Types of Brain Injuries: Diffuse Axonal Injuries

Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP has years of experience in brain injury law, including head injuries, toxic chemical exposure, medical malpractice, brain damage and comas. And WRSH is proud of its record of significant monetary verdicts and settlements. If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury, coma or other serious injury, you should speak with the New York brain injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP today.

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What is DAI?

Diffuse axonal injury is the medical name for a type of brain damage caused by the tearing of the axons, the connections between brain cells. These axons tear when the victim is subjected to violent shaking or an impact, which twists and rotates the brain within the skull. The force slides the axons over one another, shearing or tearing them. Rather than directly destroying brain tissue, as a bullet wound might do, this destroys the pathways through which brain cells communicate with one another. Without the ability to communicate, even healthy brain cells can no longer do their jobs. And because DAI is diffuse, which means spread across many parts of the brain, it affects many functions, though sometimes less severely than a direct injury might. Direct brain damage and DAI can and frequently do both occur in the same accident.

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Common Causes of Diffuse Axonal Injuries

Causes of DAI include:

  • Car accidents, especially high-speed accidents.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Child abuse, especially shaking a baby. (Shaken Baby Syndrome is a collection of symptoms of both DAI and direct brain damage.)

DAI is difficult for doctors to detect, in part because its symptoms don't show up right away. Because the damage to the axons results from the brain's chemical reaction to the trauma, symptoms may not actually exist until after a patient is seen and diagnosed. Furthermore, because DAI doesn't always cause direct damage to the brain, it's hard for doctors to see find a CAT scan or MRI. For that reason, it's especially important that victims of DAI and their loved ones advocate for their rights and seek treatment if new symptoms begin appearing.

DAI is one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury, and it's also one of the most damaging. Although DAI doesn't usually lead to death, a 2004 study found that almost half of all severe head trauma patients had this type of damage. Another study found that DAI is a common cause of comas and vegetative states. Treatment for DAI is like treatment for any other type of brain injury: After medical stabilization, the patient may spend years working with a rehabilitation team to regain the functions lost by the brain damage.

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Assisting Seriously Injured Clients Throughout NY

Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP has represented brain injury patients in New York since 1990, winning millions for injured clients. If you or someone you care about suffered a diffuse axonal injury or other type of brain injury because of someone else's negligence, you should call the New York traumatic brain injury attorneys at (212) 986-7353 as soon as possible for a free consultation.

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Additional Information