March has become recognized as National Brain Injury Awareness month. In addition, an upcoming movie “Concussion” adds to the discussion by focusing on the consequences of TBI.
The Brain Injury Association of America estimates that 2.4 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries each year. Car crashes and bicycle accidents are some of the leading causes.
A blunt force can cause the brain to rotate or smack into the skull and damage connections within the brain or create bruising and bleeding. These injuries can be life-altering. Estimates of lifetime TBI treatment costs can range from $85,000 to three million dollars. Serious headaches, memory issues, and trouble focusing can be long-term symptoms that lead to the loss of a job and insurance coverage.
Limiting harmful effects
Currently, there are few proven therapies to treat the many symptoms like headaches, fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, sleep disturbances and irritability. The Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky has been working to change this.
Researchers are working on an experimental drug, MW151. The drug inhibits inflammation causing “bad” chemicals from damaging tissue. A co-author of the recent study, Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., described the process, “[a] though these immune cells help repair the injury, they also cause inflammation that may damage the tissue – a sort of double-edged sword.”
The experimental drug had proved effective at blocking the release of the harmful chemicals and reducing cognitive impairment in closed head injury. The new study found that it could also help in diffuse axonal injury (DAI), a more severe TBI affecting a widespread area. DAI can occur in motor vehicle accidents.
The researchers plan to move into clinical trials in the next couple of years. Hope does exist for these injury victims and their families.
Injuries sustained in an auto accident can result in long, frustrating recoveries. New therapies and technological advances are providing more hope all the time. You need a personal injury attorney up-to-date on these advances to stay by your side and fight for all available treatments and maximum compensation.