Head injuries don’t have to be noticeably severe to damage the brain. In fact, scientists say even a small bump to the head can affect how a person thinks and their ability to remember.
Research at the University of Newcastle compared the brains of 53 people who sustained slight head injuries just days earlier with those of 33 people who had not suffered any head injuries at all.
Both groups took part in tests to measure their mental abilities. The scores were a quarter lower for those in the injured group, and the scientists found their brain nerve fibres were disrupted.
Tests a year later found the scores were more or less the same between both groups, but damage to the brains of those who were injured was still evident.
Car accident victims
The mild head injuries were typically caused by minor car accidents or falls from bicycles, according to the leader of the research Dr Andrew Blamire.
A brain injury is usually classed as mild if the person who suffered it did not lose consciousness or was not dazed for more than 30 minutes.
He says nine in 10 injuries that cause brain trauma are classed between mild and moderate in severity, so the study findings are particularly important.
Dr Blamire says a person’s ability to think improves over time after an injury, as their brain has time to effectively reconnect its nerve fibres.
Brain ‘compensates for injuries’
He adds that after time the damage to the brain becomes more evident in particular parts and he believes this is because the organ is able to compensate for injuries.
The team have made the findings of their research public in the Neurology online journal.
If you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Accident Advice Helpline to see if you could be entitled to compensation.
Source: Medical Daily