Research Shows Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

In recent years, researchers and health care providers have been devoting increased attention to the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. In the past, it was thought that most TBIs cleared up on their own with no lasting consequences. However, modern research has revealed that even relatively mild TBIs often result in physical and cognitive problems that may persist for years after the initial injury.

A traumatic brain injury occurs when a sudden impact, jerking motion or blow to the head causes the brain to strike against the inside of the skull, disrupting normal brain activity. Half of all TBIs are caused by vehicle accidents, according to the National Institutes of Health. TBI can also result from penetrative injuries, such as when a bullet or other object pierces the skull and damages the brain tissue.

Brain injury symptoms

The symptoms of TBI vary widely and may be mild or severe, depending on the circumstances. Common TBI symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Sleep changes, such as insomnia or sleeping more than usual

People who have sustained a TBI may also exhibit emotional or personality changes, such as increased irritability, combativeness or depression.

Long-term effects of TBI

Doctors once believed that most mild to moderate TBIs resolved on their own with no last ill effects — but modern research suggests otherwise. The issue has gained widespread attention in recent years, driven in part growing concerns about the long-term health risks facing athletes, military veterans and others who experience frequent head trauma.

One study by researchers at the University of Oklahoma tracked the progress of 500 combat veterans who suffered brain injuries while on deployment. Contrary to conventional wisdom, which suggests that most TBI symptoms dissipate over time, researchers found that soldiers experienced nearly the same symptom levels at both four and eight years after their injuries.

Other recent studies, including one conducted at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, suggest that children who suffer from TBIs early in life may suffer long-term cognitive and developmental setbacks. These findings are particularly surprising, as children's brains have long been thought to be particularly resilient.

Compensation for brain injuries in Texas

In Texas, people who sustain brain injuries due to traffic accidents or other causes are often able to recover financial compensation for their injuries, medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. To learn more about pursuing compensation for a TBI in Texas, contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area.