Research shows head injuries could prematurely age the brain

Florida residents may be interested to know that a new study indicates serious head injuries have the potential to prematurely age the brain. The research was published in the April edition of the Annals of Neurology.

The authors of the study looked at brain scans from 99 people who had received traumatic brain injuries from assaults, falls or traffic accidents and subsequently experienced long-term neurological issues. The scans were taken anywhere from one month to several years after the initial injury and were fed into a computer model designed to estimate an individual’s age by measuring white matter and gray matter within the brain.

The researchers found that those who suffered TBIs had brains that structurally resembled the brains of older individuals, with the computer model estimating their ages to be an average of five years older than they actually were. Because brain injuries are already known to increase the likelihood of developing age-related brain disorders, such as dementia, the authors of the study believe the computer model could eventually be used to identify TBI patients who are most in danger of experiencing neurological disorders later on. The prediction model could also be used to screen individuals who appear healthy. Those who are found to have a prematurely aging brain could choose to participate in treatments and trials that attempt to inhibit the onset of neurological disease.

In addition to causing immediate health concerns, a traumatic brain injury has the potential to permanently affect a person’s life. Anyone who has suffered a TBI due to the negligent actions of another person may wish to explore their available options with an attorney. In some cases, it may be advisable to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for current and future medical expenses.

Source: US News, “Head Injuries May Prematurely Age the Brain, Study Suggests,” Robert Preidt, April 1, 2015