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After damage is suffered, can the brain injury process be stopped?

In previous blogs, we've discussed the complex nature of the human brain and the numerous, varied and mysterious ways that an injury to the brain can adversely affect those who are impacted. While much about the human brain's functioning remains unknown, today's scientists are making strides in brain injury research.

Motor vehicle accidents, sports-related accidents and falls are among the most common causes of brain injuries. When an individual suffers a blow to the head or experiences rapid and violent head motions, his or her brain warps. When this occurs, brain cells may suffer damage which, over the course of two or three days, can result in the brain cell's death. But what if you could take action to prevent damaged brain cells from dying?

This question is one that, Barclay Morrison, a biomedical engineering professor at Columbia University along with his research team, are attempting to solve. Morrison notes that his efforts to "understand how the mechanical blow gets translated into biological damage," may eventually be used to develop drugs and treatments that can "halt the process midway."

As part of Morrison's research, he and his team examine the effects that simulated injuries have on the brains of laboratory rats. Using these techniques, the research team is able to simulate how the brain would react to a car accident or sports-related concussion. Samples of damaged brain tissue can then be examined to determine how the brain reacts, when injury occurs and the widow between an initial injury and brain cell death.

While research like this is important and may eventually lead to the development of important drugs and treatments, currently, brain injuries account for approximately 30 percent of "all injury-related deaths in the U.S." For the individuals who are directly impacted or who have a loved one that is impacted by a brain injury, life is never the same. In cases where a brain injury and the related cognitive and physical disabilities result from a car or sports accident, it's wise to consult with an attorney.

Source: Science Line, "Scientists have injury on the brain: Sample-stretching technique lets researchers study brain injuries using living tissue," Shira Polan, Oct. 4, 2015

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