A team of UK researchers from Newcastle University, University of Aberdeen and Edinburgh University announced the results of a study of how mild brain injuries affect the individuals on the long term. While the team studied the results of concussions, we already know that headbanging can cause brain injuries too, because of the fast sustained movement. They scanned the brains of 53 persons, out of which 44 suffered mild brain injuries and nine suffered moderate injuries two weeks after the incidents took place. A control group of 33 healthy persons was used to compare the results. The sex and education levels of the control group’s members was similar to that of the patients.
“The [study’s] focus was really on the mild end… because they’re by far the biggest group of patients when looking at TBI breakdowns— 90 percent of patients have mild to moderate injuries,” Andrew Blamire, a professor of magnetic resonance physics at Newcastle University, declared for Fox News.
Mild brain injuries can cause permanent damage to cognitive functions
Researchers employed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) as a scanning method. The healthy brain shows a very structured white area. If a brain suffers injuries, the brightness of the scan changes. To assess the severity of brain injuries, researchers used the Glasgow Coma Scale, which goes from 1 to 15. A healthy patient should score 15 points in the three parts test – eye movement, verbal activity and general movement. If a patient has a result between 12 to 15 points, it is considered to have suffered mild brain injuries. A score below nine indicates severe brain injury.
Besides the brain scans, another method to assess the effects of mild and moderate traumatic brain injuries was to ask the patients to perform thinking and memory tests. Twenty-three persons with brain injuries out of the initial 53 were a part of the study’s second stage. The participants had results with 25 percent lower compared to the control group. The results of the verbal tests were lower for the patients with increased traumatic brain injuries.
Blamire says that any indication of injury still appearing after one year is permanent. But because the cognitive functions of the patients increased after 12 months, the professor says the brain rewires itself in order to cope with the injury. The whole range of effects produced by mild brain injuries is not known yet.