For anyone who is familiar with rugby and other contact sports it is common knowledge that these sports are not always safe and have the potential to go incredibly wrong. It has been stated by Hosea, H (2012) “sports activities cause an estimated 20% of all TBIs among youths and young adults” which results in an estimated 300,000 cases per year. Repeated disturbances to the brain are not healthy to the individual and I believe it is important that these long-term effects are left out in the open so people can become aware of the effects of these frequently occurring injuries. Therefore, during this essay I decided to investigate Traumatic Brain injuries (TBI’s) further. To determine the long-term effects they have on us, their side effects and how these affects could impact our future generation as they grow up.
The first side effect I have researched is the link between Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and TBI’s. Lou, D., et al. (2018) used a weight drop method equip with a hollow Plexiglas tube and acrylic stick which they tested on mice to simulate a TBI like concussion. They then accessed the chemical changes within the brains of the mice. Whereas the second article by Jasmeet, P.H., et al. (2017) used a sample of 160 nonHispanic veterans who were neuro-scanned by a Siemens 3 T TIM Trio. This is a device used for cardiac and neuro imaging studies to investigate disturbances in brains and bodies. The disadvantage of the first article by Lou. D. at al., (2018) is that it is not certain if these effects will directly translate into humans because it is not being conducted on humans. That would be unethical. It is also unethical to induce these types of injuries onto animals on purpose, to pursue an investigation.
The first researched side effect I have found is the link between TBI’s and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The studies posted by Jasmeet, P.H., et al. (2017) and Lou. D. et al., (2018) both test for a link between TBI and Alzheimer’s disease but produce slightly different, but also similar results. According to Jasmeet, P.H., et al. (2017) traumatic brain injuries have shown a link to cross-sectional cortical thinning. This is a term used to describe the thickness of the brains cortex’s which may only vary a few millimeters. When this cortical thinning occurs in Alzheimer’s disease vulnerable regions of the brain it can be a mechanism of memory performance reduction and neurodegeneration for patients with a high genetic risk of AD. However, Lou. D. Et al., (2018) states that TBI’s put the brain under oxidative stress which initiates amyloid beta processing which is a significant part of AD. Amyloid beta processing is the dying of neurons in the brain, essentially neurodegeneration as Jasmeet, P.H., et al. (2017) also stated. In extreme cases this neurodegeneration can snowball affect into diseases such as AD which is defined as “chronic neurodegenerative disease” by Wikipedia. This is a significant problem for individuals with TBI’s because when neurons are lost, they are lost forever. These outcomes were slightly different due to the fact Jasmeet, P.H., et al. (2017) had access to the Siemens 3 T TIM Trio brain scanning devise and Lou. D. Et al., (2018) conducted their investigation on mice and were unable to see cortical thinning occurring in the brains of the mice.
The second neurological side effect of traumatic brain injuries is on the individuals sensory skills. The first article I am using is published by William, M.P., Micheal, J.L., Vonetta, M.D., & Kiesa, G.K. (2006) which conducted an experiment on 14 healthy patients and 15 patients with TBI’s and recorded how well they did on 2 tasks. The first task required the patients to read aloud numerous sentences where they had to remember the last word of each of these sentences. The second test was cued-stoop response ask where patients were presented an instructional cue, for example “which word reads the color red” and they needed to pair it with a visual stimulus. This tested how fast they could register stimulus and relate it to the real-life object. This was made more difficult by having the word red, written in blue. Their reaction times were recorded. The second research article I will be using was done by Siriluck, K., Achara, S., Suparat, W., Chawapornpan. C. (2015) and was done on 2 subjects with TBI’s and six of their closest care givers. The purpose of the experiment was to see if sensory stimulation (SS) in a real life context had an impact on the patient’s ability to recover from the TBI. A major difference between these 2 studies is that the sample size is very different. The study done by William, M.P et al., (2006) utilizes results from 29 different individual whereas the study conducted by Siriluck, K. et al., (2015) only discuses findings from 2. This difference in sample size means findings made by William, M.P et al., (2006) could be more valid because they have more trials to test for a similar outcome, whereas Siriluck, K. et al., (2015) only concludes findings off 2 . Siriluck, K. et al., (2015) concluded in their trials that the brain lesions (brain damage) induced by the TBI, restricted the signaling pathways for the neurons to the brain. This meant that more complex sensory signals were unable to properly translate into a cognitive function. Therefor patients would receive the stimulus but not know what it meant nor what to do with it. William, M.P., Micheal, J.L., Vonetta, M.D., & Kiesa, G.K. (2006) also found evidence similar to these results in their trial due to finding that the patients with TBI injuries produced dramatically more poorly in the trials tasks then the control group of unaffected individuals. This occurred through longer reaction times in the cued-stoop test and more frequent errors in the memory activity. Indicating the stimulus was present but the higher cognitive function was nonexistent or prolonged on some individuals.
The purpose of this essay was to research and analyse the side effects of Traumatic brain injuries to determine the severity of the issue which faces thousands of teenage and middle age people playing higher contact sports. The findings were as I predicted and show us that TBI’s should not be taking lightly, and that extra care to try and prevent TBI’s should be even more encouraged. In all sports and activities. Side effects of TBI’s in extreme cases can include mental degradation also known as Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive defects including brain pathway defects. This make higher cognitive function like registering a stimulus and completing a simple task difficult to complete for individual having had a TBI. These side effects can translate into difficulties in real life, not only in the controlled environment of an investigation. These side effects can affect the individuals in their workplace and when completing everyday tasks like talking with friends and family and going to the supermarket. Making almost any communicative and thinking task a challenge for TBI victims to complete.