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Brain Injuries

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

Article by Sucharita Desu

The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes March as Brain Injury Awareness Month! Acquired brain injuries are injuries to the brain that occur after birth. These injuries are not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma and can change the brain’s neuronal activity. There are two types of acquired brain injuries: traumatic brain injury (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury (non-TBI).

Traumatic brain injuries usually result from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. These can be penetrating or non-penetrating injuries. They also vary in severity as the degree of damage is based on factors such as the nature of the injury and force of impact. Some TBIs may be mild, having temporary effects on brain cells, while others could be more serious, resulting in bruising, torn tissue, and other physical damage to the brain. Depending on the type of TBI and the seriousness of the injury, there may be a range of symptoms with different levels of intensity. Some symptoms include loss of consciousness for a period of time (the longer the person is unconscious, the more serious the TBI), sensory issues (i.e., blurred vision, ringing in the ears, etc.), confusion/disorientation, headaches, problems with speech, drowsiness/issues with sleeping habits, and more. The most common causes of TBIs are falls and car accidents, while other causes could include sports, work, or military injuries, shaken baby syndrome, gunshot wounds, and more.

Non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by something that happens inside the body which in turn damages brain tissues. It could also be caused by substances introduced into the body that damage brain tissues. Non-TBIs can be caused by aneurysms, brain tumors, encephalitis, hydrocephalus, meningitis, and more. They can also result from strokes, seizures, or events that deprive the brain of oxygen such as choking and near-fatal drownings.

Most people can recover from brain injuries quickly, but more severe forms of TBI and non-TBI may cause permanent brain damage or even death. After being diagnosed through neurological evaluation, imaging tests like CT scans and MRIs, and blood tests, there are a variety of treatments. They include counseling for emotional support, surgery to treat intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) or reduce pressure from brain swelling, rehabilitation (i.e., physical, occupation, and speech therapy), and most importantly, rest. The treatments mainly focus on easing symptoms and improving the quality of life for patients with brain injuries. In addition to treatments, many precautions can be taken to avoid these types of injuries. This includes monitoring medications, having clear/unobstructed vision, fall-proofing your home, wearing a helmet, staying active, and more. Just like with any other injury, it takes time to recover from any type of brain injury. How fast someone recovers can be influenced by many things including aging, additional injuries, stress, support, and past brain injuries.

Overall, most brain injuries are avoidable, so it is important to spread awareness to ensure people are informed of what to look out for and be careful of. The first step in order to do this is to learn and educate yourself on the matter. To learn more about brain injuries, check out these references:

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