Hope for victims of traumatic brain injury often comes in unusual places, but the discovery of microbiomes in the fecal matter of chronic brain injury victims may be one of the most unexpected. In research recently published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, researchers made unexpected findings studying the human waste of chronic TBI victims. While this may sound strange, this discovery also offers the promise of new treatments for TBIs.
Specifically, the fecal microbiome of chronic TBI victims was found to be missing several species of Prevotella and Bacteroidies which are commonly found in human waste, while at the same time demonstrating elevated levels of Ruminococcacaceae. At this point, the precise medical triggers for these differences in fecal microbiomes is not fully understood, but researchers believe that learning more about what is behind these biomarkers will lead to therapeutic targets that will help TBI victims have a longer and better quality of life.
Researchers found that in cases of mild TBI, there were alterations in the gut metabolism arising soon after injury, including increased inflammation in the intestines, more permeability and malabsorption. These researchers related this to symptoms which can develop in minor TBI victims even several years after their injury, which may result in altered cognition and substantial fatigue. It is noteworthy that these researchers hope that knowledge gained from studies will directly lead to new treatment mechanisms including replacement of the dysbiotic intestinal community by transplant in order to improve symptoms and outcomes.
In publishing this report, researchers noted how little is known about the long-term consequences of even mild traumatic brain injury, explaining that such injuries are documented to increase the risk for other neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The TBI morbidities related to these intestinal disorders are called Brain Injury Associated Fatigue and Altered Cognition (BIAFAC).
Regrettably, the term “mild” traumatic brain injury is misleading and experts in the field confirm that “mild” TBI is a profoundly serious and often permanent condition. While in the past, concussions and post-concussion disorder has been dismissed by some as a “minor” injury with no long-term consequences, advances in medical science reveal that the significance of these injuries, both short-term and in the future. Cognitive deficits in mild TBI cases can appear more than a year after the injury, including things such as post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and loss in sleep quality. Studies also reveal that cognitive deficits and brain function can be impacted into the future. Ongoing post-concussion syndrome symptoms can also include severe headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration and memory, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
We frequently represent victims of concussions from auto accidents and other injuries, and we find the insurance companies routinely fail to take these cases seriously or recognize the established medical science regarding the significance of these injuries. In one case where our client was rear-ended and suffered a mild-TBI with symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, the at-fault driver’s insurance company made an initial settlement offer of $400 (yes, four hundred!).
The insurance company dismissed the concussion as a minor injury, even though our client’s doctors documented significant ongoing problems and our client was taken off of work for months related to the injury. We continued to fight, and ultimately obtained a judgment forcing the insurance company to pay more than $900,000 to resolve the case. In another case involving a mild-TBI caused by a semi-truck accident, we were able to recover $1,750,000 after documenting the seriousness of post-concussion syndrome and impacts of PTSD.
Every case is unique, and if you know someone who has suffered a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, let us know so that we can provide you with a case evaluation in your specific circumstances. In our experience, mild-TBI cases are unique and a full recover requires knowing how to document the seriousness and long term consequences of an injury which deceivingly has the word “mild” in its name.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.
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