Concussions Can Cause Behavior Problem in Teens

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Behavior problems or risky behaviors are a very real risk in teenagers who suffer a brain injury, like a concussion.

Those are the findings of a new study that was conducted by Canadian researchers. The results of the study find that both male and female teenagers were likely to engage in a number of risky behaviors after they had suffered a concussion. They had suffered concussions while playing sports, or as a result of accidents.

In both the genders, suffering a brain injury was linked to a number of dangerous and risky practices including smoking, and using drugs. These teenagers were much more likely to drink alcohol, and their grades in school dipped after they had suffered an injury to the head that resulted in a concussion.

The researchers however warn that the results of the study should not be used as an excuse for bad behavior after suffering an injury. Not all children who have suffered a concussion are likely to react this way. However, other studies have indicated that when a person suffers even a mild brain injury, there could be an increased risk of odd behaviors that are not in line with the person's personality.

Additionally, females seem to react differently to a brain injury, compared to males. Male teenagers in the study were found to be three times more likely to get bad grades in school after suffering a brain injury, and were twice as likely to use marijuana, compared to boys who did not suffer a brain injury. Female teenagers were much more likely to engage in risky behaviors, after a concussion compared to males. They were more likely to smoke, and become victims of bullying or suffer from suicidal tendencies or depression after a brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury, Depression and Lessons from the NFL

Friday, January 11, 2013

The link between depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI) is taking a prominent position in a national discussion about football.  A much-needed discussion about the relationship between head injuries and depression in general may be a result of this increased scrutiny on the subject.   

A recent medical study found that the NFL players in the research suffered from a far higher rate of depression than people in the general population. The research was published in the journal JAMA Neurology and studied 34 retired NFL players. Researchers found that approximately 25 percent of these players struggled with clinical depression. For people who are not professional football players, the rate of diagnosed clinical depression is about 15 percent.

In addition to the higher rate of depression, the researchers also found that the brains of some of these former players had abnormalities that may be the result of repeated violent impacts. More research on these abnormalities is ongoing but in the wake of the suicide by former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, this subject is sure to get more attention. Some commentators have suggested that Seau's suicide may have been related to depression and traumatic brain injury.  

The recent study may not be damning in the Seau case but it is compelling. Most importantly, perhaps, is the potential significance it has for those of us not colliding into other people at high rates of speed on a daily basis. The players in the study had not been diagnosed with depression until after they agreed to participate in the study, according to a report in Bloomberg News. This may suggest that more players and more people in the general population struggle with depression that has not been diagnosed. Though repeated concussions may be more likely for people who play football throughout their teen and young adult years, people involved in car accidents, cycling crashes, slip and falls, motorcycle collisions and other accidents may also suffer traumatic brain injuries that can lead to clinical depression. Many individuals may be unaware of this possible side effect from such trauma.

The NFL now seems to be paying close attention to the results of head trauma. Perhaps a robust national discussion about brain injuries and depression in the general population will be forthcoming as well.   

Imaging Tools Help Locate Minute Fiber Breaks after Brain Injury

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

If the use of a new imaging tool that has been recently used successfully to identify fiber breaks in the brain after injury is expanded, then Los Angeles brain injury lawyers expect that doctors will soon be able to better predict the recovery of victims who suffer these devastating injuries.

A team of researchers has successfully used the tool that can help doctors detect minute breaks in connections in the brain after an injury. Using this data, doctors can help identify the connections that have been damaged as a result of the trauma, and predict the degree of recovery that the patient can expect.

These imaging techniques are similar to x-rays that doctors use to determine the size of fractures anywhere in the body. The technology has been developed by a team of researchers at the University Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. The imaging technology works by processing data from an MRI scan, revealing damaged cables in the brain.

Doctors can separate the damaged region from the non-injured area, and can compare both the sides, to understand the severity of the damage and the number of severed fibers. This can help doctors understand the potential speed of recovery of the patient.

Doctors believe that these imaging techniques will be especially useful in detecting minor injuries to the cables in the brain caused by trauma. These minor cracks in the fibers that damage connections in the brain may not show up on a CT scan. This means that many brain injuries go undiagnosed and untreated.

A person, who has suffered a mild concussion in an auto accident or during a fall, or during a sports-related accident, may not have the injury show up in the CT scan, but may suffer a number of symptoms of the concussion, including memory loss and unexplainable mood changes. These techniques can help identify and locate these damaged fibers, to determine the extent of the injury.


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