Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury has been a major health concern and occurs when there is an injury to the head that disrupts normal brain function. TBI usually occurs from a severe blow or jolt to the brain The injury may or may not be accompanied by a loss of consciousness and/or cognitive impairment. Depending on the cause and severity of the injury , TBI may result in severe neurological injury and is the leading cause of death and disability in young people.
What can cause TBI?
There are many potential causes of TBI, but the most common causes are car accidents, sports injuries such as concussions, firearm injuries, and falls. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1.5 million individuals are diagnosed with TBI each year.
What are the Symptoms of TBI?
Following TBI, brain function is usually impaired. Symptoms may be physical, cognitive, behavioral, social or emotional in nature. Symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in ears
- Loss of motor function
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty with balance
What is the Difference Between Mild, Moderate, and Severe TBI?
The terminology depends on the severity of the symptoms and the abnormal neurological findings in individuals who have sustained a TBI.
How is TBI Treated?
TBI is often treated with a multifaceted approach.
- Immediate Diagnosis & Emergency Treatment to stabilize the individual.
- Surgical Treatment: In certain circumstances, surgery may be necessary to control brain (intracranial) hemorrhage, maintain intracranial blood flow and to reduce intracranial swelling.
- Rehabilitative Treatment: Rehabilitative treatment focuses on attempts to restore lost neurological function in individuals who have sustained a TBI.
Why is it important to treat TBI immediately?
Many TBI related deaths are not the result of the primary brain injury. Following the initial trauma, a series of cellular processes and biological cascades occur in the brain as a result of the injury. These secondary processes may include damage to the blood-brain barrier, excitotoxicity, cerebral edema, reduced blood flow as well as other injuries. As a consequence many TBI deaths occur as a result of these severe secondary injuries to the brain.
What is the Prognosis for TBI?
The outcomes of treatment for traumatic brain injury are correlated with the severity of the condition. With immediate diagnosis and treatment, mild cases of TBI often resolve in 7-14 days with little or no permanent damage. More severe cases of TBI may leave the patient with long-term neurological disabilities. Repeated brain injuries, under certain circumstances, may lead to severe degenerative disease of the brain known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Therefore, it is imperative that a patient seek immediate neurological diagnosis and treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries.
More TBI Resources
- What you need to know about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
- Preventing sports related head injuries / concussion