Brain Injuries and Social Challenges

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August 12, 2019
Edward Smith

Social Challenges After a TBI 

One of the biggest challenges for individuals who have suffered a head or brain injury is the impact that this has on their relationships with family members and friends. Recently, a study was published in Brain Imaging and Behavior that may shed some light on this challenge. Those who have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury may suffer from several complications, including emotional lability, rapid mood swings, and other mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. All of these issues can make it hard for individuals to maintain meaningful social connections with family and friends. It might also impact their ability to return to work or school. The goal of this study is to better understand why these problems arise. If medical professionals can understand how these social issues develop, brain injuries can be more effectively treated.

The Structure and Results of the Research Study: Imaging Scans of the Brain

Researchers used MRI scans to compare the brains of those who had suffered a TBI with those who had not. The research study participants also underwent a test of their social skills and cognition. This test focused on several different areas, including:

  • Watching people engage in social situations that occurred commonly in everyday life.
  • Answering questions about the meaning of the interactions.
  • Gauging the moods and the feelings of those involved in the interaction.

Those who had suffered a brain injury performed poorly on social interactions when compared to those who had not suffered a TBI. Individuals who had been diagnosed with a TBI had trouble picking up on social cues and interpreting the social interactions during the test.

The imaging scans also showed notable differences between those who had suffered a head injury and those who had not. Based on the MRI scans, there were significant changes in both the brainstem and the corpus callosum. The loss of this white matter connectivity may be associated with the changes that the researchers noted in social awareness and cognition.

The Role of the White Matter of the Brain

The white matter of the brain is often described as the highway of the nervous system. The white matter joins the various parts of the brain together, providing routes through which information can be distributed. In recent years, new imaging techniques have been developed that have allowed medical researchers and professionals to better visualize the structure of the brain.

The results of this study demonstrate that social skills are complex. They require information to be interpreted in several different locations of the brain to formulate a cohesive response. The white matter of the brain may play a crucial role. Without the white matter of the brainstem and corpus callosum, this can be a challenge.

Moving Forward: Social Skills and Brain Injuries

The various lobes of the brain need to work together for someone to accurately interpret and respond appropriately to certain social situations. The researchers noted that the study should be reproduced with a larger sample size to see if the results are consistent.

Watch YouTube Video: Tackling Social Challenges for Children with TBI. Hospital staff Amy Mansue discusses how rehabilitation can help children with a traumatic brain injury deal with the social challenges that can occur months or years following the injury.

Elk Grove Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Elk Grove Brain Injury Lawyer. Social challenges are common following brain injuries. If someone you love is having trouble recovering from a brain injury after suffering a traumatic accident, please give me a call at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-0002 for free, friendly legal advice.

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Image Citation: The picture found on this page was found first on Pixabay and has been shown here with permission.

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