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Researchers urge reclassification of traumatic brain injury as chronic disease
Date:8/26/2010

mally produced by the pituitary gland, which can result in several related conditions, including growth hormone deficiency and hypothyroidism.
  • Psychiatric and psychological diseases, which are among the most disabling consequences of traumatic brain injury. Many individuals with mild brain trauma and the majority of those who survive moderate-to-severe brain injury are left with significant long-term neurobehavioral conditions. These range from aggression, confusion and agitation to obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety/mood/ psychotic disorders, major depression and substance abuse. It is also associated with high rates of suicide.
  • Non-neurologic disorders, including sexual dysfunction, which affects 40-60 percent of patients; incontinence; musculoskeletal dysfunction, or spasticity that results in abnormal motor patterns that may limit mobility and independence; and metabolic dysfunction, as brain injury appears to impact the way the body absorbs, utilizes and converts amino acids, which play a critical role in brain function.

    According to Masel and DeWitt, research suggests that the progression of symptoms seen in chronic traumatic brain injury patients may be due, in part, to defective apoptotic cell death a natural process in which cells die because they are genetically programmed to do so or because of injury or disease. It is possible that the abnormal apoptotic cell death is triggered by brain trauma, leading to an accelerated decline in cognitive function and development of disease.

    "Media coverage of traumatic brain injury among soldiers and athletes, especially football players, has highlighted the serious health problems resulting from brain injury that are experienced later in life and helped raise awareness among the general public," says DeWitt. "But until traumatic brain injury is recognized as a chronic disease, research funding won't be adequate for the work that is needed to help patients minimize or avoi
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  • Contact: Jim Kelly
    jpkelly@utmb.edu
    409-772-8791
    University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
    Source:Eurekalert

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