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Personal injury claim news – Traumatic brain injury may lead to Parkinson’s

30th August 2011

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) found that brain-injured rats had, on average, 15 per cent fewer nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in their brains shortly after suffering brain trauma, leading to a 30% reduction after 26 weeks.

In humans, these neurons assist with motor skills and neurological behaviours and Parkinson’s sufferers typically display akinesia (movement problems), postural tremor and rigidity.

A reduction in the number of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons may lead to the body reducing the amount of dopamine it produces and, as such, regulation of movement, amongst other things, will be affected.

It is believed that the UCLA study has revealed that any traumatic brain injury such as those suffered in a car accident, fall from height or sports accident can leave an individual at greater risk of developing PD. Furthermore, when combined with exposure to the common, and toxic, pesticide paraquat, a known risk factor for Parkinson’s, the rate of loss of dopaminergic neurons increased.

Senior author of the report Dr. Marie-Francoise Chesselet, a UCLA professor of neurology, said, “We found that with a moderate traumatic brain injury, the loss of neurons was too small in number to cause Parkinson’s disease, but it is enough to increase the risk of PD.

“By decreasing the number of dopaminergic neurons, any further insult to the brain will be attacking a smaller number of neurons; as a result, the threshold for symptoms would be reached faster.”

Traumatic traumatic brain injury victims who are at greater risk of developing PD may need to consider this when making a claim for accident compensation because if their physical or mental condition worsens after a claim is settled fully, they would have no redress through the courts.

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