One of the most potentially devastating injuries accident victims can suffer is brain injuries. What many victims do not realize, however, is that even a minor injury to the brain can leave a victim with long-term effects. Multiple studies have found that these effects can have a significant impact on a victim’s life. Recently, it has been determined by researchers that a brain injury may even increase a victim’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
In one study, the medical records of 326,000 veterans were examined. Half of the veterans had suffered a brain injury. Each of these brain injury victims was matched with another veteran of similar age who had not suffered any brain injury. There was a significant difference in the percentages of veterans who had suffered brain injuries who had developed Parkinson’s disease and the veterans who had not suffered brain injuries.
Veterans who had sustained moderate to severe brain injuries had almost 85 percent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Veterans who had sustained mild brain injuries had a 56 percent higher risk of developing the condition. Veterans who had never lost consciousness – which is considered the least serious type of brain injury, still had a 35 percent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that develops gradually over time. When a person is suffering from Parkinson’s, the neurons that are in the brain break down or they completely die off. The lack of neurons in the brain then prevents it from producing the amount of dopamine the body needs. Dopamine is a chemical that acts as a messenger to the brain that signals the control of the body’s coordination, movement control, and other key body functions.
When a person is suffering from Parkinson’s, they may be suffering from the following symptoms:
- Changes in speech
- Impairment of balance
- Impairment of posture
- Loss of automatic movements
- Slow movement
- Stiffness of muscles
Currently, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. Some sufferers can get some relief through medications that enhance or mimic the effects of dopamine, and this helps alleviate some of the symptoms. Nutrition and physical therapy can also help with symptoms. For people who have advanced cases of Parkinson’s disease, some relief may be found through implants that send signals to electronic sensors in the brain.
Have You Been Injured?
If you or a family member is suffering from a traumatic brain injury received as a result of another person’s negligence or recklessness, contact a dedicated North Carolina brain injury attorney. Our personal injury firm also offers a free brain injury guide that can help answer some of your questions regarding TBI and injury law. Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help.