A lot of what we know about the long term affects of traumatic brain injury has been gathered by studying brain of the deceased, and working backwards from there. Very little research has been published up until recently about the long term outcomes of TBI in living people.
Now, researchers from the University of South Florida are studying the long-term consequences of TBI using rat models. They have found that over a long period of time, TBI results in progressive brain deterioration “characterized by elevated inflammation and suppressed cell regeneration,” according to News-Medical.net.
The study has been published in the latest issue of the journal PLOS ONE, and they did have one bit of positive news in their study. Intervention, even in chronic stages of TBI, may be able to prevent cell death.
TBI is considered an acute injury, but secondary cell death is brought on by neuroinflammation, and is made worse by damaged repair mechanisms in the brain from the injury. The long-term problems brought on by the inflammation in the brain can lead to secondary injuries, and it is believed to be the cause of TBI’s connection with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.