Study: Even Mild Concussions Lead to Long-Term Symptoms

Brain scans showing traumatic brain injuries.

Even relatively mild concussions caused by light bumps to the head could potentially cause long-term problems, according to a recent study.

The new data shows that the brain’s wiring can change in the aftermath of mild concussions. According to a news report, studies in the past have suggested that even mild traumatic brain injuries that don’t cause any observable structural damage could still trigger symptoms. These symptoms can include problems concentrating, fatigue, and anxiety, and can persist for more than six months.

But the latest research has shed more light on the link between mild concussions and ongoing symptoms.

 What the Study Shows About Concussions

Researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Division of Anesthesia report that there can sometimes be an increase in the connectivity of the brain immediately after mild TBIs that might help predict and explain these long-lasting symptoms. About 50 million new TBI cases are reported worldwide each year and this figure has only been going up. This trend prompted scientists to launch CENTER-TBI, a project aimed at improving care for TBI patients.

The most recent study published in the journal Brain using data from CENTER-TBI found that even when the brain injury is mild and a patient is expected to make a complete recovery in six months, problems continue in nearly half of the patients.

While interventions are available for patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, the understanding of these long-term symptoms from mild TBIs remains poor. Researchers say that there is limited care for those symptoms and not much support for these patients. The brain changes identified in the new study suggest a way of identifying which patients are likely to suffer long-lasting symptoms and possible targets for drugs that could aid recovery.

What Exactly is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or some other type of injury that shakes the brain inside the skull. Even though there may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of brain injury. Concussions are typically diagnosed with imaging tests such as MRIs or CT scans. Your doctor will want to make sure that there is no bruising or bleeding in the brain.

You don’t have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. Some may display obvious signs such as passing out or having no memory of what happened right before the injury. However, others may not have the same symptoms. All concussions are different.

It is important to note that the brain is more sensitive to damage after a concussion. So, when you are recovering, avoiding activities that might cause additional injuries is crucial. Repetitive concussions or severe concussions could lead to long-term problems with movement, learning, or even speech. If you are experiencing any concussion symptoms after a traumatic event such as a car accident or fall, it is important to see a doctor right away. Contact sports such as football and hockey can also result in concussions.

Common Symptoms of Concussions

Here are some of the most common symptoms of concussions:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Amnesia, or having trouble remembering things
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Loss of consciousness or passing out
  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Depression/anxiety
  • A change in sleep patterns
  • Lack of focus or concentration

Long-Term Effects of Concussions

More and more studies are now being done to look into the long-term effects of concussions. About 20% of people might suffer from post-concussion syndrome, where they may continue to experience symptoms after six weeks. However, the more concussions you suffer, the more likely you are to suffer long-term consequences, especially if you do not give your brain sufficient time to heal between injuries.

Medical professionals believe that when there are several minor blows to the head repeatedly, they could lead to serious, long-term consequences such as depression, behavioral change, and even suicidal ideation due to brain damage that results from multiple concussions. It is important to remember that all head injuries should be taken seriously. If someone has acute neurological symptoms like loss of consciousness, vomiting, or seizures after a head injury, it is important that they receive emergency treatment.

If You Have Been Injured

If you have suffered a head injury or a traumatic brain injury as the result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party for damages. The damages you can recover may include compensation for medical expenses, lost income, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

In cases where the injuries are catastrophic and affect your ability to earn, you may be able to seek compensation for loss of earning capacity as well. An experienced brain injury lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options. Bisnar Chase has a top-rated team with decades of experience dealing with lawsuits involving serious brain injuries.

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