January 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Combat-related brain injury symptoms may last years, study finds
Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries were once thought to resolve themselves on their own with little need for medical intervention. However, new research on the long-term effects of combat-related head trauma shows that, for many veterans, the symptoms of traumatic brain injury can persist for years with little improvement.
What is traumatic brain injury?
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when a blow to the head causes interference with the normal functioning of the brain. Many TBIs are caused by "closed head" injuries that leave little or no outward sign of injury but can involve serious damage to the delicate tissues of the brain. Closed-head TBIs frequently occur in combat situations when a sudden blast causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull. TBI can also be caused by bullet wounds and other penetrating brain injuries.
Even a head injury that appears relatively minor can cause a TBI with potentially severe and long-lasting consequences. In addition, the brain becomes especially vulnerable to further injury while it is healing from an initial TBI, making repeated head trauma even more dangerous.
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury
TBI symptoms vary widely depending on the individual and the circumstances of the injury, but they often include:
-Fatigue or insomnia
-Depression, irritability or other personality changes
In many cases, TBI symptoms may go unnoticed until a soldier returns home, or may be incorrectly attributed to stress, fatigue or other causes while on deployment.
Long-term effects of TBI
Doctors once thought that the damage caused by mild to moderate TBIs could typically resolve on its own over time, but new research has largely changed that perception. Several recent studies on the long-term effects of concussions and other TBIs suggest that their consequences may be far more long-lasting than once believed.
In a study of 500 combat veterans who had sustained a TBI while on deployment, researchers at the University of Oklahoma found that almost 50 percent of those whose injuries had occurred four years earlier were still experiencing symptoms. Nearly the same number reported symptoms eight years after their injuries, with little decrease in intensity.
The long-term effects of brain injury are not limited to soldiers and combat veterans. Among young children, whose brains were once thought to be particularly resilient, untreated concussions have been linked to behavioral problems, cognitive delays and lower IQ even years after the injury. In another series of recent studies, researchers examined the brains, behavior and mental functioning of retired professional football players who experienced repeated head trauma during their careers. In many of the test subjects, researchers found signs of lingering depression and cognitive impairment.
Veterans benefits for TBI
The Veterans Benefits Act of 2010 expanded coverage for military veterans who have sustained traumatic brain injuries and provided for additional compensation to veterans dealing with long-term TBI symptoms. For assistance seeking benefits for TBI, or for help appealing a denial of benefits, contact a lawyer experienced in handling cases with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Article provided by Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick, LTD.
Visit us at http://www.cck-law.com---
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