Did you know that every 18 seconds someone sustains a brain injury? More than 50,000 people die each year in the U.S. alone as a result of a brain injury and over 1.3 million individuals are treated and released.
The Brain Injury Association of America defines a traumatic brain injury as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology caused by an external force. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an intrusion, blow or jolt of the head or body that interrupts the normal operation of the brain.
Did you know that you do not have to hit your head to sustain a brain injury?
A concussion, which is a mild traumatic brain injury, can be caused when a fall or blow, or sudden acceleration or deceleration, to the body causes the head to move quickly back and forth with the brain hitting the inside of the skull. A coup-contrecoup injury is when the brain first strikes one side of the skull during the event and then bounces back against the opposite side of the skull.
A generalized injury to the brain can occur when there are stretching or shearing forces to the entire brain. Often times there is no visible damage to the head or skull, but changes in cognitive function and abilities impact daily living for the injured person.
Typical causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries are:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents (17%)
- Assault (10%)
- Falls (35%)
- Sports Injuries
Did You Know:
- 5.3 million Americans live with a long-term disability as a result of a TBI
- Traffic-related incidents and crashes account for 31.8% of TBI deaths
- Males are more likely than females to sustain a TBI
- 75% of traumatic brain injuries are classified as “mild”
- The average cost for medical care, rehabilitation, home modifications and other costs associated to brain injury can exceed $150,000 for the family.
- The annual cost of brain injury to society exceeds $76.5 Billion dollars each year in the United States. This includes medical care, rehabilitation services, home modifications and loss of productivity.
A Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is defined by the Brain Injury Association as the occurrence of injury to the head arising from blunt trauma or acceleration or deceleration forces involving any one of the following:
- Any period of loss of consciousness
- Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after an accident
- Any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident
- Focal neurological deficits that may or may not be temporary
Early treatment is imperative for maximum recovery. Some of the symptoms following a mild TBI include dizziness, musculoskeletal complaints, post-traumatic headaches, visual disturbances, hearing changes, and fatigue.
Imaging technology can help assess the severity, location and type of injury to the brain. Computed Tomography (CT): CT scans are more widely available and are typically the first scan taken. CT scans are generally are not as sensitive as MRIs, but they take less time to complete and have fewer potential complications. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRIs use a magnetic field to scan the brain. They are more sensitive than CT scans but take longer, have more restrictions and cost more. MRIs are not normally done in the acute care phase of a brain injury. Other Imaging Technologies: Other types of imaging technologies include Funtional MRI (fMRI), Diffuse Tensor Imaging (DTI), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomograhy (SPECT) and Posistron Emission Tomograhy (PET). Additional information about these scans can be found: