Neuroinflammation as a likely cause of persistent symptoms following traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as increased risk of neurodegenerative complications, is leading to increased attention on anti-inflammatory strategies with diet, exercise, lifestyle and medication
Our May 28, 2015 blog post discussed the evidence offered by McMasters University researchers in support of their conclusion that the body’s immune response following injury can lead to unchecked, ultimately destructive neuroinflammation and that this likely underlies persistent symptoms following TBI as well as increased risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Alzheimers. The authors observed similar neuroinflammatory processes in patients without a history of head injury, such as patients with serious infections, PTSD and Depression. They also noted that subtle genetic differences may explain differences in inflammatory responses between patients, leading to different long term outcomes. The October 2015 issue of Trends in Neuroscience includes a review by Ohio State neuroscientists with further support for this new paradigm for understanding the brain’s response to injury. See “Priming the Inflammatory Pump of the CNS after Traumatic Brain Injury.” Read More
The Radiology Society of North America has published a new study that identifies particular white matter brain injury patterns in patients with persistent depression and anxiety following mild traumatic brain injury (concussion or mTBI.) Read More
In a study published in April 2015 in the medical journal Brain Behavior and Immunity, a team of Canadian researchers at McMaster University presents a new understanding of the cause of the wide-array of symptoms experienced by some patients following concussion, such as headaches, dizziness, sleep disturbance, fatigue, cognitive impairment and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
This new paradigm helps to explain why the same pattern of symptoms can be found in some non-head injury patients, such a patient who has experienced infections or a patient diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. It also helps to explain why some patients recover and others do not and why pre-accident experience can influence the course of post-accident recovery. Read More
Recent research has shown that traumatic brain injury, (TBI) including mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), can damage and cause dysfunction in the pituitary gland, a pea-sized gland located in the center of the skull that releases several essential hormones affecting such functions as growth and metabolism (part of the neuroendocrine system). Researchers have found that a surprisingly high percentage of patients with persistent symptoms following a TBI show evidence of neuroendocrine dysfunction.
It turns out that the anatomy of this gland makes it particularly susceptible to the sheering injuries seen in TBI. The most common dysfunction found after TBI is deficiency in the Growth Hormone (GH), one of the key hormones released by the pituitary gland. The symptoms of GH deficiency overlap with many persistent TBI symptoms including fatigue, poor memory, depression, emotional lability, lack of concentration and attention difficulties. Read More
I travel between two worlds that may appear far apart – by day I am a trial lawyer with a focus on traumatic brain injury; nights and weekends I am a yoga teacher. I increasingly find that these worlds are very close together.
As a brain injury lawyer I work with people struggling to recover from the loss of sense of self so often caused by brain injury as well as associated depression and chronic pain. Many of my clients have reported meaningful increases in the quality of their lives following injury through “mindfulness” practices such as yoga and meditation. Practices such as yoga are designed to increase awareness of the present moment, to increase awareness of our thoughts, emotions and physical sensations without filtering them through past experience or fears of the future – to recapture our sense of ourselves. Read More
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has announced the results of a recent study showing that bright light therapy following Mild TBI (concussion) may improve sleep, cognitive and brain function. The study results were presented at the June 3, 2013 meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC and published in an online supplement to the journal Sleep. Read More
The topic of sexual dysfunction after a traumatic brain injury shouldn’t be taboo. Millions of people in the United States live with the physical, cognitive and emotional consequences traumatic brain injury (TBI). Sexuality is often impacted, but not often discussed or addressed. Failure to address this issue can compound the adverse effect of TBI symptoms on important relationships and self-esteem. NeuroRehabilitation: An International Journal recently published a critical review of fourteen studies on this topic. Read More
We live in a world of “show me” juries, programmed to believe that most people bringing personal injury claims to trial are trying to get something for nothing. They want to be convincingly shown that a real injury exists—that the injured person can prove a brain injury or other debilitating condition.
Proving a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury to a Jury
For example, some brain injuries produce bleeding in the brain that clearly shows up on conventional diagnostic images like CT scans—computerized tomography that combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles and processed by a computer to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body—and/or MRIs—magnetic resonance imaging that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body—or, that produce visible neurological signs like seizures, visual problems, speech problems, or motor problems.
Proving a brain injury to a jury where visible evidence is available is not difficult. However, we know that many mild traumatic brain injuries are “invisible” to these standard tests, yet are serious enough to greatly impact quality of life. In these cases, the challenge is to help the jury understand those long-term consequences, even when the injury is not visible.