New Study Indicates That A Smell Test Could Indicate Traumatic Brain Injury

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brain scanAccording to a new study, doctors may be able to assess patients for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) by using the patient’s sense of smell.

The study involved 231 military members who were being treated for injuries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The soldiers were all evaluated for brain injuries, and also had their sense of smell tested. According to researchers, every soldier who failed the smell test had abnormalities on his or her brain scan.

The brain uses both its olfactory system and its memory to interpret smells. When a person smells a scent, that scent is linked to a specific memory—for example, a person who smells onions is able to recall what an onion is through using the brain’s memory. When a person’s memory is not functioning, as is the case with TBIs or Alzheimer’s disease, the brain will not be able to correctly identify the scent.

The study, which was funded by the Department of Defense, may allow physicians on the front lines of war zones to determine which soldiers need to be treated for a traumatic brain injury and which are likely okay. Though this research was done with the hope of assisting the military, the research could also be used to help doctors identify brain injuries in accident victims.

Traumatic brain injuries can hide from doctors. Though severe head injuries have obvious symptoms, people who have suffered from mild brain injuries may go their entire lives without realizing that changes in their behavior were caused by trauma to the brain.

In a case of mild brain injury, usually characterized by a concussion or a period of unconsciousness, the person may suffer from daily annoyances like poor memory or emotional outbursts. By using the smell test, doctors may be able to identify traumatic brain injuries in people who may not realize that they have any symptoms. It is possible that people with mild brain injuries may find great relief from their symptoms once they start treating the brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause a wide range of symptoms, from minor annoyances to severe and devastating mental and physical disabilities. TBI patients often need years of treatment and therapy in order to regain function, and many are never able to work again. With this loss of income potential, many TBI patients need financial assistance in order to make ends meet.

If you or your family member suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your injury. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., our dedicated medical and legal staff will evaluate your injury and your medical case history, and will help you receive the compensation you deserve. Bradley I. Kramer is both a medical doctor and an attorney, and has the unique expertise you need on your side to fight back after an injury.

For a free consultation, contact us by calling (310) 289-2600 and speak with an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney today.

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