Forensic Science Newsletter May 2016: Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Neuropathology Introduction

MRI Scan: Neuropathology of Traumatic Brain InjuryIn this issue of the Forensic Science Newsletter we will address the most recent scientific information regarding the acute effects of traumatic brain injury as represented by concussion in adults.

Concussion refers to an immediate, usually reversible episode of brain dysfunction following traumatic brain injury (TBI), typically, but not always, with sudden brief impairment of consciousness and loss of memory.  Concussion represents the mildest form of TBI.  TBI comprises a clinical spectrum that extends from mild concussion, in which consciousness is often retained, to severe diffuse traumatic axonal injury (TAI) causing an unresponsive wakefulness state (UWS), which was formally referred to as a vegetative state.  Patients with UWS have sleep wake cycles, intact cardiorespiratory function and primitive responses to stimuli but without evidence of inner or outer awareness present for at least one month.

Concussions can occur by any traumatic etiology including falls from sufficient height, motor vehicular accidents, non-penetrating blast injuries, domestic violence, or other physical traumatic events, which occur during many contact sports, such as football, hockey, basketball, etc. They can also occur during combat sports, which have a specific goal of inducing a concussion in the opponent, such as boxing, mixed martial arts, etc.

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Forensic Science Newsletter May 15, 2016

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