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What do scientists know about brain injuries so far?

In the last few decades, there has been a lot of research conducted around brain injuries and the effect they can have on a person. The more research that is conducted, the more we begin to understand the severity of these injuries and the danger they pose to sufferers across the nation.

So what do scientists know about brain injuries so far? Let's take a look.

One thing that scientists and doctors have known for years now is how a person suffers a traumatic brain injury. When a person receives a blow to the head, the brain continues to move, slamming into the skull and causing injury. Depending on the force applied to the head and whether the person was wearing protective equipment or not will determine the severity of the injury.

Another thing researchers are learning is how best to treat brain injuries. Most doctors consider even a mild concussion something to be concerned about, which is why new standards for rest and recovery are being developed to prevent further injury down the road.

In recent years, researchers have also learned that multiple brain injuries can lead to a serious degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- a disease which we outlined in a September post. Even suffering a second concussion can lead to a rare complication called "second impact syndrome," which causes the brain to swell.

Though this may all sound bad, there is a silver lining: science and advancements in technology have provided us with new ways of detecting head injuries. This new technology can help doctors better identify a brain injury and its severity, which then leads to more specialized treatments for their patients. In the end, using this technology may provide the treatments necessary to prevent future CTE cases as well.

Source: NBC News, "Headed for Disaster: What We Know About Traumatic Brain Injury," Miranda Leitsinger, Dec. 2, 2014

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