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Research examines odd links between brain injuries, sugary diet

Traumatic brain injury can be associated with many different types of injuries. TBI is often a problem for people who suffer head injuries in car accidents. It can also develop as the result of medical malpractice, after a medical error causes a decrease of oxygen to the brain. Many people have read about recent controversies over the prevalence of TBI among football players. Just recently, a study suggested a link between TBI and high-caffeine energy drinks. Now, a new study suggests a connection between TBI and high-fructose corn syrup.

According to the study, the brain's ability to heal itself may be weakened by a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, trained laboratory rats to run a maze. The researchers gave the rats water laced with corn-derived fructose and then gave them injections designed to simulate human traumatic brain injury. After the injuries, the researchers said the rats had greater difficulty remembering how to run the maze. A control group of mice that did not have the high-fructose diet were much quicker to remember how to navigate the maze.

Researchers theorized that the sugary diet was interfering with the rats' ability to heal their own brain tissue.

It's too early to say what, if any effect, these findings will have on treatment for TBI patients, but the story does help illustrate the difficulties involved with treating TBI.

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, some 1.7 million people are affected with TBI every year. Some of these injuries are severe and some less so, but all have their complications. Doctors are still trying to understand how the brain heals, and how to help TBI sufferers to recover.

Because these injuries are so difficult to treat and can lead to permanent effects, financial compensation is crucial for those who suffered TBI due to someone else's negligence. Experienced personal injury attorneys can help the injured and their families to understand their legal options.

Source: UCLA Newsroom, "High-fructose diet hampers recovery from traumatic brain injury," Elaine Schmidt, Oct. 2, 2015

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