Immediately after a traumatic brain injury, damage to brain cells and inflammation can ignite a continuous flow of destruction known as the secondary injury effect.
The primary injury, identified as the initial physical insult to the brain, is likely to include a breach of the blood-brain barrier. During the secondary injury effect, slow neuronal cell destruction, inflammation, and the deterioration of one’s health can show up weeks, months, or years later. Even in mild to moderate concussions, patients may be unaware they have a compromised blood-brain barrier causing chronic inflammation and mounting health problems.
Interrelated with the blood-brain barrier is the gut-brain axis, otherwise known as the vagus nerve. The weakening of vital communication pathways to and from the brain may attribute to the sudden onset of many inflammatory problems such as headaches, extreme food sensitivities, IBS, and various autoimmune symptoms, to name a few. Untreated symptoms can lead to ongoing brain inflammation, poor immune functioning, and declining cognitive health.
Inflammation Biomarkers for Traumatic Brain Injury
The medical and scientific community continues to work diligently on understanding the role of neuroinflammation, neuroimmunity, and the long-term effects in patients with traumatic brain injuries. Science also continues to study the brain’s innermost workings of cellular mitochondrial activity after brain injury. When research shows the depth of complexity within each cell, it’s no wonder that patients with various forms of traumatic brain injuries can experience injury differences. Yet, many studies on traumatic brain injuries and inflammation reflect strikingly similar immune-related health conditions linked with neuroinflammation. Understanding how inflammatory biomarkers can point to neurological, physical, and autoimmune deficiencies after brain injury will help doctors and their patients work together to create a practical and effective long-term treatment approach.
Encouraging research, new TBI blood tests, nutritional protocols, and brain injury treatments are available. Patients may need to reach beyond traditional medicine to find doctors who offer the latest lab tests and treatment protocols. Unfortunately, there is not a consistent approach for diagnosing and treating mild to moderate brain injuries in mainstream medicine. Many positive changes are on the horizon, but it can take years for the modifications to occur.
In the meantime, countless brain injury patients and their families seeking health resources, understanding, and support are networking together. Many non-profits, support groups, and survivor advocates in the TBI community from state to state include connections with healthcare professionals, caregivers, and other brain injury survivors who are sharing their stories of recovery while passing along a vision of hope after brain injury.