Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI is a serious brain injury that occurs as a result primarily of motor vehicle accidents or falls. When the head and brain are subjected to rapid acceleration and deceleration, tearing of the nerve fibers occurs, along with bruising of the tissues and subsequent swelling of the area. Moreover TBI’s are so serious that many patients will sustain long-term physical, cognitive or psychological complications for several years. It is one of the most common causes of disability and death in adults.
Automobile accidents are the main cause of TBI in people under the age of 75. Of the 1.9 million people who sustain this type of injury, 235,000 are hospitalized with serious injury and 50,000 will die. Until recently, doctors took a “wait and see” attitude because symptoms of TBI can be subtle and may not appear for days or weeks following a personal injury to the brain.
Here in Orange County, California at the University of Irvine, and other TBI research centers, new treatments are rapidly changing the way TBI patients are treated in the emergency room. Since your brain controls everything we say, do, think and feel, it is imperative to react as quickly as possible to save cognitive function.
One such treatment is hypothermic treatment. In January’s Journal of Neurotrauma, new evidence concurs that hypothermic treatments immediately following severe personal injury to the brain, 24-48 hours will significantly reduce the negative side effects of this type of trauma. In addition, children with this type of injury were especially helped. This is exciting news due to the fact that this type of personal injury to children is the leading cause of death under the ages of 14. As children’s sports become more competitive and aggressive, there are unfortunately more cases of TBI in children.
Another significant finding here at a research facility in California was the correlation between severe head trauma and the use of beta blockers. In a recent study researchers showed “significant improvement” of the TBI patients after immediate use of beta blockers. These findings are impressive and give hope to future victims of this type of personal injury.
If you have experienced any type of serious personal injury involving a traumatic head injury due to a motor vehicle accident, fall or other means, discuss your injury with a professional attorney. Over 50% of all serious, long-term complication can occur weeks after the initial accident. You need someone on your side working for you and that allows you to focus on your recovery. Each accident is different and you need someone on your side looking out for your long term recovery.
Long term consequences can be as mild as headaches, dizziness or trouble concentrating, or as serious as seizures, infections and cognitive disabilities. Over 5.3 million Americans cannot perform daily activities due to severe head trauma and need lifelong help.TBI can also increase your risk for Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Depending on your age, type of injury and severity, all patients will have some sort of lasting side effects.
In the future, doctors will be able to use stem cells to improve our memory and cognitive function following traumatic brain injury. But for now, drive defensively and stay safe to avoid any unfortunate accidents.