According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.7 million people in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Experts estimate that the cost of TBIs – including both direct medical costs and lost work productivity – reaches tens of billions of dollars annually. Traumatic brain injuries are, indeed, a serious health problem in the United States.
Recent studies indicate that the problem of TBIs may be worse than doctors previously believed. Medical experts once thought that the most common effects of TBIs – including headaches, dizziness, depression, changes in personality and difficulty making decisions – were short-term: so long as a person rested and received the right treatment, the worst effects of TBIs would dissipate over time. Research now shows that that may not be the case.
University of Oklahoma Study
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma recently published the findings of a study they conducted in conjunction with the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center regarding the long-term effects of TBIs. Researchers examined a group of 500 veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who were being treated at a special headache unit. Each of the patients had screened positive for a TBI during deployment between June 2008 and April 2011. Doctors asked the group of patients to describe the persistence and severity of common effects of TBIs. They divided the data according to whether a patient had suffered a TBI within four years or between five to eight years before the study.
Unfortunately, the findings were less than encouraging. Almost half of those who had suffered a TBI within four years of the study reported that they were still having mild to moderate headaches. 46 percent reported that they were still experiencing severe headaches. The numbers were no better for those who had suffered a TBI between five to eight years before the study: 45 percent reported mild to moderate headaches and 51 percent reported severe headaches. Researchers saw the same data pattern for other TBI symptoms.
More research is necessary to discover whether early recognition and treatment make a difference for TBI patients long-term. Researchers also plan to explore which treatments show the best results.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or other catastrophic injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can assess your case and help you get the fair and adequate compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. For more information about what a personal injury lawyer can do for you, contact an attorney today.