As a maritime lawyer, I am very aware that maritime workers who have suffered a brain injury are at a much higher risk of impaired cognitive functioning, memory loss and a number of other side effects. However, new research also confirms that suffering a traumatic brain injury leads to an increased risk of Parkinson's Disease. The researchers conducted studies on rats with traumatic brain injury, and found that a moderate brain injury led to a 15% loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Further, the researchers found that the loss of these neurons continued over twenty-six weeks, leading to a 30% loss of cells overall. Loss of these cells is linked to many of the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, including tremors and rigidity. The link between brain injury and an increased risk of Parkinson's Disease has been evident researchers for a while now. However, this research not only confirms that fact, but also provides an explanation for this increased risk. Maritime workers may be at frequent risk of head injuries and brain injuries. Many of these injuries occur as a result of fall accidents. A worker may slip and fall on a slippery deck, on a broken staircase, or from elevated surfaces. All of these falls can cause head trauma and lead to a brain injury. Additionally, maritime workers may also suffer brain injuries when they are struck by debris or heavy objects. Brain injuries are some of the most life altering injuries, and require not just immediate medical care, but also long-term rehabilitation. Persons with a severe brain injury may be dependent on long-term, 24-hour care for the rest of their lives.
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