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Slowing neuron growth after head injury may prevent epilepsy

Louisiana patients who suffered a traumatic brain injury may not have learned that the excessive growth of new brain cells that result from this type of injury may not be as beneficial as once thought. It was traditionally believed that the new brain cells helped in recovery, but a study now suggests that they could cause epileptic seizures and a long-term decline in cognition.

It is estimated that 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury every year in the U.S. Depending on the severity of the brain injury, the symptoms can include personality changes, impaired thinking and memory, and depression. Some individuals even develop epilepsy. Approximately 80 percent of these individuals begin to suffer from seizures within two years after the injury occurs.

After a brain injury occurs, there is a sudden increase in the number of new neurons that are produced. Within several weeks, the production rate of new neurons decrease significantly at the rate which neurons are born. This depletes the brain cells that should be available to replace damaged ones, helping to repair the brain's network. As such, scientists are working to prevent the excessive neurogenesis that occurs immediately after the injury takes place.

Those who are involved in car accidents are at risk for suffering life-altering brain injuries. In some cases, the full effects of a brain injury are not known until years later. For example, a person could experience a decline in memory, a decline in cognition and suffer a loss of general function. In the event that the accident was due to the negligence of another driver, a personal injury attorney may assist with determining the amount of compensation for past and future medical expenses, in addition to other damages, a victim may be eligible to seek.

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