UCLA Biologists Find Head Injuries May Have Serious and Lasting Implications
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that some 1.7 million Americans suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Science now suggests that those individuals could be at an increased risk for several serious and lasting conditions. Uncovered by biologists at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), this revolutionary discovery could one day impact personal injury cases.
About the Study
Published in EBioMedicine, the study examined the brain function of rats. At the beginning of the study, 20 of them were trained to escape a maze. Later, 10 were injected with a fluid that simulated a brain injury. Both sets of rats - the injected group and control group - were returned to the maze. Those in the control group continued to perform as they always had, but the ones who had experienced a brain injury took approximately 25 percent longer to find their way out of the maze.
To help them understand the cause behind the changes, the researchers analyzed the genes of five animals from each group. They found that 268 core genes within the hippocampus had been altered, and a core group of 1,215 genes in the leukocytes had changed. Researchers identified these as master genes and determined that they could then potentially damage other genes. This could potentially explain why the link exists between traumatic brain injury and other neurological conditions.
Examining the Possibility of Serious and Lasting Conditions
Previous studies have linked several different conditions to traumatic brain injury. For example, football players and soldiers who have experienced an explosion seem to have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This new study suggests the link may be due to the alteration of master genes. More specifically, the protein of the genes change. The end result could be an increased risk of stroke, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain-related disorders.
Researchers also believe that there may be less severe issues that could arise from a traumatic brain injury. For example, those that have experienced one may be at an increased risk for metabolism issues, long-term memory problems, and inflammatory conditions. All of these issues would be related to issues within the hippocampus - the area of the brain that regulates everything from metabolism to the communication that occurs between cells.
How the Study Could Change the Face of Personal Injury Cases
Although the study is nothing more than a preliminary analysis, and there is still much to be learned about how the brain functions, the researchers may have taken one more step in assisting people who have been injured by negligence. Their work could one day be factored into the compensation of victims, who could one day suffer from a condition that might not have otherwise occurred. Further, the study could pave the way for new drugs that might target areas of the brain that are at risk.
Injured by Negligence? Contact Our Appleton TBI Lawyers
If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic brain injury caused by the negligent actions of another, contact Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. for assistance. Our Appleton TBI injury lawyers understand the impact that an injury can have on the lives of you and your loved ones, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call 920-739-7366 and schedule your consultation to learn more.