Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

Michael Paul Mason, BrainLine

Human brain in x-ray view

“There us NO SUCH THING as a person who had a 100% recovery from a serious head (brain) injury …”

Overview

Doctors say that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a catastrophic condition, like burns, amputations, and spinal cord injuries. But TBI is different. It upsets life on multiple levels: physical, psychological, social, and even spiritual. TBI affects the roots of who we are — our ability to think, to communicate, and to connect with other people. For approximately 85 percent of people with TBI, those problems eventually resolve, but the remaining 15 percent have lasting difficulties. If you’re dealing with lingering symptoms of a TBI, or if you’re caring for a loved one, it can help to understand more about the wide range of challenges that TBI can pose.

A tap on the head, and anything can go wrong. Anything usually does go wrong. Light taps — mild TBI — can result in daily headaches, agitated moods, or periods of sleeplessness. Stronger jolts may cause you to forget your name, or make you think you’re someone different. When you tell someone you’re sad, you may unintentionally yell. A TBI can introduce a frustrating amount of confusion and uncertainty into your life

TBI by the Numbers

TBI has a way of affecting everything and everyone in your life. It can make family life tough, and it can seriously impede your ability to work. It can affect the relationships you have and make it harder to make new friends. In the United States, TBI is a quiet crisis. As many as 3.2 million Americans are living with a permanent disability resulting from a brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. Fifty-two thousand people die from it. Almost a quarter-million people are hospitalized. Some of them go home only to discover they no longer have a sense of smell or taste, or that their sleeping habits have changed, or that they can’t seem to do their job anymore. 

If you look at the numbers a little differently, they’re even more upsetting. So many Americans become disabled from a brain injury that each decade they could fill a city the size of Detroit. Seven of these cities are filled already. A third of their citizens are under fourteen years of age. Currently, there are at least 125,000 people with a brain injury so severe that it requires extended hospital care — a service difficult to find and even harder to access. Fortunately, the majority of people who experience TBI will be able to return to a productive life once they receive appropriate treatment

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A Closer Look at the Brain

Even though the numbers are large, it’s important to remember that TBI is a human injury. It has a way of showing us that life is fragile and precious. Because the brain is a complicated network of cells, each injury is as distinctive as the person it affects. Our skulls are only a quarter inch thick, although male skulls are a little thicker, which is lucky considering the fact that men tend to get TBI more often than women. The skull is both protective and restricting; it is the brain’s best defense but also its greatest risk in times of trauma.

Surrounding the brain is an almost rubbery, clear layer of tissue called the dura mater. It helps protect the brain from moving around too much. Beneath the dura mater is another layer called the arachnoid layer, which looks and feels like wet cotton candy. The dura mater, the arachnoid layer, and another layer — the pia mater — all form what is known as the meninges, which keeps the brain floating inside the skull. If these layers get infected, ripped, or torn, it can cause serious damage to the brain

Types of TBI

Every brain injury is different, but there are two basic types: open head injuries and closed head injuries. Open head TBIs are a frightening mess. Whether the injury comes from a bullet, a baseball bat, or a high-speed collision, the result is always chaotic and distressing. The scalp bleeds a lot when it is cut, and when the skull is cracked or penetrated, pieces of it can get lodged in the brain. Because the brain is such a complicated tangle of tissue, it’s extremely tricky to remove objects lodged inside a brain. That’s why we put brain surgery right up there with rocket science in our everyday language.

In a closed head injury, nothing penetrates your skull, but a closed head injury can be just as complicated and vicious as an open head injury, sometimes more so. During a closed head injury, the brain may slam against one portion of the skull, then bounce against the opposite side of the wall. Doctors call that a “coup-contracoup” injury, where two injuries occur from a single blow. One of the most common types of closed head injury is a concussion — a strong blow from an external force. If a person’s head is whipped around, a small tearing effect called shearing occurs throughout the brain, resulting in a diffuse axonal injury. Axons are the hairlike extensions of nerve cells that transmit messages, so in a diffuse axonal injury, the messages either get mixed up, or they don’t come through at all

Treating and Living With TBI

An injured brain also has a tendency to swell, so if there is no room in the skull to expand, the swollen brain may start pushing against the eye sockets. The optic nerve eventually gets pinched, and eyesight is affected. A surgeon might drill holes into a skull to test cranial pressure. If the swelling is too extreme, the only option is to create an escape hatch by sawing away a portion of the skull.

