"The Brain Project" featured public exhibits throughout Toronto beginning in early June and extending into the fall of 2016, to raise awareness and funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research at Baycrest Health Sciences (see www.brainproject.ca). Until October 31st and for the last time this year, the exhibit will be on display at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. About 100 artists have contributed their creativity and efforts to re-create brain sculptures for the exhibits, such as Toronto artist, Michael Truelove, who created a laser-cut piece called ‘Concussion’, motivated by the several concussions the artist has suffered in his life (www.thestar.com, June 14). The exhibited brain sculptures will be sold to organizations and collectors sponsoring this worthy cause.
About 750,000 Canadians suffer from age-related brain disease, and the number of sufferers is expected to substantially increase over the next two decades. In addition, about 60,000 Canadians suffer a brain injury every year, and more than one million Canadians are living with an acquired brain injury, according to Brain Injury Canada. Falls and motor vehicle accidents, in relative order of frequency, are responsible for about 50 per cent of acquired brain injuries in Canada and United States.
Concussions can be a mild, moderate or severe form of brain injury. However, even concussions initially deemed as a ‘mild brain injury’ sometimes don’t resolve themselves in the weeks and months after an accident, but instead, result in long-term and even permanent symptoms. Long-lasting or permanent effects may include unconsciousness, inability to remember the traumatic event, difficulty learning and concentrating, confusion, speech disorders, lack of coordination, difficulties with balance, and hearing and vision problems.
The Alzheimer’s Association and others have determined that some types of traumatic brain injury increases a person's risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, years after the person experienced the injury (www.alz.org). The best research data indicates that moderate and severe forms of traumatic brain injury increase the chance of developing dementia by as much as 2 to 4 times (see www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22776913). Because mild brain injuries are generally not as well documented, the correlation between mild brain injury and dementia is less clear. However, what has been discovered is that multiple mild brain injuries, such as those often experienced by professional boxers, hockey players and football players, are associated with a heightened risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a type of dementia with specific clinical and pathological characteristics, and is common in retired professional players in the aforementioned sports.
Brain injury and dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, impact not only the millions that are suffering with these debilitating conditions, but also substantially affects their family members. Also, dementia is one of the few diseases in America that have a widespread impact but for which there is essentially no cure. Certainly, there are compelling reasons to support and encourage research in this troubling and important field.
If you or a loved one were injured in a slip and fall or motor vehicle accident and wish to file a negligence claim for damages, call an experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer in Vaughan for expert representation. Your first consultation is free and provides an excellent opportunity to have your questions answered and to find out about the strength of your claim.