The human brain contains billions of nerve cells. These cells communicate with each other via axons which are long fibers and comprise the white matter in the brain. Traumatic events that happen in an accident can damage these axons resulting in diffuse axonal injury to the brain. Diffuse Axonal Brain Injury (“DAI”) is also known as acquired brain injury, axonal shearing, or a head injury.
Examples of how DAI can occur include:
Often damage to the axons cannot be visualized on diagnostic imaging such as MRI or CT scans. However, a sheared axonal fiber can result in brain cell death.
The axon fiber can no longer serve as a pathway for communication between brain cells thereby cutting off flow to a brain cell which causes it to wither and die.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) is one of the most common traumatic brain injuries. It occurs in about fifty percent of head trauma accidents. Car Accidents especially whiplash type sudden acceleration / deceleration injury are the most common causes of DAI. Other types of accidents that cause DAI include falls, assaults, and shaken baby syndrome.
A regular MRI may not show diffuse axonal injury due to the microscopic nature of the injury such as a tear in tiny axon fibers. However, newer technology including Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) can show damage to the white matter indicative of axonal injury.
DAI symptoms may not appear immediately after an accident. The injury to the axon fibers prevents brain cells from communicating with each other and over time the death of brain cells will manifest symptoms.
Common patient symptoms after a diffuse axonal injury include:
Contact the experienced brain injury lawyers at Frekhtman & Associates for a consultation regarding diffuse axonal injury.