Brain injury means that the brain has been hurt in some way. Many different things can hurt the brain. For example, brain injuries can happen before a baby is even born. These are called congenital brain injuries.
All brain injuries are different. Some are mild (not very bad); some are severe (very bad). Some are temporary (they get better); some get better slowly over time; and some never get better. Also, since the brain controls every part of the body, the symptoms of brain injury can be very different for different people. This depends partly on what part of the brain was injured, and how badly.
Types of brain injuries[change | change source]
Congenital brain injuries[change | change source]
For example, a fetus can get a congenital brain injury if:
- The mother drinks alcohol while pregnant (this can cause fetal alcohol syndrome)
- The mother takes illegal drugs, or medications that are poisonous to the fetus, while pregnant
- The mother has an infection like rubella, chickenpox, or toxoplasmosis while pregnant
Traumatic brain injuries[change | change source]
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by a physical injury to the brain. They can happen when the head suddenly hits an object very hard, like in a car accident. They can also happen when something - like a bullet or knife - goes through the head and into the brain.
Traumatic brain injury is one of the most common causes of disability everywhere in the world. It is more common in developing countries. All over the world, about 10 million people are affected by TBI every year.
- Injuries from road traffic (they cause about 60% of all TBI)
- Falls (about 20%-30%)
- Violence (10%)
- Injuries from working or playing sports (10%)
Traumatic brain injury has become one of the most common types of injuries in soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States Department of Defense says that 22% of all injuries from these wars are traumatic brain injuries.
Other brain injuries[change | change source]
Another major type of brain injury is a hypoxic brain injury. This happens when the brain does not get enough oxygen. This can happen for many reasons, like:
The brain can also be injured by many other things. Some examples are:
- Infections like encephalitis and meningitis
- Brain cancer
- Use of illegal drugs or alcohol
- Poisons, like lead
Signs and symptoms[change | change source]
The signs and symptoms of a brain injury depend on many things.
Diffuse or focal[change | change source]
A diffuse injury hurts the entire brain. For example, if a person is drowning, and cannot breathe, no part of their brain will get oxygen. If this lasts long enough, the entire brain will be injured by not having enough oxygen.
A focal injury hurts just part of the brain. For example, in some strokes, a person has a blood clot that blocks the blood flow to just part of their brain. If the person gets good medical treatment, just that part of their brain may be injured.
This is important because different parts of the brain control different things. When a person has a focal brain injury, their symptoms will depend on what part of the brain was injured. For example, if a part of the brain that controls speech was injured, the person may have trouble speaking.
Severity[change | change source]
A brain injury's symptoms may also depend on how bad the injury was.
For example, brain injuries can cause changes or problems in a person's thinking, senses, feelings, or ability to move. However, some people might have mild problems in these areas, while other people might have more serious problems:
- Thinking problems
- Problems with the senses
- Changes in feelings
- Trouble moving
Recovery[change | change source]
There are many different treatments that may help people with brain injuries. For example:
- Physical therapy can help people re-learn how to move, walk, and balance themselves
- Occupational therapy can help people practice how to do everyday things, like getting dressed and making meals
- Speech therapy can help people who are having trouble speaking after their brain injury
- Psychotherapy can help with depression, anxiety, mood changes, and stress
References[change | change source]
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- McLean, Huong; Redd, Susan; et al. (April 1, 2014). "Chapter 15: Congenital Rubella Syndrome. In "Manual for Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases"". CDC.gov. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 10, 2016. Explicit use of et al. in:
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- Torgerson PR; Mastroiacovo P 2013. "The global burden of congenital toxoplasmosis: a systematic review". Bulletin of the World Health Organization 91 (7): 501–508. doi:10.2471/BLT.12.111732. ISSN 0042-9686. PMID 23825877.
- Bryan-Hancock C; Harrison J 2010. "The global burden of traumatic brain injury: Preliminary results from the Global Burden of Disease Project". Injury Prevention 16 (A17). doi:10.1136/ip.2010.029215.61.
- Hyder AA; Wunderlich CA; et al. 2007. "The impact of traumatic brain injuries: A global perspective". NeuroRehabilitation (IOS Press) 22: 341-353. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Olive_Kobusingye/publication/5686242_The_impact_of_traumatic_brain_injuries_a_global_perspective/links/553d43f00cf29b5ee4bcc2d2.pdf. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- Summerall, E. Lanier (August 17, 2015). "Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD". National Center for PTSD. United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
- Lukas, Rimas (June 2015). "Anoxic Brain Damage". Mount Sinai Hospital. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
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- "Traumatic Brain Injury: Symptoms". Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. May 15, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
- "Severe TBI". CDC.gov. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 8, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
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