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Brain injury copies Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)

December 18, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Symptoms of brain injury that mimic ALS, and what this means for car accident victims

TBI copies ALS, Lou Gehrig The medical community has long suspected that traumatic brain injury can spark the onset and early onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gherig’s disease.

A stunning paper published in 2010, however, argues that victims of concussions who were thought to have developed ALS actually did not have the disease at all, but had similar symptoms and impairments caused directly from the brain injury.

As originally reported by The New York Times, Study Says Brain Trauma Can Mimic A.L.S., studying markings of the spinal cord in multiple patients believed to have died from ALS, researchers discovered that they suffered from a different condition, caused by trauma, that erodes the central nervous system in ways that appear to mirror ALS.

Victims of ALS and now what could be long-term brain injury disease can suffer from:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tripping,
  • Dropping things,
  • Abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs,
  • Slurred speech,
  • Muscle cramps and twitches
  • Uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying.

The ALS Association advises that a victim’s:

“hands and feet may be affected first, causing difficulty in lifting, walking or using the hands for the activities of daily living such as dressing, washing and buttoning clothes.  As the weakening and paralysis continue to spread to the muscles of the trunk of the body the disease, eventually affects speech, swallowing, chewing and breathing. When the breathing muscles become affected, ultimately, the patient will need permanent ventilatory support in order to survive.”

All of these deficits and impairments are the hallmark of a disease that the medical community has yet to grasp.  If they are now also symptoms of the long-term damage created by traumatic brain injury, hundreds of thousands of additional car and truck accident victims are at risk of serious disability and death at what is termed a simple concussion or “mild” head injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered a suspected head injury, please call Michigan Auto Law for more information and free legal advice.

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