to the reality of the pain, but also evidence of real trauma that directly changes their lives. Moreover, Oregon personal injury attorneys may have clients describing feelings of being in a fog, an inability to think on one’s feet or difficulties in concentrating. These attorneys may well serve their clients well by suggesting investigational neuroimaging when MBTI is indicated.
NFL stars Steve Weatherford and Sidney Rice say they will donate their brains for medical research after their deaths.
New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford and former Seattle Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice want to support studies into brain injuries.
Many former players in the sport suffer degenerative brain disease.
“There are a lot of issues that stem from brain injuries and it’s not just professional athletes. This affects everybody,” Steve Weatherford said.
Sidney Rice won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks last year before retiring – at the age of 27 – over fears for his long-term health after absorbing so many blows to the head.
Both players said they hoped their commitment could persuade others to support research into brain injuries.
About 4,500 former players are suing the National Football League (NFL) over head injuries suffered during their careers. They are close to a settlement worth about $1 billion.
“A lot of my team-mates and a lot of close friends have dealt with concussions and the depression that comes with that,” said Steve Weatherford.
Steve Weatherford and Sidney Rice made a joint announcement to coincide with Brain Injury Awareness Month in the US.
Sidney Rice estimates he suffered between 15 and 20 concussions playing American Football from the age of eight.
“I had my fair share of fun in the NFL,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t educated enough on what concussions can lead to. The brain studies by the doctors will be huge to help, maybe prevent.”
Tracy Morgan is “fighting to get better” but may not recover from the brain injury he suffered in a car accident in June, his lawyer has said.
“If there’s a chance for him to be back to the Tracy Morgan he once was, he’s going to try to do that,” said Benedict Morelli.
“But we just don’t know.”
The 30 Rock comic is seeking compensation from retail giant Walmart after one of its trucks crashed into his limousine bus.
Fellow comedian James McNair died in the June 7 crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Former Saturday Night Live star Tracy Morgan, 46, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident, in addition to a broken leg, nose and ribs.
The update on his condition came as lawyers met in New Jersey to agree on a schedule for Tracy Morgan’s legal action against Walmart.
Tracy Morgan spent several weeks in a hospital and in rehab and is “just not better” according to his attorney.
“We’re hoping and praying to get him back to where he was,” said Benedict Morelli.
“But the jury’s out.”
Truck driver Kevin Roper, who is not named in Tracy Morgan’s action, has been charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.
Walmart are contending that Tracy Morgan’s injuries and James McNair’s death were partly their own fault because they were not wearing seatbelts.
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A new research suggests that cooling babies deprived of oxygen at birth improves their chances of growing up without disabilities such as cerebral palsy.
The study, published in New England Journal of Medicine, showed newborns given the treatment were more likely to have higher IQs at school age.
Babies were placed on a special mat and cooled at 33C for three days to help reduce brain injury.
Experts say the study confirms the therapy has long-lasting effects.
It can set off a cascade of processes in the body resulting in the gradual death of brain cells, leaving babies at risk of brain damage and even death.
Until recently there has been no approved treatment to help reduce the aftershocks of low oxygen at birth.
Cooling babies deprived of oxygen at birth improves their chances of growing up without disabilities such as cerebral palsy
However, a 2009 study of more than 300 newborns showed cooling treatment – known as therapeutic hypothermia – could help reduce brain damage at 18 months.
Researchers think the therapy works by slowing the production of harmful substances in the brain and the rate of brain cell death. But how long these improvements may last has been unclear.
Led by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, a team of scientists revisited these children at six or seven years of age.
They examined the children’s:
- IQ scores
- memory power
- attention spans
- signs of disability
Children who had been cooled as babies were less likely than those who had received standard treatment to have neurological abnormalities and performed better in tests of manual ability.
About 45% of cooled children had no brain abnormalities, compared with 28% of those who had had standard treatment
And some 21% in the cooling group had cerebral palsy, compared with 36% in the control group.
Babies in the hypothermia group were also more likely to have IQ scores above 85.
The simple and relatively inexpensive treatment has been adopted in many countries across the globe.
The cooling treatment showed no influence on survival rates though – a similar proportion (about 30%) of babies in both groups did not survive to school age.
Researchers say the next steps will be to look at therapies that can work in conjunction with therapeutic hypothermia and increase the chances of normal survival.
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