What is Brain Injury?
Brain damage is an injury that leads to the destruction or depletion of brain cells. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disturbance in the normal function of the brain which can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting the object, or when the object pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue.
Observation from one of the following clinical signs is an alteration of normal brain function:
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of memory
- Focal neurological deficits like muscle weakness, loss of vision, change in speech
- The mental alteration, such as disorientation, slow thinking, or difficulty concentrating
The severity of brain damage may vary depending on the type of brain injury. Mild brain injury can be temporary. It causes a headache, confusion, memory problems, and nausea. In moderate brain injury, symptoms may last longer and be more pronounced. In both cases, most patients are recovering well, although 15 percent of people will have persistent problems even in mild brain injuries after one year.
A person with severe brain injury may have life-changing and debilitating problems. They’re going to have cognitive, behavioral, and physical disabilities. People in a coma or minimally responsive state may remain dependent on the care of others for the rest of their lives.
Types of Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury
It is caused by an external force, such as a blow to the head, which causes the brain to move inside the skull or damages the skull. This, in turn, is damaging to the brain.
Mild traumatic brain injury may have a temporary effect on the brain cells. Moderate head injury is defined as a loss of consciousness between 15 minutes and 6 hours or a post-traumatic amnesia period of up to 24 hours. The patient may be kept in hospital overnight for observation, and then discharged if there are no other obvious medical injuries. Patients with moderate head injury are likely to have a number of residual symptoms.
Severe head injury is normally defined as a condition, in which the patient has been in an unconscious state for six hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia of 24 hours or more. These patients are likely to be hospitalized and rehabilitated once the acute phase has passed. Depending on the duration of the coma, these patients tend to have more serious physical deficits. More serious traumatic brain injury can lead to bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries may result in long-term complications or death.
Acquired Brain Injury
It occurs at the cellular level. It is most often associated with brain pressure. This might come from a tumor. Or it could be the result of neurological illness, as in the case of a stroke.
Some brain injuries cause focal—or localized—brain damage, such as damage caused when a bullet enters the brain. In other words, the damage is limited to a small area. Closed head injuries often cause diffuse brain damage, which means damage to several areas of the brain. For example, both sides of the brain are damaged and the nerves are stretched across the brain. This is the called diffuse axonal injury (DAI).
Causes of Brain Injury
If the brain is starved of oxygen for a longer period of time, brain damage may occur. Brain damage may occur as a result of a wide range of injuries, illnesses, or conditions. Due to high-risk behavior, males between 15 and 24 years of age are the most vulnerable. Young children and the elderly are also at higher risk.
|Motor Vehicle Crashes.||Stroke (Hemorrhage blood clot)|
|Sports/ Recreation Injuries.||Infectious Disease (Meningitis, Encephalitis Seizure)|
|Abusive Head Trauma||Seizure|
|Gunshot Wounds||Electric Shock|
|Child Abuse||Metabolic Disorders|
|Domestic Violence||Neurotoxic Poisoning (Carbon Monoxide, Lead Exposure)|
Brain injuries can lead to impaired cognitive or physical functioning. It can also lead to disturbances in behavioral or emotional functioning.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
There are various symptoms of brain damage whether it may be Traumatic or Acquired. They are divided into major categories:
- Behavioral and Emotional
Cognitive symptoms of brain damage
- Memory loss
- Difficulty in processing information
- Trouble Concentrating
- Shortened attention span
- Inability to understand abstract concepts
- Impaired decision-making ability
Perceptual symptoms of brain damage
- Change in vision, Hearing or Sense of Touch
- Spatial Disorientation
- Inability to Sense Time
- Disorders of Smell and taste
- Balance Issues
- Heightened Sensitivity to Pain
Physical Symptoms of Brain Damage
- Extreme mental and physical fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Sleep disorders
- Loss of Consciousness
Behavioral or Emotional symptoms of Brain Damage
- Irritability and Impatience
- Reduced tolerance for stress
- Flattened or Heightened emotions or reactions
- Denial of disability
- Increased aggressiveness
How Are Brain Injuries Treated?
Brain injury that appears to be mild—referred to as a concussion—may be as dangerous as clearly serious injury. The extent and location of the damage is the key factor. Brain injury does not necessarily result in long-term disability or disability. However, a correct diagnosis and treatment need to contain or minimize the damage.
The extent and effect of brain damage are determined by a neurological examination, neuro-imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans, and neuro-psychological tests. Doctors will stabilize the patient to prevent further injury, ensure that blood and oxygen flow properly to the brain, and ensure that blood pressure is controlled.
Prevention from Brain Injuries
- Don’t ever shake the head.
- Install window guards to keep young children from falling out of the windows.
- Install shock-absorbing material on playgrounds.
- Wear helmets for sports or cycling.
- Wear seat belts in your car and drive carefully.
When to Visit a Doctor?
Always check with your doctor if you or your child has received a blow to the head or body that concerns you or causes behavioral changes. Seek emergency medical attention if there are any signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury following a recent blow or other traumatic head injuries.
The terms “mild,” “moderate” and “severe” are used to describe the impact of the injury on brain function. Mild brain injury is still a serious injury that requires prompt attention and accurate diagnosis.