Articles Posted in Brain Injury

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Gaining a better understanding of pre-term infant brain injury can help reduce future incidents and improve outcomes for preemies. That’s why researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and NFANT Labs (an Atlanta-based company) are teaming up. The trio announced they would be collaborating to delve into the question of how neonatal sucking patterns could be an indication of brain development. If abnormal feeding patterns are proven to be an early indicator of an underlying brain injury, then doctors, nurses and other caregivers could take note – and quicker action to address it, ultimately improving outcomes.premature baby

Detecting a newborn brain injury early on is difficult. The current brain injury technology we have developed isn’t sensitive enough to pick up potential issues for babies that young. Even equipment that could work tends to be far too expensive for practical use on a regular basis. Prior research has established some type of connection between the way a baby sucks early on and later neurodevelopmental outcomes. A better understanding of this could help doctors detect brain abnormalities faster, which can mean initiating a number of early interventions.

Every year, some 500,000 infants in the U.S. are born premature. Of those, 60,000 babies are born weighing less than 3.3 pounds. Unlike in decades past, most of these babies will survive. However, preventing brain damage in these infants is often a challenge. So while these children are living, the rates of developmental disabilities and cerebral palsy stemming from brain injury are on the rise. Continue reading

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In a recent opinion from the California Court of Appeal, student was injured during a high school football game.  During the game, he suffered a severe impact and began complaining that he was in serious pain.

footballAt that point, his coach shined a flashlight in his eyes, and it made him wince in pain.  At every football game, there is an ambulance crew on standby at the event. The coached alerted paramedics, and they came over and examined the injured student. They also saw he was unsteady while walking.  It took the crew minutes to get to him. Continue reading

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It is hard to truly understand just how difficult it can be for a victim and his or her family following an accident or illness that results in a traumatic brain injury.  The victim may have trouble with gross and fine motor skills, struggle with memory loss, battle the inability to form new memories, and could suffer from one or more of the various types of dementia.

brain scanWhile there are various treatments that can prevent a patient’s death and may help with some of the effects of the brain injury, there is no way to fully cure traumatic brain injury (TBI) damage in many cases at this time.  For this reason, doctors and researchers are hard at work on finding new treatments and hoping that one day they will find a cure. Continue reading

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A recent news article from CBS looks at the increasing numbers of deaths we are seeing from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) related to high school football across the nation. In the past few years, around 24 high school football players have been killed, and a look at the numbers by year shows that the deaths are on the rise each year, and this an alarming trend that many are fighting to reverse.

footballOne of the things, however, that is discussed in this article is whether there are actually more deaths that are occurring in recent years, or whether there is just more information about traumatic brain injuries and their association with contact sports and more coverage in the news.  While this may seem strange at first, it becomes more clear when we realize that some deaths caused by a sports-related TBI do not happen instantly.  We often see the head injury occurring on one day and then a person dying a few days or weeks later from what is known as a secondary head trauma due to the first not being diagnosed or treated properly. Continue reading

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According to a news report from the Waco Tribune, a young child identified as having special needs reportedly suffered a serious head injury, and local police suspect the injury may have occurred at his elementary school. The child is 8-years-old.

doctor5The police first became aware of the incident when hospital personnel called them.  When the child first got off the school bus earlier that day, he said he was nauseous. The bus driver told the parents their son had vomited several times and was not behaving typically. Continue reading

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Head injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI), are among the most serious types of personal injuries, other than wrongful death, that we typically see.  The reasons are somewhat obvious when doctors consider a “minor” brain injury can have lifelong consequences for the victim.

motorcycle helmetOne of the things known to reduce head injuries – or at least the severity of them – is the motorcycle helmet. Motorcycle helmet laws, however, vary widely from state-to-state. There is a large sector of the motorcycle riding population that wants nothing to do with a helmet. They feel that it is not worth riding a motorcycle if you cannot feel the freedom of the wind in your hair and face. While Massachusetts has a mandatory helmet law, not every state does. Continue reading

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Football is a tough game for anyone who puts on a uniform and heads out on the field each week.  However, for decades, the public and National Football League (NFL) was willing to just consider that part of the game.  In fact, it is nearly impossible to watch an entire football game without seeing at least one, if not more, players being escorted off the field after being injured.  This is not just anecdotal, since the detailed statistics kept by the league and the media show this to be a fact.

football3It is also true that professional football is not as popular as it once was in terms of television viewer ratings.  There have been many reasons floated around this season for what this is.  Some argue that it is because the primetime match-ups like Sunday Night Football are simply not as interesting as they once were.  Others argue that it is the increase in the amount of calls and time outs as result of the officials.  Others argue that is because people are tired of watching and waiting for players to suffer a serious head injury that results in a potential career ending traumatic brain injury (TBI). Continue reading

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We have heard a great deal about the dangers of head injuries, including concussions.  For those who are not aware of what a concussion is, it is essentially a brain injury that occurs when the victim is hit in the head or even the victim of a whiplash type accident where the brain forcefully slams into the skull.  This can result in swelling as blood pools under the dura.

skullThis is the same thing that happens when a person gets a bruise anywhere on his or her body, but when the bruise happens in the brain, there is nowhere for the blood to expand due to the skull, and this creates a buildup of pressure that can result in permanent brain damage. Continue reading

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In the last five years, we have seen a lot more media coverage involving traumatic brain injuries and concussions.  While we have seen a lot of talk about head injuries suffered by our brave service members, we are now hearing a lot more about head injuries in professional sports and sports played by young athletes.

skull-1415989Due to the real risks of our youth suffering a serious head injury with lasting brain damage, it is important to do whatever we can to prevent these injuries from occurring.   In an effort to help with prevention, as discussed in a recent news article from the Westborough Patch, the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts has just appointed a Manager of Prevention. Continue reading

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Over the past decade, scientists and doctors have made many advances with regard to how head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, are treated.  One major reason for this was that in the global War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq among other places, we have had thousands of brave men and women coming home after suffering head injuries as a result of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), enemy fire and other accidents.  In wars past, these men and women would likely have died on the battlefield. Today, with advances in modern medicine, they are surviving – and returning home in need of treatment for brain injuries.

brains-1426619One of the reasons brain injuries are so problematic is because once the brain cells are destroyed, they do not regenerate as part of the normal healing process. In other words, the damage is often life-long.  In addition to brain injury caused by a traumatic impact, having stroke results in a deprivation of oxygen to the brain, and that results in the death of brain cells. Continue reading