Brain Injuries and the Link to Parkinson’s Disease

Brain injury is  one of the most devastating injuries anyone can suffer in an accident. Even a “minor” or “mild traumatic brain injury” can leave a victim with serious long-term effects.  Impaired memory function, problems “finding” the right word, inability to follow along in conversations, and impaired “executive functioning” are common with traumatic brain injuries.  Multiple studies have confirmed these serious injuries have significant impacts on the lives of victims and their families. Worse still, researchers have now concluded that a brain injury may even increase a victim’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

In one such study, the medical records of 326,000 veterans were examined to see if there was a link between brain injury and Parkinson’s disease. Half of the veterans involved in the study had suffered a brain injury, the rest had not.  The research study compared other factors as well, insuring the subjects were of substantially similar age, general medical history, etc.  The study found a significant increase in the percentage of veterans who had suffered brain injuries and had developed Parkinson’s disease as compared to those without brain injuries.  More specifically, Veterans who had sustained moderate to severe brain injuries were found to have nearly 85 percent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Veterans who had sustained mild brain injuries had a 56 percent higher risk of developing the condition. Veterans with concussion but no documented loss consciousness – frequently considered the least serious type of brain injury – still had a 35 percent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that develops gradually over time. When a person is suffering from Parkinson’s, the neurons that are in the brain break down or they completely die off. The lack of neurons in the brain then prevents it from producing the amount of dopamine the body needs. Dopamine is a chemical that acts as a messenger to the brain that signals the control of the body’s coordination, movement control, and other key body functions, thus causing the hallmark symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

When a person is suffering from Parkinson’s, they frequently exhibit symptoms which include the following:

  •       Changes in speech 
  •       Impairment of balance
  •       Impairment of posture
  •       Loss of automatic movements
  •       Slow movement
  •       Stiffness of muscles
  •       Tremors

There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease at this time. Some sufferers can obtain a degree of relief from medications which enhance or otherwise mimic the effects of dopamine, thus improving the function of the brain and help to alleviate some of the symptoms. Nutrition and physical therapy can also help ease symptoms in some people.  Folks with advanced cases of Parkinson’s disease may possibly obtain relief through the use of implants that send signals to electronic sensors in the brain, though such treatments are invasive and are not always successful.

Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer Today

Brain injuries of any kind can cause long-term or permanent effects that require continued medical and rehabilitative care. Even injuries classified as “minor” can have a major impact on a victim’s life and their families. If you or a family member has suffered a brain injury as a result of another party’s actions or behavior, contact the brain injury lawyers at Davis & Brusca today to schedule a confidential case evaluation. A brain injury lawyer in Trenton, NJ from Davis & Brusca will determine whether anyone is liable party is for your injuries and what type of financial compensation you may be entitled to.