Brain injury, head trauma may lead to degenerative brain disease in later years, study says

Michael Pines, Brain Injury Lawyer in La Jolla

by Michael Pines, Brain Injury Lawyer in La JollaBy Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert

When an individual sustains a brain injury, there’s no doubt that every facet of life is gravely affected. That’s because the brain is a sophisticated, fragile organ that, when damaged, can lead to speech, mental and physical impairment. Experts say that even the slightest form of brain injury, such as damage sustained through sports activity, can lead to degenerative brain disease later on in life compared to others without brain injury.

The scientific journal


published a new study that concluded repeated forms of brain damage was likely to lead to long-term, degenerative brain disease. The study, based on brain samples taken posthumously from 85 individuals who were known to have sustained repeated forms of brain injury, added to existing research that indicates repeated damage to the brain could lead to permanent, debilitating injury.

Eighty percent of all brain samples studied showed evidence of “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” or CTE – a degenerative brain disease that can lead to memory loss, cognitive impairment, depression, dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease. Of the group studied, nearly all damage was sustained by professional sports injury.

Experts predict many individuals may be living with CTE today, although the actual numbers are relatively unknown.

“It’s a gambler’s game to try to predict what percentage of the population has this,” said Chris Nowinski, a co-author of the study and a co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine in a statement at the New York Times. “Many of the families donated the brains of their loved ones because they were symptomatic. Still, this is probably more widespread than we think.”


Children are especially susceptible to brain injury since school sports and after-school activities can lead to concussions or even temporary brain swelling. When it comes to avoiding head injuries in school, the following 4 tips should always be a part of your child’s routine.

Ensure your child is well-equipped with proper safety gear at all times. Helmets are the first defense against brain injury, so if your child engages in sports like football or baseball, it’s important to have your child fitted into a proper helmet to avoid head injury. Bicycle helmets should always meet or exceed US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements.

It’s a good idea to get your child a physical each year prior to engaging in any sports-related activities if it isn’t already required by the school. A physician should always give your child a full clear to engage in school sports.

Because a large portion of all children’s brain injuries occur as a result of car accidents, it’s a good idea to use booster seats even when your child exceeds the legal requirement in California (8 years of age or 4’9” in height). Many booster seats can protect children up to 100 pounds.

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The Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC is a personal injury law firm representing individuals who have sustained a brain injury as a result of a car accident in San Diego.