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Study examines brain cell death after trauma

Traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of serious disability and death in Colorado every year. After a TBI the damage done is not always apparent. Scientists are researching how injuries can affect brain tissue to better understand what happens at the cellular level.

When there is a sudden blow to the head, such as in a car accident or slip and fall, a common misconception is that brain damage occurs when the brain bounces around inside of the skull. Instead, according to scientists, the brain's texture is similar to gelatin. The individual cells inside the skull may become damaged and warped when jostled inside the skull.

Scientists are studying rat brain tissue to determine how cell death occurs. In the lab, scientists can simulate the types of injuries caused by events such as an explosion, a car accident or a sports injury. The goal of the research is to study how a brain injury could be treated at its early stages to prevent it from getting worse. Researchers believe that the brain tissue study in rats may help lead to development of drugs that can halt the damage caused by a brain injury within the first two or three days after the incident. The next step in research is to study the effects of injuries in real-life situations outside the controlled environment of the lab.

The effects of a brain injury can be life-changing and permanent, requiring a person to undergo long-term care. Those who recover may need to spend prolonged periods of time undergoing rehabilitation and incur costly medical expenses. If the injury was caused by the negligence of another person, an attorney might assist the victim by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party seeking compensation for the damages that have been incurred.

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