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Progressive damage after a brain injury

If you are noticing negative changes in your loved one's behavior lately, it may be easy to shrug it off as stress, a passing illness or a stage of life. There are rare people who do not have periods of depression or disagreeableness, so why should you worry about your family member's mood?

However, if your loved one has a history of head injuries, you may have cause for concern. Even if he or she never suffered a concussion, blows to the head can result in serious damage to the brain that may not become evident until some years later. One of the most terrifying conditions that results from multiple head injuries is chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Recognizing the signs of CTE

Athletes, especially football players, fear the suggestion that they may have CTE because it is an incurable and progressive injury. One or more blows to the head create injuries that result in the formation of proteins, which spread through the brain killing its tissue. This is why safety advocates are becoming more insistent that athletes wear protective head gear.

While athletes are the most common victims of CTE, including high school and college athletes, others may be vulnerable, such as domestic abuse victims and military personnel exposed to heavy artillery fire. Symptoms of CTE include the following that progress as the degeneration spreads:

  • The inability to make decisions
  • Confusion
  • The inability to control impulses
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Apathy and depression
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Progressive memory loss

The brain slowly atrophies, usually within the frontal lobes first, which is why the initial symptoms are typically behavioral since that part of the brain controls one's ability to make decisions. Eventually, however, your loved one may also exhibit physical symptoms that resemble Parkinson's disease, such as tremors, rigid muscles, loss of balance and a significantly slower gait. There is no cure for CTE at this point, although there are therapies and treatments to help victims deal with the behavioral problems.

Unfortunately, tests to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy are only now emerging, and most cases are confirmed through autopsies. This is why your loved one may have difficulty obtaining necessary assistance, for example through Social Security Disability or an appropriate legal action. Brain injuries of any kind bring dramatic changes to a family, and you may find you are struggling with the physical, emotional and financial burdens that result from your loved one's injury. You may find the answers to your many questions with the help of a skilled legal professional.

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Anderson & Anderson - personal injury

Anderson & Anderson
213 South Brevard Avenue
Tampa, FL 33606

Toll Free: 800-848-3024
Phone: 727-448-0072
Phone: 813-251-0072
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