A 2015 study by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that mild, concussion-type injuries often cause severe cognitive impairments. The study focused on SNTF, a brain protein, which shows in the blood after a victim suffers some concussions. SNTF “signals the type of brain damage” that is believed to be the origin of these cognitive difficulties. Specifically, SNTF signals the presence of a diffuse axonal injury, a form of nerve fiber damage – according to the director of Penn’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair, and affirmed by a professor of neurosurgery. The doctors found that even a mild concussion can result in permanent damage.
The results indicate that SNTF blood tests may be used to diagnose “diffuse axonal injury and predict cognitive impairment in concussion patients.”
What happens to the brain after a TBI?
Traumatic brain injuries can occur due to a vehicle accident, an explosion, or for other reasons. According to the Penn study, over two million people see the ER for a TBI each year. A traumatic brain injury is a leading cause disability or death in children and adults under 44 years of age.
A mild TBI is usually defined as a brief loss of normal brain activity after the victim suffers a head injury. Many patients fail to identify or treat their TBI. While many patients do make a full recovery, more recent research indicates that about 20 percent of patients have cognitive impairments that are longer term – several months or more.
Exactly how concussions cause cognitive difficulties is hard to determine. Abnormalities often don’t show in CT scans. Brains that have a mild TBI often don’t show any signs of bruising or bleeding. In severe cases, evidence can be detected – such as swollen, degenerative, and disconnected axons.
It is believed that, when a TBI occurs, the bundles of axons are stretched – affecting the calcium and sodium levels of the neurons. Proper levels of these chemicals are needed to restore the areas of the brain.
If you or a loved one is suffering due to a traumatic brain injury, the Gladiators in Suits at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can help you get the medical attention you need to determine the extent of the injuries, including any cognitive impairments. To hold responsible parties accountable, please call our Knoxville, Hendersonville, and Gallatin TBI lawyers at 615-246-5549 or complete our contact form to make an appointment.