New information has emerged of late concerning traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) which could impact the personal injury lawsuits that sometimes accompany them in order to make victims “whole again.” Most notably, theories are emerging concerning the link between head injuries and depression/suicidal tendencies, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition.
CTE has been sited in multiple sports-related head impacts, including football, hockey, and now potentially cycling, and connected to depression, dementia, and impulse control problems. It is now also being connected to everyday, normal people who suffer from concussions due to recreational and/or work-related concussions and head injuries.
Increased Risk of Suicide
Specifically, new research found that people who have concussions have an increased risk of attempting suicide—in fact, they are three times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population—particularly if their concussion occurred on a weekend. While the risks associated with sports have been studied, prior to now, no one has looked at the impact of concussions on the “normal population,” and their ability to cause lasting damage. Researchers now argue that—due to the science that has emerged over the last two years—TBI survivors need to receive long-term assessments to monitor for the presence of psychiatric disorders.
Researchers have also found the presence of protein clumps in both Alzheimer’s and TBI victims. Although previous research showed that these “clumps” or plaques were present immediately after the incident that caused the brain injury, new science has shown that the plaques are still there more than 10 years later. This provides a definitive link between brain injury patients and more permanent issues, such as dementia.
However, it’s not just what was found, but where it was found: the protein deposits were found in the posterior cingulate cortex, which controls memory, attention, motor control, and coordination. Researchers also found that head injuries impact white matter; tissues found deep in the brain which allows cells to communicate. This research will potentially shed light on prevention and treatment, as there may be more time than initially thought to treat these types of injuries. Close to 14 million people are expected to suffer from Alzheimer’s by 2050.
There Could Be Hope
Fortunately, concussions don’t necessarily have to spell disaster if the brain is given time to heal. This means that—for everyone who plays sports professionally—certain precautionary measures—such as cognitive baseline tests—can make all the difference. In addition, while helmets have historically been poor at protecting the brain from injuries, there are special liners now made to decrease the impact and thus reduce the chances of a concussion. Without proper protection–anyone–whether professional athlete or construction worker–could end up suffering not only from concussions and TBIs, but depression and related issues, such as attempted suicide.
Dana and Dana: Representing TBI Victims
TBIs can have many causes, but in every case, their effects are devastating. The firm of Dana & Dana routinely works with victims of traumatic brain injuries to get them the compensation they deserve and need to live a comfortable life. If you have been the victim of a TBI that wasn’t your fault, contact us today for a free consultation.