traumatic brain injury

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month In Ontario

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Ontario.  According to the Brain Injury Association of Canada, it is estimated that thousands of Canadians suffer a traumatic brain injury each year – the majority being young adults.  Statistics indicate that the incidence of brain injury is two times greater in men.  There is no question that brain injury has become a significant medical and societal concern within the last 30 years.  We only have to turn on the television to see the ongoing debates about the proliferation of brain injuries sustained by professional athletes.

Notwithstanding the fact that brain injuries are a tragic reality, we all share hope for a better future through the positive medical advances being made in neuroscience.  Scientists continue to work toward a greater understanding of how the brain works (and how to fix it when something happens).  For instance, scientists are still learning about the role oxygen plays in the brain.  One study suggests that engaging in exercise, which increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, does a better job at increasing mental performance versus those who play mind puzzles.  However, another oxygen related study suggests that oxygen itself may actually triggering brain damage when a person has suffered a stroke.  When a stroke occurs and the brain is deprived of oxygen, scientists now believe that the brain cells do not begin to immediately start dying, but instead the brain cells enter into a hibernation-like condition and, interestingly, it is actually the restoration of oxygen to those oxygen-deprived brain cells that triggers irreparable damage.  Needless to say, scientists are trying to find ways of turning off the brain-cell “self-destruct” triggers so they can reintroduce oxygen to them yet at the same time avoid triggering any brain damage.  Further studies and further funding for this type of research will no doubt be required but, for now, these findings are simply fascinating.

We are still many years away from mastering the mysteries and complexities of the human brain.  Unfortunately, brain injuries are still likely to be a tragedy that we will witness and experience in our lifetime.  Until that time when science has all the answers, we all must raise awareness about brain injuries so that everyone is aware of their proliferation and the devastating consequences they can have on a victim’s life.  It also important for us to raise awareness in our communities that there are support groups in place like the BIASL) for survivors and their families.

Nigel Gilby is a partner and injury lawyer at the London, Ontario law firm of Lerners LLP.  Nigel specializes in assisting people injured in car accidents, accident benefits cases, catastrophic injuries, brain injuries, slips and falls, off-road vehicle accidents, boating accidents and other serious personal injury cases.  He has been recognized by LEXPERT and the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in Civil Litigation. Nigel has been selected by his peers to appear in the “Best Lawyers in Canada” publication since its inception. See Nigel’s professional biography for more information about his work in the area of personal injury law or contact him at 519.640.6328 or by email at ngilby@lerners.ca.

Christopher Dawson is an injury lawyer at the London, Ontario law firm of Lerners LLP.  Christopher’s personal injury practice includes assisting people injured in motor vehicle accidents, accident benefit cases, spinal cord injuries, orthopaedic injuries, injuries as a result of defective products, off-road vehicle accidents, boating accidents and other serious injury cases.  See Christopher’s professional biography for more information about his work in the area of personal injury law or contact him at 519.640.6360 or by email at cdawson@lerners.ca.

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