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Can mild brain injuries cause serious damage?

Brain injuries can be extremely debilitating. Whether you obtained brain trauma from a slip-and-fall accident or you were involved in a car collision, you may suffer from the serious side effects of the injury. While more attention has been focused on the implications of moderate to severe brain injuries, a study looked at the effects of mild brain injuries` and their potential for causing long-term damage.

Researchers in the study, published in the journal Neurology, used diffusion tensor imaging to determine where the brain injury is located, as well as the severity of the damage. DTI scans show damage through differences in brightness and contrast. The white tissue in the brain houses the interconnections between different areas of the brain. In a healthy brain, the white tissue is orderly and organized with a strong structure. In an injured brain, the white matter shows cellular damage as a change in the brightness on the DTI image.

Along with the brain scan, participants were asked to take a test that measured cognition from verbal activity and eye movement. Patients with mild brain injuries scored 25 percent lower on these tests. Researchers followed-up with these patients one year later and found that some patients showed dramatic improvement in their symptoms and the quality of their white brain matter in DTI scans. Other patients, however, still showed damage and experienced cognitive challenges. Although most brain injuries are permanent in nature, the brain is often able to rebuild connections that help people to recover from the trauma.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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