Recent studies have shown that brain injuries can cause extensive damage both at the time of injury and years in the future.
Recent studies prove something that many injury victims and medical experts already knew: even “mild” brain injuries like concussions can cause serious, sometimes catastrophic, side effects that can last long after the bruises or scars have healed.
In fact, new research suggests that people who suffer from brain injuries of all types (not just ones that cause observable head trauma) may have shorter life spans than similarly situated people who have never suffered a brain injury. That study, coming from the Institute of Health and Well-being at the University of Glasgow, showed that brain injury victims were more than twice as likely to die in the 15 years following an injury than peers of comparable age, occupation and health.
The landmark research
It comes as no surprise that, given the crucial body functions regulated by our brains, that any damage sustained by them can have a huge impact on our lives. What is surprising, however, is the extent to which that damage affects our bodies for years to come, taking a toll on overall health, mental health, competency, memory, behavior and interpersonal relationships.
The Glasgow study is a first of its kind to study the long-term effects of brain injuries. Researchers examined 15 years’ worth of patient and control group medical records in order to accurately track the full extent of injuries. This study is particularly credible because of the length of the research period, and the fact that it involved directly comparing the medical lives of both injured and uninjured people. It is also the first study to gather evidence suggesting that a single brain injury can effectively take years off an injury victim’s life.
Putting this research into action
With this study comes a new understanding of the true impact of a traumatic brain injury, as well as new motivation to do everything possible to prevent these injuries in the first place. For example, a simple yet extremely important tactic – particularly for children and young adults – is emphasizing the importance of wearing a high-quality, good-fitting helmet when biking, skateboarding, skating or playing contact sports like football and hockey. A single concussion suffered by a child or teenager can have lingering effects that last for years.
Another group at high risk for traumatic brain injuries is the elderly. Elderly people who receive brain injuries are significantly more likely to die as a result than younger, healthier people. Taking time for education about the importance of preventing falls can literally save lives since, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries for the elderly.
Seeking help now
If you or a loved one has been involved in a fall, car accident, truck accident, bicycle crash or other incident where you may have been injured, you need to seek medical treatment. See a doctor even if you don’t initially show symptoms since some brain injuries might not be apparent right away.
You should also strongly consider contacting a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Though it is vitally important for you to focus on healing, if you wait too long to get legal assistance, you could be jeopardizing your legal right to the holder responsible party accountable for the action (or inaction) that led to your injury.