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Study reveals that metabolism can gauge risk of traumatic injury

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have found that repeat brain injuries can leave a person more susceptible to further traumatic brain injury. The university's Brain Injury Research Center simulated brain injuries in rats, testing rats with a single brain injury and others with several traumatic injuries and measuring cerebral glucose metabolism. Their goal was to test the hypothesis that the rats' brains would be more vulnerable to traumatic brain injury one day after the original injury, rather than five days later. This is because the glucose metabolism would still be low one day after the injury, and would be increased to normal levels five days later. The study found that glucose metabolism levels can be a benchmark for measuring the vulnerability of children to repeat brain trauma.

The findings are relevant to humans because over 3.5 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries per year, and suffering another brain injury while still recovering from the initial incident can result in a poorer prognosis and a slower long-term recovery. This is especially true for children and young adults, whose brains are still developing.

Brain injuries can have tremendous consequences for the victims. Many of these injuries require lifelong medical care and around-the-clock medical attention. Many victims suffer symptoms such as permanent memory loss or paralysis, and thus cannot go back to work. Many victims of traumatic brain injuries are confined to a wheelchair. The potential consequences of such injuries cannot be understated.

Fortunately, anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another is entitled to monetary compensation in the form of damages from the defendant. They may recover damages to cover lost wages, medical bills, and ongoing medical care. A personal injury lawsuit can help put victims of a traumatic brain injury and their families back on the right track.

Source: UPI.com, "Brain metabolic rate may be biomarker for repeat traumatic injury," January 27, 2013.

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