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– the National Law Journal

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Scientists Say ‘Network Dysfunction’ the Most Troubling Impact of TBI

Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most troubling consequences of motor vehicle crashes and other accidents. It is not just that the side effects of traumatic brain injuries — which include persistent headaches, sensory impairments, nausea, pain, personality changes and cognitive difficulties — are so severe. Traumatic brain injuries are also incredibly difficult to diagnose, making it hard for victims to get the medical treatment they need.

Still, medical researchers continue to make steady progress in the areas of brain injury diagnosis and treatment. Recently, they discovered that the structural damage to the brain that results from a traumatic impact may not be the worst consequence of a brain injury. Instead, the most severe long-term consequences may result from damage to the brain’s ability to send signals between neurons.

A study published in May in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that a traumatic brain injury can sever connections between neurons, even though the brain does not look any different. The damage is often not localized to the area where the traumatic impact occurred.

Making matters worse, the brain’s “network dysfunction” cannot be picked up by most traditional brain scans. As a result, patients do not get access to therapeutic treatments that could cure or lessen their symptoms. The problem is even worse for mild TBI sufferers, since their brains may not have the obvious structural damage that usually leads doctors to conduct further investigation into whether a patient will experience long-term impairments.

The researchers hope that their findings will lead to new tools for diagnosing brain injuries and understanding their impact, even in cases where victims do not experience structural brain damage.

How an Attorney Can Help Brain Injury Victims

The legal issues surrounding traumatic brain injuries are just as tricky as the medical concerns. As with other types of personal injury, people who suffer traumatic brain injuries in accidents caused by another person’s negligence can seek financial compensation for their injuries.

However, fair compensation depends on an accurate showing of the harm that has been done. For this reason, brain injury victims can benefit significantly from consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.

An experienced attorney will be able to rally a team of experts who can accurately assess a victim’s condition and explain it to a judge or jury. In addition, these experts will be able to work with the victim to create a comprehensive life care plan that accurately portrays the care the victim will need to continue to receive years — or even decades — down the road.

Of course, the attorney’s help is not limited to the collection of personal injury damages. An attorney can help brain injury victims work with their health insurance companies and can hold insurers accountable when they fail to uphold their duty to pay for reasonable and necessary care.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, know that help is out there. A Los Angeles brain injury attorney can help you protect your health and your legal rights.