Medical professionals and researchers have known for some time that TBI (traumatic brain injury) affects the gastrointestinal tract. However, it is only recently that these professionals have discovered that the link between brain injury and gut damage goes both ways.
A recent study involving mice with an "experimental TBI" revealed that the injured animals experienced long-term changes in the colon over a month-long period following the injury. Interestingly, the study also found that the gastrointestinal dysfunction experienced by these mice increased "posttraumatic brain inflammation and associated tissue loss."
Specifically, brain injury appears to cause the colon's intestinal wall to become more permeable. This increased permeability can potentially allow the migration of harmful microbes from the intestines to other areas in the body, which could result in infection. These findings shine a light on why so many patients with brain injuries also suffer from infections.
Unfortunately, researchers do not fully understand how brain injuries can cause dysfunctional changes in the gut. However, this new research shows that communications between the gut and the brain plays an important role in the long-term effects of brain injuries. For example, it can explain how a TBI can trigger gut damage, which can then make a brain injury worse, resulting in a cycle of suffering.
From an injury lawyer's perspective, the results of this study show how crucial it is to seek compensation for brain injuries caused by another party's negligence. Treatment for these injuries is often long-term and quite costly, which means that victims in Oklahoma and elsewhere in the nation will need a source from which to pay for their ongoing medical needs.
Source: R&D Mag, "Brain Injuries Could Contribute to Gut Damage," Kenny Walter, Dec. 07, 2017