One of the most serious types of brain injury is also one of the least understood. Diffuse axonal injury, or DAI, occurs when there is a sudden impact to or acceleration of the head, causing microscopic tears in brain tissue. These tears interrupt the brain’s ability to send messages, often leading to long-term motor, cognitive and behavioral problems. Patients who suffer DAI may fall into a vegetative state or a coma, and many with the most severe injury do not survive.
The mechanism behind DAI injuries is directly related to the structure of the brain. The brain is made up of different materials, often called white matter and grey matter. Because these tissues have different densities, they move at different speeds when the head is involved in an impact. With different parts of the brain moving differently, stretching and tearing can occur, especially where these different tissues meet. Axons, pieces of the brain that help relay messages, can be damaged by this tearing, impairing the brain’s ability to send signals.
This type of injury can occur during a fall, as the result of an auto accident, or even from a collision sustained while participating in a sport. Those who experience DAI often fall into a coma right away. Severe cases frequently result in a persistent or permanent vegetative state. Those who regain consciousness or whose injuries are less severe typically experience difficulty with reasoning, problem solving and vision. Speech and other forms of communication can also be affected, and patients may experience personality changes.
If you or a loved one has suffered diffuse axonal injury due to an accident or a fall in Florida, the traumatic brain injury attorneys at the Bradenton firm of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can help you pursue justice.