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Traumatic Brain Injuries

The term TBI or traumatic brain injury which is also referred as head injury or acquired brain injury refers to injuries to the brain which are caused due to some form of traumatic impact. In general, traumatic brain injuries are caused by a penetration of brain tissues, violent shaking or blow to the head. Brain damage can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the reason and severity of the injury. TBI causes damage to many parts of the brain like brain stem, cerebellum and the cerebral hemispheres. It may cause various social, physical, emotional and cognitive effects.

It is seen that around 1.4 million people suffer TBI every year. Most of the times, TBIs are frequently misdiagnosed when the patients first seeks the private physician, HMO or emergency room. Unfortunately, these victims are often deceived into thinking that there is nothing to worry about signs and symptoms and victims do not need to have further medical treatment. Due to this negligence and a delay of agonizing weeks or months prior to the victim decides to be seen again, there may be serious effects.

Let us have a look at some of the common causes of traumatic brain injury:

• Falls
• Truck or car accident 
• Pedestrian accidents
• Motorcycle accidents
• Acts of violence
• Sports injuries
• Bicycle accidents
• other recreational injuries

The symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury can be slightly hard to detect. The symptoms may include all or some of the following-

• confusion
• Disorientation
• Dizziness
• Headaches
• Difficulty in concentrating
• Short-term memory loss
• Aggression and Agitation
• Alterations in behavior pattern
• Changes in appetite
• Mood swings
• Changes in ability to hear, taste or smell
• Loss of consciousness
• Seizures
• Blurred vision
• Coma
• Paralysis
• Fatigue
• Depression

Above mentioned symptoms also may not be present immediately after the injury. In some cases these symptoms are not seen till weeks or even months after the trauma. Further, many TBI victims have difficulty in completely describing their symptoms clearly to their physician. Sometimes, victims fail to understand that the symptoms they are suffering are related to the trauma.

Sometimes, TBI victims are reluctant to declare that they are suffering from mental impairment. It is essential that physician should get to know about thorough and detailed history about the trauma, patient and symptoms. This is important as diagnosis is completely based on the work-up and evaluation of patients.

In more serious traumatic brain injury cases, there can be fatal complications. Though the extremity of TBI varies, there can be life-changing and devastating long-term effects.

Traumatic Brain Injury- types:

Traumatic brain injuries are divided into two categories:

Open head injury: This is the type of injury with fractured skull or breached membranes that surround the brain. This type of injury is very grave and often requires surgery.

Closed head injury: This type of injury includes injuries typically caused due to blow to the head without breaking of the skull.

Damage due to TBI is categorized as either diffuse or focal. Diffuse damage is damage to different areas of the brain caused due to violent collisions, neurological diseases, infection, aneurisms or lack of oxygen. On the other hand, focal damage is limited to a small portion of the brain where the object penetrates brain or object hits head.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Treatment

While treating traumatic brain injury, experts work carefully to stabilize victim’s condition. Further, open wounds are treated and antibiotics are administered to avoid infection. Once the condition of a patient becomes stable, doctors assess level of brain damage. Some anti-convulsion medications are prescribed to prevent seizures.

Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation is an integral segment of TBI treatment. It helps victim’s to manage and regain impaired brain functions. It also helps avoid long-term traumatic brain injury disabilities. In addition, it helps a family of victim cope with the tragedy and support patient.