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Brain Injuries Are Not Diagnosed Immediately After An Accident

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Traumatic Brain Injuries May Not Be Easily Diagnosed Immediately Following an Accident

A Diffuse Axonal Injury is a Common Injury Suffered in a Car Accident

Car Accidents, especially rear end collisions, can result in whiplash injuries in which the head snaps back and then forward, usually striking the steering wheel or windshield and then back again, usually striking the seat. This motion and impacts causes the brain to crash violently against the inside of the skull. Unlike hematomas, which cause damage by compressing or displacing brain tissue and result in increased intracranial pressure and are evidenced on an MRI or CT scan by visible focal neurosurgical lesions (bruising), diffuse axonal injuries can extremely difficult to diagnose. Often times a diffuse axonal injury will not be visible on an MRI or CT scan. There have been instances where the patient is in a coma caused by a diffuse axonal injury and yet the same patient has a clear MRI or CT scan.[1]

What is a Diffuse Axonal Injury

The brain is comprised of different layers. By way of example the gray matter is near the surface and the white matter of the brain is deep inside. The axons are long thin nerve fibers that can extend across several layers of brain. When the whiplash injury occurs the layers of the brain accelerate at differing speeds and actually slide against one another. This sliding can cause the axons to be stretched, stressed or broken. This stretching or breaking of the axon can cause cognitive issues because nerve impulses travel the length of the axons and any disruption (stretches or breaks) in the pathway causes issues with brain function. The type and severity of the interference depends upon the location of the axon and degree to which the transmission has interrupted.

The Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury May Worsen Over Time

The symptoms of a traumatic may be subtle and may not even be noticed until you return to normal activities or they might be very pronounced. The most common symptoms include:

1. Headaches;
2. Nausea or vomiting;
3. Fatigue or drowsiness;
4. Difficulty sleeping;
5. Dizziness;
6. Convulsions or seizures;
7. Dilation of one or both pupils;
8. Loss of coordination;
9. Confusion;
10. Memory loss;
11. Slurred speech;
12. Irritability; and
13. Depression.

Up until fairly recently, it was widely believed that brain injuries were complete at the moment of impact. New studies indicate that this is a myth and actually traumatic brain injuries typically get worse over time. Examination of the brain 12 hours after trauma can reveal that neurological and cognitive function has actually gotten worse than it was during the initial examination immediately following the trauma.[2]

Myth – Complete Recovery

Doctors are beginning to realize and studies confirm that a complete recovery from a traumatic brain injury is a myth. The axon will regenerate, but such regeneration declines with age. Furthermore, the regenerated axons are less efficient than the pre-accident axons. Also, high achievers, those that utilize and rely upon the processing speed of their brains may notice a marked decline in function and cognitive ability while those that place less demand on their brains notice no cognitive impairments. In other words, the impairments are likely to be present, but some people may not notice.

Contact Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident and suffered a head injury? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707



[1] https://formerf1doc.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/diffuse-axonal-injury/

[2] http://subtlebraininjury.com/concussion-risk-factors

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio