Many people may have been involved in a situation where they received a slight jolt to the head while on-the-job, whether by being involved in slip-and-fall accident or by having an object fall on their head. Although some of these incidents may seem minor, even small matters involving a hit to the head can result in traumatic brain injuries. Mild cases of TBI may go undetected, as the symptoms often involve headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, muscle weakness and fatigue, which can often be signs of other common conditions, such as the flu. Yet, studies show that even mild brain injuries can cause long-term damage if left untreated and could make it difficult for people to work in the type of position they once did.
A study published in the medical journal Neurology studied patients affected by mild traumatic brain injuries. While moderate to severe brain injury cases are often visible on a regular CAT scan or MRI, mild cases are harder to diagnose. A method known as diffusion tensor imaging can, however, pick up abnormalities in the white matter of the brain, which is where mild brain injuries occur. Discoloration in the brain’s white matter shows potential areas of mild TBI and helps physicians understand what type of treatments are necessary.
Researchers used the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine the severity of the injury. They then took another scan 12 months later and found that while some patients’ condition had improved, a significant number still showed damaged brain tissue. This could cause trouble with verbal fluency and cognitive functioning.