Whiplash causes anatomical changes leading to brain injury: Study

While it has long been known that whiplash can cause injuries to the cervical spine, a new study published in the July issue of the journal Brain Injury, ("Chiari and Whiplash Injury," co-authored by Ezriel E. Kornel, M.D. F.A.C.S., Michael D. Freeman, Ph.D., and others) shows that whiplash may also cause anatomical changes that can result in brain injury.

The study, one of the few to look at the connection between whiplash and brain injury, examined the MRI scans of 1200 neck pain patients and found that those patients suffering from whiplash were more likely to have anatomical changes to the brain resulting in brain injury, specifically, a herniation of the brain called Chiari malformation, in which the bottom part of the brain (the cerebellum) dips through an opening in the base of the skull after a whiplash injury. Preliminary findings showed that brain injury occurred in 23% of the whiplash cases studied. 

According to Dr. Kornel, a principal with Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York in White Plains, N.Y., "This condition can be quite painful and endanger the patient's health, with symptoms that may include headaches, neck pain, upper extremity numbness and tingling, and weakness. In a few cases, there can also be lower extremity weakness and brain dysfunction." Dr. Kornel advises anyone suffering from whiplash to see a physician immediately.

Dr. Kornel will discuss his latest findings about whiplash this Sunday on his WOR-AM radio show "Back Talk Live," a call-in medical show devoted to back and neck pain, and brain disorders.  "Whiplash: More Than Just a Pain in the Neck" will air on August 15 at 7:30 pm EDT. Dr. Kornel's guest will be Dr. Michael D. Freeman, associate professor in the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Department, Oregon Health and Science University, and the lead author of the Brain Injury journal article.

Dr. Kornel is a leader in minimally invasive endoscopic surgery of the spine as well as minimally invasive approaches in the surgical treatment of brain tumors. Dr. Kornel has been a principal of Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York since 1990. He currently serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

Source:

Dr. Ezriel E. Kornel

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