New tool could help determine extent of damage from brain injury

On behalf of Stephen G. Nagle & Associates posted in Brain Injuries on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

Researchers out of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina have developed a tool that aids in determining the extent of brain injury when other factors, most notably advanced age, need to be taken into account.

How does the tool work? This “tool” is a compilation of a review of the patient’s “age, gender, and the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS),” according to a recent report by Science Daily.

The GCS provides the patient with a grade based on his or her responses to eye, verbal and motor skill tests.

Although researchers admit that this is not the first test designed to determine recovery from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), it is unique as it focuses on the TBI alone – separate from other injuries.

Why is this tool important? TBIs peak at two different periods in our lives. First, when we are young adults ranging in age from 15 to 24, then again as seniors over the age of 75.

As such, this tool is important to aid in conversations between physicians and loved ones of the injured senior.

What can the tool tell patients and loved ones about the TBI? The tool is touted to provide health care professionals with the ability to discuss the likelihood of a return to independence after an elderly patient suffers a TBI. The results can help guide this discussion and increase the likelihood of a positive resolution for both the victim and his or her loved ones.

Are these tests expenses? Unfortunately, any form of medical care can become costly. As a result, those who suffer a TBI due to another’s negligence are wise to hold the negligent party responsible through a personal injury suit. This lawsuit can lead to monetary awards that can help cover the costs of treatments like the one discussed above.

Traumatic brain injury: Advances in diagnosis

On behalf of Stephen G. Nagle & Associates posted in brain injuries on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

Although traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are well-known, medical professionals continue to struggle with a simple method of diagnosis. Diagnosis is important, as it can play a role in holding those who cause these injuries financially accountable.

What exactly is a TBI? A TBI is generally defined in the medical field as “an acute brain injury resulting from mechanical energy to the head from external forces with loss of consciousness less than 30 minutes, posttraumatic amnesia less than 24 hours, and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 13-15 after 30 minutes post-injury or on presentation for healthcare.”

How are TBIs diagnosed? At this time, medical professionals generally use the definition above to determine if a patient has suffered a TBI. Additional research is underway to develop a more concrete form of diagnosis.

One such method, recently discussed in an article in Medscape, involves measuring a protein released in the brain during an injury. If the research proves successful, the protein could be measured instead of using head CT or brain MRIs to aid in diagnosis, both of which can result in exposure to potentially dangerous radiation.

How common are TBIs? TBIs are likely more common than reported, and reports are staggering. There are 1.7 million people in the United States that visit emergency departments, are hospitalized or die due to TBIs every single year.

This number is likely inaccurate, as an additional 30 to 45 percent of victims of these injuries are estimated to never seek treatment from a healthcare provider.

Why is diagnosis important? TBIs can result from a number of different accidents, including bicycle accidents, car crashes and construction accidents. Having a diagnosis can help hold others responsible when these accidents are the result of another person’s negligent or reckless actions.

TBIs can result in additional medical care, rehabilitation costs and other expenses. By holding responsible parties accountable for their actions, victims can receive monetary awards to help cover these costs and others associated with these injuries.

Related Posts: New tool could help determine extent of damage from brain injuryWhy is the brain so susceptible to injury?When Crashes Cause TBIs in Children3 ways a traumatic brain injury can happen on the job

Why is the brain so susceptible to injury?

By Stephen Nagle of Stephen G. Nagle & Associates posted in brain injuries on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.

Nowadays, sports fans can’t watch a game without hearing the phrase “concussion protocol.” What does this mean? A player enters the concussion protocol after showing symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 15 percent of NFL players display symptoms of TBI over the course of a season. As of 2010, a TBI was diagnosed in one out of every 20 emergency room visits related to an injury.

TBI can happen to anyone.  It can happen in a simple car wreck, or in an ordinary slip-and-fall injuriy.

Why is the brain is so prone to injury?  The composition of the brain provides some answers.

Jell-O in your head?

The brain is made up of 60 percent fat and uses the most water of any organ in the body. Its consistency is described as like gelatin.   inside your skull. To protect this potentially fragile organ, you have a thick skull, and, within teh skull, your brain is surrounded by spinal fluid.  This protects your brain from injury during most everyday activities.

