Study Shows TBI Sufferers Could Develop Parkinson's Disease
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result when physical injury causes the brain to collide with the skull. TBIs are known to trigger a number of symptoms and conditions--including Parkinson's Disease.
November 04, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result when physical injury causes the brain to collide with the skull. TBIs are known to trigger a number of symptoms. However, researchers at the Mayo Clinic and UCLA have recently discovered a more troubling potential side affect of TBIs: Parkinson's Disease. This chronic and progressive motor system disorder is characterized by tremors, stiffness of limbs, slowness of movement and impaired balance.
Neurologist James Bowers and a team of Mayo Clinic clinicians recently reviewed medical records of 196 patients. The Mayo Clinic researchers, investigating the prevalence of head trauma to the development of Parkinson's disease, searched for past medical histories of head or brain trauma in their study group. The Bowers-lead team ultimately concluded that patients who have experienced a head injury are four times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who have never suffered a head injury.
A Closer Look
After the Mayo Clinic results were published in May 2011, UCLA researchers targeted the mechanism by which Parkinson's is linked to head trauma. Their study results were published in the August 2011 edition of the reputable UCLA journal, Neurotrauma.
In a pre-clinical study, UCLA scientists studied the phenomenon of moderate brain trauma in rats. The team discovered that a 15 percent loss in the brain cells, known as nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, occurred shortly after the trauma. Over time, the loss of these unique cells continued. After 26 weeks, up to 30 percent of these cells were lost after the initial injury. In a parallel experiment, after adding another risk factor for Parkinson, the researchers noted that the neuron loss was accelerated. While UCLA scientists suggest that traumatic brain injury does not cause Parkinson's, they do conclude that it makes a person more susceptible.
TBIs result when a physical injury such as a blow, jolt, or bump causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull. Many drivers and passengers sustain TBIs after an auto accident. Common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, personality changes, mental health issues, memory loss, and sensory sensitivity and range from mild to severe.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI each year, and deaths related to Parkinson's are on the rise. While there is currently no cure for the progressive disease, these new discoveries may be the key to prevention and more affective treatment.
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