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3 Surprising Causes of Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its causes have been all over the news in the last few years. Headlines on the effect of concussions suffered in football have provoked an ongoing national conversation. The effect of the repeated pummelings boxers endure has become increasingly clear. Lack of oxygen to the brain during birth or surgery, and its effect on brain functioning, is well-known.

But sometimes the causes of brain injury are very unexpected, like these three.

Surprising Cause #1: The Immune System

The body’s immune system springs into action to protect us from disease and the effects of injury. It should always be positive, right?

Well, research published in the medical journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications indicates that the immune system’s workings may have unexpected effects on brain functioning. The authors suggest that head trauma causes deterioration of the barrier between blood and brain. As a result, the blood’s immune cells — which normally have no contact with brain cells — begin to destroy the cells in the brain.

The study, performed on mice, indicates that preventing one of the elements of the immune system would stop the damage.

The authors believe that, if the effects of prevention can be extrapolated to humans, it could hold out hope for treatment of athletes who have suffered TBI.

Surprising Cause #2: Practice Drills

When we think of football-induced concussions and TBI, we often think of game day. It’s natural to think of the hardest hits occurring when the fans are in the stands and the result deeply matters to standings and scores.

Well, researchers at Virginia Tech have actually found that the strongest hits in football may happen during practice drills. Popular and often repeated drills, such as King of the Circle, thus need to be reviewed and evaluated to ensure maximum safety for the players.

Surprising Cause #3: Status and Power

People who have attained more status and power than others, whether they lead corporations or perform in mass media, may act as though their egos are large and their self-regard high. But do they act like someone with TBI?

Well, they might. Researchers from both the University of California at Berkeley and Canada’s McMaster University have noticed that people with positions of high power and status do act like TBI sufferers. They may behave very impulsively and take on large risks without being aware of the dangers.

Why? Well, at least one person who has studied the brains of people with high status believes that their brain chemistry might inhibit a neural process known as “mirroring.” Mirroring is why people who frequently work together tend to take on similar expressions and body language: they are unconsciously imitating the group.

But mirroring also gives information about how people and groups behave and what they collectively think. The more power people gain, the more they may lose their capacity to realize these cultural cues.

Bad Concussion? Call a Los Angeles TBI Lawyer

TBIs, whether they stem from unusual causes or the ones headlines have caused us to know so well, can have seriously negative consequences that can last for the long-term. If you or a loved one is suffering from the disabling side effects of traumatic brain injury in southern California, call Ellis Injury Law today at 1-800-INJURED for a complimentary consultation. We have the resources and knowhow to investigate the causes of your injury and gather hard evidence proving beyond a doubt who is at fault. Call a traumatic brain injury lawyer Los Angeles trusts today to see how much your case is worth!

Additional Resources on Little-Known Causes of TBI:

  1. BMC. “Head injury causes the immune system to attack the brain.” https://www.biomedcentral.com/about/press-centre/science-press-releases/20-oct-2014-.
  2. News 7, KWLL. “New study reveals surprising cause of head injuries.” August 25, 2016. https://www.biomedcentral.com/about/press-centre/science-press-releases/20-oct-2014-.
  3. Useem, Jerry. “Power Causes Brain Damage.” The Atlantic. July/August 2017. https://www.biomedcentral.com/about/press-centre/science-press-releases/20-oct-2014-