However, if your body or head sustain a forceful blow, the spinal fluid within your skull may be unable to protect your brain from drastic movement. This force can cause your brain to impact the inside of your skull, and this can result in TBI.

This type of trauma inside your head is potentially quite gruesome and serious, but, thankfully, most TBIs are mild concussions, and cause no permanent damage. However, any impact to your body or head outside of normal body movement can cause TBI that results in permanent damage. Therefore, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms.

Seeing stars

Immediate signs and symptoms of mild TBI can include “seeing stars,” confusion, amnesia for the traumatic event, or a temporary loss of consciousness.  For a few days or weeks after a TBI the victim may feel foggy brained, or a little out of it.  Over longer periods of time, TBI sufferers can experience changes in short term memory, changes in thinking processes, or changes in personality.  If you believe someone has suffered TBI, your primary care before medical treatment is available can minimize symptoms and speed recovery.

First, check the person for any other injury that could worsen upon movement like a sprained ankle or broken bone. If they cannot move on their own, it is usually best to wait for EMTs to arrive, and just keep talking to the person.  If the individual is able to move on their own, lead them to a quiet, darkened room away from noise and light sensations. You can ask them simple questions like “What day is it?” or “What did you have for breakfast?” to determine their state of consciousness, and whether they know who and where they are.

One of the most visible signs of a serious concussion or TBI includes dilated or uneven pupil size of the eyes. If a person has lost consciousness, or has one or more dilated pupils, stay with them and keep talking to them.  If those signs are present, it is important to try to not let the person fall asleep until medical care can be provided.

If you or a loved one has suffered TBI, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Through understanding the causes, symptoms and treatment of TBI, we can better prevent long-term injury and reoccurrence.

Related Posts: When Crashes Cause TBIs in Children3 ways a traumatic brain injury can happen on the jobKnow the risks and signs of traumatic brain injuries

Know the risks and signs of traumatic brain injuries

On behalf of Stephen G. Nagle & Associates posted in brain injuries on Thursday, August 18, 2016.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are far more common than once thought. They cause about 30 percent of deaths due to injuries in the U.S. Less serious TBIs, which do not result in death, are often invisible, and their effects may not appear for months, even years. The damage to the lives of those who have TBIs can be devastating.

Given the risks and hidden effects of a TBI, it is important to recognize their symptoms and ascertain their causes.

Common causes of TBIs

A blow to the head can result in a TBI, but is not necessary. Brain injuries frequently occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries and being close to high pressure blasts from pyrotechnics or air bursts. A slip-and-fall accident, even when your head does not hit anything, can cause a brain injury as well.

Often, there are no visible wounds when someone suffers a brain injury. It is not even necessary that the injured person lose consciousness.

Symptoms of TBI

Brain injuries affect people differently. In fact, if you had a blow to the head, you may not experience any symptoms until well after the incident. Common symptoms include:

Adrenaline and stress will frequently mask signs of a TBI after an accident. Some people are embarrassed to admit they don’t feel “right” after a fall or a collision. Coaches tell athletes to “shrug it off”, and family members may not be immediately supportive if there is no obvious physical injury.

If you were in an accident, seek medical treatment even if you think your injuries are minor. If an insurance company adjuster calls you and asks for a recorded statement, either politely decline or wait until you are sure you feel well enough to give it. If your symptoms are immediately serious, or persist longer than six to eight weeks, you should seek legal help to obtain fair compensation for any losses you have suffered.

Get help with your recovery

Many times, the people who recognize the symptoms of a TBI are your family and close friends. They see the changes that you may not recognize.

The recovery time from a TBI can take years. Even a “mild” TBI can shorten life, cause dementia, or simply make life harder. The costs, of missing work and medical expenses, and the other disruptions of your life, can add up quickly.

If someone else caused you injury, you may be entitled to compensation. If the injury involves a TBI, be sure to seek legal help from someone who has experience with brain injury claims, such as experienced brain trauma lawyer Stephen Nagle, who will provide caring, quality assistance.

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