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Brain injury study looks at duration of TBI symptoms

Brain trauma can happen in many ways, from the whiplash forces unleashed in a car crash to the hard impact of skull with pavement when a pedestrian is struck by a car or truck. One of the greatest challenges in helping head injury victims obtain compensation in a personal injury lawsuit is fully assessing and anticipating the extent and duration of harm caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI).

A recent study from the University of Oklahoma found that concussive trauma to the head suffered by combat soldiers can lead to years of memory loss, dizziness, headaches and other difficulties. The study looked at 500 veterans who had suffered TBIs in Iraq and Afghanistan before receiving treatment at the Oklahoma City VA's brain injury clinic.

The most troubling conclusion of the brain injury study: the rate of post-concussion syndrome symptoms did not diminish over time. In addition to headaches and dizziness, those symptoms include problems with physical coordination, balance and decision making, as well as chronic depression. The lead author of the study told the New York Times that the symptoms actually tend to get slightly worse over time.

The benefit of performing such a study on military personnel is obvious: clear documentation of the cause of injury, uniform medical records and the ability to review patient progress by a single health care provider, the VA. Nonetheless, the effects of injuries suffered by soldiers in combat due to blasts have many similarities to those suffered by injury victims in car accidents, motorcycle accidents and other circumstances that lead to head trauma.

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