Research shows mild brain injuries can have lasting damage

Studies show that even mild cases of brain trauma can have a significant effect on people’s lives, and may be seriously debilitating.

People who are involved in car accidents, violent assaults, slip-and-fall accidents and other incidents in Washington are at risk of receiving a traumatic brain injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.7 million people across the country are affected by brain injuries every year. While some of these injuries are severe, others are considered mild. However, studies show that even mild traumatic brain injuries can cause serious, long-term damage and may affect a person's ability to work and perform everyday activities. Sadly, many mild brain injuries go undiagnosed, as they may not show up on typical screening tests. When minor brain injuries go untreated, they may affect the injured victim for years to come.

The study

Since most of the research that has been done on traumatic brain injuries has looked at moderate to severe cases, researchers from Newcastle University chose to focus on mild brain trauma. According to Fox News, the study used a type of magnetic resonance imaging, known as diffusion tensor imaging, to find cell damage in the brain. DTI illuminates damaged cells in the brain's white matter, allowing physicians to pinpoint the injured area. Conventional TBI screening tests, including basic MRI's and CT scans, may overlook these areas of damage.

People who had mild brain trauma were given screening tests to evaluate their cognitive abilities, including general movement, verbal activity and eye movement. Researchers found that those with mild TBIs scored 25 percent lower in cognitive functioning than the control group. After 12 months, the patients were reevaluated and a significant number still showed cellular damage in the brain.

The importance of diagnosis

Although there is not a definitive way to reverse cell damage that has occurred in the brain, there are treatments and therapies that may help to rehabilitate people who are suffering from brain trauma. Once a person is diagnosed with TBI, doctors can customize a treatment program to facilitate their specific needs. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, these programs may consist of occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, medication, counseling and social support.

Getting your life back on track

Whether you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, you may know first-hand how devastating these injuries can be. You may be unable to return to work and might have trouble accomplishing daily tasks as a result of your debilitating injuries. An attorney in Washington who understands how to handle these types of cases may be able to answer your questions regarding your legal rights and options. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages from work and emotional trauma.