Is Inflammation of the Brain a Cause of Traumatic Brain Injury?

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Traumatic brain injuries are caused by sharp blows or jolts to the head, but researchers are now looking at what mechanisms cause the long-term effects related to traumatic brain injury. While a lot of focus has been on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has been found in some former professional football players, there may be another mechanism, one that is possibly treatable, that may be responsible for the brain damage and neuropsychological issues associated with traumatic brain injury.

According to a recent article published in the scientific journal Neurotherapeutics, the chronic problems associated with traumatic brain injury may actually stem from long-term inflammation of the brain. The two authors of the article, Dr. Alan Faden and Dr. David Loane, view this inflammation as the main cause of the symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury.

How is chronic brain inflammation related to traumatic brain injury? The two researchers note that repeated concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries can trigger a persistent, chronic inflammation of the brain. According to recent brain imaging studies, such chronic brain inflammation may be quite common after a moderate traumatic brain injury or repeated mild traumatic brain injuries.

If brain inflammation is indeed the main mechanism responsible for the brain damage and neuropsychological issues associated with traumatic brain injuries, the article’s authors contend that focus should be placed on the potential of treating such inflammation. Recent research suggests that treatment of the chronic brain inflammation caused by traumatic brain injury may be treatable.

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