traumatic brain injury

A Minor Head Injury Can Have Lasting Effects


The news media has been busy keeping everyone informed about the latest medical studies on brain injuries, mostly focusing on football players and the lasting effects from playing such a high contact sport. However, mild head traumas such as those received from a minor fall or a low-speed car accident can cause symptoms similar to those of a more serious head trauma. For example, a lack of responsiveness could be experienced while in recovery from a mild brain injury.

According to an article from Scientific American, a group of researchers at Newcastle University and the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh in the U.K. have released the results of a long-term study on the effects of first-time, minor head injuries. They found that these types of injuries can leave lasting traces in the brain that can be identified and mapped with scans even months after the original injury occurred.

The individuals with minor brain injuries were given cognitive tests within two weeks of their trauma, and the researchers found that they scored lower than the healthy patients who received the same tests. On a positive note, after a year, the brain trauma patients were given the same cognitive tests and scored back at the levels of healthy patients.

Medical talk aside, there are three important parts of this study to take note of. First, this type of brain imaging can help doctors determine what kind of treatment will be needed, if any, for the patient to recover and if the patient will need counseling. Second, this could be helpful in legal situations by providing evidence of head trauma even months after an accident. Third, doctors can determine a source of a patient’s earlier cognitive troubles even in the absence of other symptoms.

Visit Scientific American for information about this study, other brain studies, and the latest developments about brain trauma.