UCLA Study Shows Head Injuries Lead to Serious Brain Diseases
UCLA biologists have discovered how head injuries adversely affect individual cells and genes that can lead to serious brain disorders. According to a UCLA news report, the life scientists are able to provide a virtual map of the hippocampus — the part of the brain that regulates learning and memory — when it is affected by a traumatic brain injury. As part of this study, researchers studied more than 6,000 cells in 15 hippocampal cell types. Each cell has the same DNA, but which genes will vary in different cell types. This gave them a detailed understanding of the impact that brain injuries can have.
What the Study Revealed
The biologists found that hundreds of genes are adversely affected by mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. These altered genes, they found, could later lead to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases. The researchers essentially reproduced a concussion-like brain injury in mice, comparing them to other mice which had not received brain injuries. The researchers then analyzed thousands of cells in the hippocampus of both groups of mice.
They found evidence that at least 12 out of 15 cell types are negatively affected by brain trauma, some more strongly than others. They were able to see how genes that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease acted within different cell types, providing new details about how these genes act when they are affected by brain trauma.
For the first time, biologists found several genes that are affected by traumatic brain injury, which has recently been linked to neurotic behavior in humans. Traumatic brain injury has also been linked to other mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. The findings could lead to new treatments for these conditions.
Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury
Head injuries could occur as a result of everyday events such as auto accidents, slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents, contact sports, or due to acts of violence. Regardless of how these head injuries occur, they can leave individuals with lifelong disabilities. Recent studies have shown that even concussions that were previously believed to be “milder” traumatic brain injuries can result in permanent and irreversible damage to brain cells.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injury, loss of earning capacity, disability, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced brain injury lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.