Suffering a brain injury is often a devastating, life-changing experience. Anything from whiplash to blows to the head can cause damage to the nerve center of our bodies. While memory and sensory abilities are frequently affected, a new study suggests that suffering a brain injury may also prime the brain to experience post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study focused military members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. For many years, it has been known that soldiers frequently experience PTSD, but are some of them at a greater risk than others? According to the results of this test, the answer is yes.
Since 2008, a link between PTSD and traumatic brain injury has been identified. Scientists determined that a larger majority of TBI patients also suffered from PTSD than those who did not have any physical injuries. It was not until recently, however, that studies are suggesting that a serious blow to the head can actually prime a brain to develop a disorder.
During the course of a TBI, the part of the brain called the amygdala can be affected. The amygdala is very vulnerable to injury and is also the location of where fear responses are regulated. In their studies, scientists showed that when the amygdala is injured, the subject is seemingly more capable of being fearful. Subjects with TBI showed significantly more receptor response in the amygdala making the emotion of fear much more pronounced.
This could be an important development in traumatic brain injury studies. For now, the studies are being used primarily to understand the effects on military members. Going forward, however, studies into the wide variety of effects of a brain injury can help everyone. Learning more about the consequences of these injuries can help the victims move on while being more educated. In the event that a person is at fault for a TBI, he or she should be held liable for the various and often long-term effects a victim may suffer.
Source: Danger Room, "Blasts to the Head 'Primed' Brains for PTSD, Study Says," Katie Drummond, Feb. 22, 2012