It probably goes without saying that the brain is the single-most important organ in the body. Therefore, if someone sustains a brain injury, it can wreak havoc in that person's life. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which someone can sustain a brain injury. For example, we know of many professional football players who suffered a traumatic brain injury while playing. Again, children can suffer a brain injury at the time of delivery. Yet again, one can suffer a brain injury after being involved in an auto accident.
Reports on concussions in football and other sports have put a spotlight on the challenges of traumatic brain injuries. What sometimes gets lost in this discussion of athletes is that TBIs affect people from all walks of life.
In 2016, the NCAA introduced a new kickoff rule on an experimental basis for eight private, Ivy League universities. League coaches recommended the change when 2015 data showed that kickoffs made up only 6 percent of plays but accounted for 21 percent of concussions. Kickoffs are the only play "where players on both teams have the space to get up to full speed," potentially risking injury from a head-on tackle, noted the lead author of a recent study.
There has been a growing awareness of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated head trauma causing a series of otherwise non-dangerous concussions. In 2015, the movie "Concussion" taught the world about the condition and its apparent prevalence among football players. The disease is thought to affect others experiencing mild brain trauma repeatedly, such as members of the military and domestic violence survivors.
People who have suffered traumatic brain injuries -- even mild ones -- may be at greater risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a recent study in the journal Neurology.
Whether you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident, a fall or some other catastrophe, you may have felt lucky that the damage wasn't worse. Even so, you may have noticed that your friends and family look at you differently. They may even mention that you don't seem like yourself.
Could playing youth football be putting your child at risk for a degenerative brain disorder? It's a risk, according to a new study at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University. Kids who play tackle football before age 12 are at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and they may see symptoms years earlier than those who do not.
A recent study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry provides new evidence of a link between traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, in older adults. People who suffered TBIs were compared with people who suffered skull or spinal fractures that did not involve a TBI. Those who suffered TBIs had a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.
As a possible link between brain trauma and violent or unpredictable behavior becomes clearer, neuropsychology and neuroscience are increasingly being cited in criminal cases. Typically, defendants aren't trying to excuse their behavior altogether but to provide an explanation that could mitigate their punishment. A committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is now meeting to discuss the courtroom use of what they term "neuroforensics."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently approved a new blood test that can help emergency room doctors determine whether to order a CT scan for people with head injuries. However, there is some misinformation going around about the test -- some even promulgated by the FDA. Some news and agency reports have said that the new test can detect concussions -- and that is not true.