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Signs Of Traumatic Brain Injury

Craig McClellan

The medical, emotional and financial costs of a traumatic brain injury are substantial. One of the most difficult changes to pinpoint, however, is the impact of a brain injury on a person's mood and behavior. A recent study of patients with chronic traumatic encephalopathy showed that some combination of cognitive, mood and behavioral disorders was to be expected with the condition. While the full extent of a brain injury may take a long time to understand, changes in behavior often manifested themselves earlier that cognitive impairment.

CTE has drawn heavy scrutiny due to its connection with several high-profile suicides among former NFL players. As discovery of the condition has only been possible during an autopsy, very little is known about its presentation while a sufferer is still alive. The condition is associated with repeated brain trauma, but is not universal. Many people who suffer from repeated brain trauma do not develop CTE.

The study showed that roughly two-thirds of the symptomatic cases of CTE were marked by explosivity, impulsivity and violence or in depression and feelings of hopelessness. These mood and behavioral changes were the first sign of the onset of CTE. The remaining one-third of victims first showed signs of cognitive impairment and only later developed mood or behavioral disorders.

It is not always simple matter to develop a comprehensive understanding of one's condition after suffering a traumatic brain injury. The treatment needs of one patient may be completely different from those of another patient despite have suffered seemingly similar injuries. More studies may help improve the prospects of those who have suffered serious head trauma.

Source: Medpage Today, " Behavior Changes Show Up Early in Traumatic Brain Injury," by Charles Bankhead, 21 August 2013