Traumatic brain injury isn’t a straightforward consequence of an accident. It can have a variety of effects on every aspect of a victim’s life. In fact, brain injuries aren’t always a direct result of an impact. Collisions can result in internal injuries that produce blood clots. Blood clots can lead to a stroke, which can cause the same type of damage as impact-related TBI.
Seizure disorders resulting from TBI
One of the more dangerous effects of TBI is a change in the structure of the brain. These structural changes can be responsible for a seizure disorder following a brain injury. A new study from the University of Bonn and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has discovered the mechanism that causes seizure disorders after TBI, and may help those who don’t respond to standard treatment options.
Science Daily reports, “It has also been known for a long time that following transient severe brain injury and prior to an initial spontaneous epileptic seizure, the concentration of free zinc ions increases in the hippocampus. But science has been puzzled about the significance of this phenomenon,” according to Prof. Dr. Albert J. Becker.
Researchers developed a new technique to observe live brain activity. A modified virus with fluorescent molecules was injected into mice. The molecules glowed in the presence of certain calcium ions responsible for seizures, thus enabling researchers to see what was happening during a seizure for the first time. This technique alone may allow for better diagnosis of seizure disorders in humans.
A new treatment
The study itself produced incredible results. Using the fluorescent molecules, the team observed that the build up of free zinc ions in the hippocampus activated a switch (called MTF1) that increased calcium ions in the brain. The increased concentration of calcium ions disrupted nerve signaling and timing. To re-establish proper brain chemistry, the nerves then fired rapidly to use up the excess calcium ions. This rapid firing of nerves in the brain is what causes seizures.
With this knowledge, the team used an inhibitor that prevents the MTF1 switch from signaling the brain to produce excess calcium. This method nipped the problem in the bud; mice injected with the MTF1 inhibitor had seizures less often. The seizures they did have were weaker and lasted a shorter period of time.
The study authors hope that this research will ultimately be able to prevent the development of seizure disorders. At the very least, it will provide additional treatment options to seizure sufferers.
Seizures are just one of the many consequences of traumatic brain injury. TBI changes lives in an instant, and can require costly long-term care. If you or someone you know suffered a TBI in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced TBI attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law can help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation at our Nashville, Gallatin or Knoxville office.