Damage to the Neurons in a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries are serious. A blow to the head or neck area can damage the neurons inside the brain. The neurons are the individual cells inside the brain that speak with other cells using electrical connections. These connections are called synapses, which are vital to the structure and function of the neurons. There are three different types of neurons. These include:
- Sensory neurons that react to external stimuli in the environment such as light, pressure, temperature, and sound.
- Motor neurons that react to signals from the brain and control the muscles of the body.
- Interneurons which connect neurons to each other.
Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries have the potential to damage these vital electrical connections within the body. Some of the most common ways that people might suffer a head or brain injury include:
- Sustaining a blow to the head while playing sports such as football or soccer.
- Involvement in a road traffic accident such as an auto accident or a motorcycle collision.
- A slip and fall injury on a wet floor, a staircase, or even an icy sidewalk.
- Involvement in a physical assault.
Trauma to the Brain Leads to Demyelination
When someone suffers a blow to the head, there are tremendous impacts on the function of the nerves inside the brain. There are numerous ways that the nerves of the brain are damaged following a severe accident. This includes:
- Swelling of the brain that compresses the nerves, leading to damage.
- An increase in the intracranial pressure of the brain, creating an inhospitable environment for the nerve cells.
- A bleed in the brain that could deprive the neuronal cells of their oxygen and nutrients.
When the neurons are deprived of oxygen and nutrients are compressed by external forces, this can lead to a process called demyelination. The neurons of the brain transmit and receive signals electrically. The myelin sheath protects the nerves and helps to transmit these signals. The myelin sheath acts as insulation for the neuronal axons, which carry the signals. Without this myelin sheath, the neurons are prone to significant damage and are unable to transmit their signals effectively.
Axonal Damage Following a Traumatic Brain Injury
As an electrical signal travels between neurons, it is transmitted along the axons of the nerves. The axons are the long fibers that transmit signals from place to place. These axons are the primary way that neurons transmit signals. In a TBI, the axons of the nerves are also damaged. Because the axons are long and thin, they are prone to suffering damage. Some of the hallmarks of axonal injury include:
- Swelling of the axons to the point of rupturing.
- Degeneration of the small organelles inside of the axon.
- Ultimate disintegration of damaged nerves by the body itself.
This axonal damage is what leads to the symptoms and complications of a severe traumatic brain injury. As the axons degenerate, the symptoms of a TBI will start to appear. In some cases, this can lead to permanent complications.
Detecting Neuronal Damage: The Signs and Symptoms
Neuronal damage is one of the hallmarks of a severe traumatic brain injury. As the neurons start to die, it can be visualized on an imaging scan. Immediately after the injury, the damage to the neurons might not be apparent. Over time, as the brain scars following a TBI, the grey and white matter of the brain will start to blur. This will become evident on imaging scans such as a TBI. As these neurons die, vital body processes will begin to fade. Some of the symptoms of neuronal damage include:
- Difficulty moving certain parts of the body.
- Trouble coordinating complex bodily movements.
- Feelings of numbness and tingling on certain parts of the body.
- Chronic pain in one or more limbs.
- Difficulty with judgment and executive functioning.
While new treatment and physical therapy might be able to stop the development of specific symptoms, some neuronal damage after a TBI is permanent. This can have significant impacts on an individual’s quality of life.
Watch YouTube Video: Definition of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. This educational animated video explains the causes and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries.
Contacting a Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain injuries are always serious, and everyone should seek appropriate medical care. Unfortunately, the complications of a TBI can place not only the individual but also their loved ones under a tremendous amount of stress. In this situation, it is essential for families to speak with a traumatic brain injury attorney in Vacaville. Some of the resources that a lawyer could provide include:
- Reviewing of important documents related to the accident, ensuring that none of the details have been overlooked.
- Pursuing damages that are related to brain injury, complications, and even emotional distress.
- Negotiating with financial institutions to make sure that all of the bills are on time and all of the benefits are disbursed in full.
- Taking a case to trial when required.
Finally, families need to remember that they do not need to face this tough situation alone. Reach out to a Vacaville brain injury attorney. You and your family could be entitled to a significant financial award.