A new study just released by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and published in Brain Pathology reveals that a single traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause long-term neurodegeneration like Alzheimer’s disease, even in those who are not of advanced age.

This new study can have far reaching implications for traumatic brain injury victims who have been injured in a Georgia car accident. This provides further evidence supporting the need to seek immediate medical treatment and evaluation for any head injury suffered in an automobile or truck accident.

Over 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year according to data from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Car crash victims who suffer traumatic brain injuries often experience adverse effects including significant cognitive impairment. This new study indicates that a Georgia car accident victim may initiate impairment of long-term cognitive processes beyond the immediate effects of a TBI.

Two distinctive features characterize the brains of Alzheimer’s victims: amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques appear in the exterior of the brain neurons whereas neurofibrillary plaques are found inside the brain neurons. Neurons are the nerve cells within the brain. It is the massive presence of plaques and tangles that distinguish an Alzheimer’s patient’s brain.

In the recent study, researchers examined the brains of 39 long-term survivors of a single TBI and compared them to the brains of those who had not suffered a TBI. TBI survivors showed a significant amount of neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaque, substantially exceeding that found in test subjects who had not suffered a TBI. Approximate 33 percent of TBI victims with extensive tangle pathology exhibited the characteristic despite the fact that many years had passed since the incident that led to their TBI. The appearance of the TBI patient’s brains was similar to those who suffer repetitive TBIs and Alzheimer’s patients. The presence of amyloid plaques resembled that found in “senile” plaques which is also common in Alzheimer’s disease.

Traumatic brain injuries are far more common than most people realize. They constitute the leading cause of death among those under the age of 45 in the U.S., claiming the lives of 52,000 people per year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). TBIs are a common cause of death in car accidents that result in fatalities. TBI is a contributing factor in almost a third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S.

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of TBI. Serious trauma may occur when a driver’s head collides with the steering wheel in a car accident. Although the skull may not be penetrated or fractured, the impact can cause the brain to crash against the inside of the skull. When the driver’s head comes to an abrupt stop, the brain continues it momentum and strikes the skull. This can cause bruising of the brain (a contusion) and bleeding (hemorrhage). When a driver’s head collides with a stationary object like the windshield the brain opposite the site of impact is pulled away from the skull injuring the brain.

If you are involved in a car accident and suffer ANY head trauma, you should seek immediate medical attention regardless of the severity of your symptoms. This new study serves as a reminder that sometimes the devastating impact of a TBI may not be completely apparent until months or even years after a car crash. Obtaining immediate medical attention will help you reduce the risk of more serious, long-term consequences.

The experienced Atlanta TBI accident attorneys at Montlick Injury Attorneys.  have been representing those injured in Georgia car wrecks for over 39 years.