Our brain injury lawyers recently wrote about hockey player taking legal action against the NCAA. The players allege that the collegiate athletic association should be held responsible for its role in contributing to brain injuries. Brain injuries are a major concern among athletes, but athletes are not the only ones who can suffer trauma to the head that leads to a brain injury. Car accident victims and slip and fall victims are also at risk of injury to the brain that can have a devastating lifelong impact.
Brain injuries are damaging to victims for many reasons including the fact that a blow to the head can cause potentially permanent damage to the brain and can increase the risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions. A part of the problem associated with severe brain injury, however, also stems from the fact that it is often difficult to know just how badly the brain was harmed by trauma or what the lasting effects of the trauma will be. The New York Times recently discussed new tests for brain trauma that could create new hope among victims, but that are also being met with skepticism.
New Tests for Brain Injury Trauma Receive Mixed Reviews
According to the New York Times, the majority of researchers believe that the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, can be diagnosed only by analyzing the brain tissue after death. C.T.E. is the brain condition that dozens of former professional football players claim to have developed and have since sued the N.F.L. for its role in causing.
Because the condition can be diagnosed only after death, it is more difficult for living victims to know whether they have the condition and harder for those who suffered brain injury to recover compensation for the full extent of their losses, since they cannot necessarily prove they have C.T.E.
However, new tests may change that. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have reportedly developed a test that they think can analyze the brain in a living person and correctly diagnose C.T.E. Doctors who support the test’s validity have called it the “holy grail of C.T.E.” as the test could make it easier to provide appropriate treatment and could have financial implications as those who suffer from brain trauma could take the test and use the results to help get insurance coverage, workers’ compensation and damages in personal injury lawsuits.
The test involves injecting a special compound into the brain that clings to brain proteins and can be viewed in a medical imaging test called a PET scan. A company called TauMark has the exclusive license to commercialize this test and the company is working to find retired football players who will take the test so that it can provide a “clinical diagnosis and summary.”
While the test may provide much-desired information to potential C.T.E. victims, however, some are skeptical of whether it will prove to be accurate or whether it will just cause either false hope or undue worry. Since the test is so new, it is not clear how accurate it will be at predicting whether a patient will actually develop dementia after a head injury, and the test could end up with some head injury victims being misdiagnosed. Only time will tell whether the test ends up being an effective diagnostic tool or not, but victims of head injury may opt to undergo the testing in the meantime in order to get an additional piece of diagnostic information they can use.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 888-367-2900.