What Are Symptoms Of A Brain Injury

There are several types of brain injury. Sometimes penetrating head injuries or falls will cause a loss of consciousness and bleeding on the brain. These types of head injuries can be detected with an MRI. But there are other closed head injuries that are more subtle and harder to detect.

Here’s an example of many brain injury cases I have handled over the years. There is a motor vehicle accident and the client is taken to the ER with complaints of nausea, headache and being dizzy. The hospital runs an MRI and it is normal. The client was not knocked out but leaves the ER woozy and foggy. Over the course of several weeks or months they start having memory problems, word finding problems, difficulty concentrating and other problems. Their family members keep saying they just aren’t the same person as before the accident. Other symptoms include headache, vomiting, loss of motor coordination, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, sleep pattern changes, violent emotional outbursts, confusion, and poor decision making. These may be signs of a closed head injury.

How Is The Brain Injured In Vehicle Accident?

In a rear-end car accident the brain to swing twist and strike the hard part of the skull. This is called a Contra-Coup injury. The rotation and movement of the brain inside the skull can cause a disruption of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers which can be microscopic and difficult to measure. This is called a Diffuse Axonal injury. This means that damage occurs over a widespread area. It can be a major cause of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state. It happens in about half of all cases of severe head trauma.

What Are The Types Of Brain Injuries?

The first type is penetrating injury. It is a focalized injury that causes a subdural hematoma or “brain bleed” This is usually detected by an MRI or CT-scan. Surgery is sometimes necessary to stop the bleeding. However, there can be a significant brain injury that does not appear on medical imaging such as an MRI. This is cause a closed head injury. A person can suffer a brain injury and their MRI or CT scan can be normal because an MRI is not sensitive enough to pick up the microscopic changes in the brain. It is not necessary to have been “knocked out” to suffer a head injury.

How Do You Confirm A Brain Injury?

In injuries that cause bleeding of the brain CT scans and MRI can usually detect a brain injury.

For closed head injuries with no “brain bleed” one of the best diagnostic tools to determine a brain injury is to have a battery of neuropsychological tests run. These tests are designed to help isolate the area of the brain affected and can pick up changes in memory and executive functioning. This testing is performed by a specialized medical practitioner called a neuropsychologist. They are usually are psychologists that have specialized training in traumatic brain injuries

The newest technology is a medical device known as the Biograph mMR and it is a whole body simultaneous positron emission topography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device. The Biograph mMR is a scanner that combines the two most powerful imaging tools. The MRI can point to abnormalities in the body and the PET can tell doctors the metabolic activity of the abnormality.


Law Offices of Hugh Howerton
13030 Rummel Creek
Houston, Texas 77079
877.984.9848 (toll free)
Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization

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