Brain Injury

  • Background

    Background

The cost of traumatic brain injury in the United States is estimated to be $48.3 billion annually. Hospitalization accounts for $31.7 billion, and fatal brain injuries cost the nation $16.6 billion each year.

  • TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)

    Traumatic Brain Injury is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Recent data shows that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from "mild," i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to "severe," i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.

  • A Concussion is a type of brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a "mild" brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be very serious and can lead to future disabilities. Click on the title, CONCUSSION, to see more information about signs and symptoms and management of concussions.

  • An ABI or Acquired Brain Injury is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative, that has occurred after birth. (It includes anoxia, aneurysms, infections to the brain, and stroke.)
    - A brain aneurysm is a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery, very much like a thin balloon or weak spot on an inner tube.
    - A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented, and many fewer - Americans die of stroke now than even 15 years ago.
    - Anoxia is a condition characterized by an absence of oxygen supply to an organ or a tissue. If the condition does not involve total oxygen deprivation, it is often called hypoxia, although the two terms have been used interchangeably.

  • More information under this tab.

  • To understand what happens when the brain is injured, it is important to realize what a healthy brain is made of and what it does.

    Brain injury is unpredictable in its consequences. Brain injury affects who we are, the way we think, act, and feel. It can change everything about us in a matter of seconds.


The Consequences of Brain Injury

Cognitive Consequences Can Include:

  • Short term memory loss; long term memory loss

  • Slowed ability to process information

  • Trouble concentrating or paying attention for periods of time

  • Difficulty keeping up with a conversation; other communication difficulties such as word finding problems

  • Spatial disorientation

  • Organizational problems and impaired judgment

  • Unable to do more than one thing at a time

  • A lack of initiating activities, or once started, difficulty in completing tasks without reminders


Physical Consequences Can Include:

  • Seizures of all types

  • Muscle spasticity

  • Double vision or low vision, even blindness

  • Loss of smell or taste

  • Speech impairments such as slow or slurred speech

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Fatigue, increased need for sleep

  • Balance problems


Emotional Consequences Can Include:

  • Increased anxiety

  • Depression and mood swings

  • Impulsive behavior

  • More easily agitated

  • Egocentric behaviors; difficulty seeing how behaviors can affect others


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