When brain injuries stimulate the infiltration of immune cells, it may cause inflammation and tissue damage in the brain and impair patient recovery. Thus, the brain’s recruiting of immune system cells to the brain may cause more harm than good. Johns Hopkins researchers report that they have identified how brain cells trigger a response in immune cells when the brain is injured.
As described in Science Signaling, in a new study using mice, researchers described how after a brain injury, immune cells in the brain called astrocytes released vesicles (fat-like virus-size molecules) carrying proteins, RNAs, and microRNAs into the circulation. When these vesicles reached the liver, they stimulated the secretion of cytokines that mobilized peripheral immune cells to infiltrate the brain. Researchers examined what the signal was, and how, exactly, the signal got all the way to the liver from the brain, particularly considering the blood-brain barrier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2005-2014, an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings occurred per year in the United States. Approximately one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 years old or younger; children one to four years old have the highest drowning rates.
For every death caused by drowning, five children receive emergency room care for nonfatal drowning injuries. Nonfatal drowning can cause hypoxic-ischemic brain injury that may result in long-term disabilities ranging from memory problems and learning disabilities to total loss of basic functioning (persistent vegetative state).
Increasing evidence suggests that professional athletes in contact sports are suffering brain damage as a result of concussions. For many years, doctors believed that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was limited to boxers. In that context, it was referred to as “punch-drunk syndrome.” However, pathologists are reporting similar brain damage among other athletes.
The biological processes leading to CTE may start many years before recognizable symptoms appear; however, there is no reliable test to detect CTE in its earliest stages. Often an athlete’s confusion or memory loss that is related to CTE is only confirmed following an autopsy.
Rutgers University researchers have discovered that lithium, a mood stabilizer used for decades to treat bipolar disorder and serious depression, may also help preserve brain function in patients who suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A recent study identified that 30 percent of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients experience unfavorable outcomes six months post-injury. The UPFRONT-study evaluated outpatient follow-up by health care providers in patients after mTBI. The study included both hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients.
Patients were recruited from 2013 to 2015 at trauma centers and were classified as mTBI patients under the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) guidelines. They were categorized as hospitalized or non-hospitalized (discharged directly from the emergency room). Of the 1151 patients included in the UPFRONT-study, 60 percent were admitted to the hospital; 48 percent were hospitalized for one day. The mean length of stay was 3.4 days.
In 1848, Phineas Gage, a 25 year old railroad worker, unwittingly became a benchmark of modern neuroscience. Gage was using a tamping iron to pack explosives when a spark ignited the explosive charge, propelling the iron rod through his cheek, behind his eye socket, then upwards through his brain, finally exiting the top of his skull, and landing some distance away. Gage survived, despite the fact that the tamping iron had destroyed much of his left frontal lobe.
Concussions among children playing sports are not a new phenomenon. In the decade leading up to 2009, an estimated 173,285 children and adolescents 19 and younger were treated during emergency department visits for sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). That represented a 62 percent increase in a decade. It is estimated that sports and recreational activities result in approximately 21 percent of TBIs among children in the U.S.
According to the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC), nearly 20 percent of the 2.5 million service members and veterans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan sustained at least one mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI).
A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense study aims to track mild TBI (mTBI) over a decades-long period. The federally-funded study is enrolling service members and veterans who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan. Researchers hope to follow participants for 20 years or more to better understand the long-term neurologic effects of mild TBI and other deployment-related conditions.
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), commonly known as concussion, is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. Along with impaired cognitive function, mTBI causes an array of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and irritability, referred to as post-concussion syndrome (PCS). The time it takes for symptoms to resolve in the majority of individuals is thought to be approximately three months; however, some individuals continue to experience symptoms beyond that time period. Those with persistent symptoms are said to experience persistent post-concussion syndrome.
A widely cited figure suggests that only 15 percent of individuals experiencing a first-time concussion will go on to experience long-term cognitive impairment. A recently published research article suggests that this number is likely a gross underestimation.
Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”) can happen to anyone at any time. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (“CDC”) reports that an estimated 1.7 million people sustain TBI annually in the United States. Of those people sustaining TBI, 52,000 die and 275,000 are hospitalized. Nearly 80 percent of those injured (1.365 million people) are treated and released from an emergency department.
The documentary “OVERCOMING” exposes how individuals cope with the consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury. Such consequences differ from person to person and due to the nature of TBI. Also, each person copes with the consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury in ways that differ for each individual. The goal of the documentary is to raise awareness of TBI and to provide information about its consequences.
The director/producer of the documentary, Katerina Dejkoska, is a filmmaker who was motivated by the lack of information and public awareness to explore the topic of Traumatic Brain Injury. The documentary focuses on moving on with positivity after sustaining TBI.