Researchers at the Imperial College of London recently analyzed the brain scans of 1500 healthy people.
The goal of analyzing these brains was to create software which would be able to accurately predict a person’s age from a brain scan. The program was used to estimate “brain age” of 113 healthy people as well as 99 with TBIs (“Traumatic Brain Injuries”). The 99 people who had suffered TBIs received those brain injuries from falls, auto accidents, or assaults and also suffered persistent neurological problems as a result. Those with brain injuries received their TBI anywhere from one month to forty-six years prior, to the brain scan. Those who had suffered prior serious head injuries showed changes in brain structures which closely resembled those seen in much older people.
On average, patients with prior brain injuries were estimated by the program to be at least sixty months older than their actual age. Researchers were already aware that head injuries can amplify the chances of developing neurological conditions later in life. This latest screening tool could help identify those at a greater risk for conditions such as dementia. The leader of the study, Dr. James Cole, noted the heightened interest in locating aging biomarkers, which can not only measure certain aspects of health, but can forecast future health issues as well.
Computer Recognizes Differences in White and Gray Matter throughout Brain
MRI technology was used in the study to map alterations in the structure of the brain, then a learning algorithm was incorporated into the software which recognized dissimilarities in the amount of white and gray matter in various brain regions. In patients with TBIs, those with cognitive impairments, such as slowed reaction times and memory loss, showed a larger discrepancy between real age and computer-predicted age. Those patients who had their brain injuries the longest length of time also showed a greater discrepancy between real age and computer-predicted age. Researchers believe ongoing biological processes progress faster after a brain injury occurs. Dr. Cole believes TBIs can trigger secondary processes, which may relate to inflammation, which can continue to damage the brain for years, and may even contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Traumatic Brain & Head Injury Can Cause Seizures and Early Death
What this latest research appears to tell us is that even a relatively minor traumatic brain injury can cause the brain to age faster than it normally would. Even before this research was released, Dr. Steven Flanagan, professor of the New York University School of Medicine, believed there were increased risks for those with a traumatic brain injury as they aged. A 2008 study suggested those with traumatic brain injuries are at a greater risk for seizures, and those with poorly-controlled seizures have a higher risk of dying at an earlier age. Other studies point to the fact that the more physically disabled the person is following a traumatic brain injury, the greater risk of a shorter life span. Those who suffer moderate to severe TBIs are also more likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease than those who have not suffered brain injury.
Injuries to the Brain Can Be Overlooked Following an Accident
Following a serious accident, traumatic brain injuries can be overlooked in the rush to take care of the patient’s more obvious injuries. Later, signs of the TBI can begin to surface, and while bones can mend, TBIs often leave the victim’s life changed forever. They can permanently damage work and social relationships, totally altering a person’s quality of life. Calculating damages for a traumatic brain injury can be difficult; therefore, it is extremely advantageous to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side who can assess your situation and clearly present your options to you. With this newest research showing that a traumatic brain injury can continue to cause health issues as you age, it is especially important that you receive sufficient compensation for your accident to enable you to cover your anticipated medical expenses throughout your life.
Contact The Experienced Traumatic Brain & Head Injury Lawyers of Philadelphia
If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident, it is important to understand the severity of your injury and how it will affect your future. At McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., our experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury lawyers can answer all of your questions and help you choose the legal pathway that is best for you and your family.
The Philadelphia traumatic brain injury attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have over 68 years experience representing injured accident victims and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton counties.
We are also proud to serve injured accident victims throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today at 215-568-1510 or 856-380-3998, or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.