The neurosurgeon is in charge of protecting the brain through medical procedures, but the survivor has to manage life with the effects of the TBI. Everyone reacts differently, depending in part on the severity of the injury, the quality of their care, and the strength of the social network around them. Many survivors feel pulled in different directions, feeling at times that the injury has made them less than what they were, and at other times that they can integrate TBI into their lives in a positive way. People with TBI are forced to confront a whole series of personal questions: How does my injury really affect me? Can I regain the things I’ve lost? What am I other than my brain? How can I make the most of my life?

Looking Ahead

Our understanding of TBI is changing in front of our eyes. As organizations such as the Brain Trauma Foundation continue to define the best practices in treating brain injury, medical care is slowly improving — at least for those patients able to gain access to early trauma care. The war in Iraq has already changed the way we treat TBI in America. Military surgeons who learned life-saving techniques like early cranioplasty are able to employ similar protocols in American trauma centers

In the years to come, we may increasingly see brain trauma as a chronic but manageable condition similar to diabetes or cardio-pulmonary disease. That perspective might also help in reducing the negative stereotypes of TBI. For now, though, TBI survivors and those who care for them continue to face serious challenges in finding help and finding acceptance.

TBI is a much more manageable injury today than it has been in the past, but it remains a major health problem. As people with TBI continue to live longer and face the challenges of aging with TBI, it will be our duty to provide better education and long-term programs and services. We all have brains; let’s continue to use them — injured or not — to support TBI prevention, research, and treatment.

BrainLine

Michael Paul Mason, Michael Paul Mason is the founding editor of This Land, a monthly magazine based in Tulsa. Mason’s first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by people with brain injury.

From http://www.brainline.org/content/2009/06/tbi-basics_pageall.html

intensive-care-patient-nurse-adjusting-controls-on-a-ventilator-attached-B6DW8G

Picture (cover) from http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Person-Extraordinary-Life-Young-ebook/dp/B00RG0USUY

PPS

“Adversity makes you stronger!

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About craig lock

About the Author Craig has a 'passion' for writing books that tell stories about people doing positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally cruel, yet always amazing world - true stories that leave the reader feeling uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. https://www.createspace.com/3779691/ and http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 Craig Lock loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from the "school of life" (still "battered and bruised") and also from a few "hard knocks on the head". He is an extensive world traveller (on a "shoestring budget") and failed professional emigrater who has spent most of his lifes savings on airfares. He is still sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica. There he talks to the 60 million sheep! Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for over twenty years in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, through a strange set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom of the world ...and with nothing else to do, he started writing. That was five years ago. Five published books later and having written another twenty manuscripts (on widely differing subjects - well what else is there to do here?)... this is where Craig is in the "journey/adventure" that is life. Craig has taught at the local Polytechnic, as well as running a successful creative writing course (not teaching sheep!). He was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative writing course on the internet Craig has many varied interests and passions. He is particularly interested in the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different people "tick-tock grandfather clock". He is fascinated by the "overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality". One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden potential and so finding their niche in life... so that they are happy. Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather "eventful" life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and themes, then as a contrast "rather crazy, wacky stuff"…to keep him sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: "All of us are born mad; some of us remain so." Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than headlines like "Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman" (it missed, btw!) and "Beach Toilet Closed for Season." True! The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at ebooks (digital books) http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock Paperbacks (see https://goldendawnpublishing.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/paperback-writer/ and https://wanttowriteabook.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/paperback-writer-the-beatles/ https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=%22craig+lock%22&sitesearch_type=STORE https://www.amazon.com/Craig-Lock/e/B005GGMAW4/ref=pe_584750_33951330_sr_tc_2_0?qid=1476388259&sr=1-2-ent http://www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books and http://goo.gl/vTpjk All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children – MINE! “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! “ “Together, one mind, one life (one small step at a time), let’s see how many people (and lives) we can encourage, impact, empower, enrich, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and strive for and perhaps one sunny day even achieve their wildest dreams.” PPS Don’t worry about the world ending today… as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
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12 Responses to Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

  1. craiglock says:

    Thanks for the comment/follow/link/like
    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”
    MANY MORE COMMENTS OVERNIGHT (many thousands already),.. together with hundreds of thousands already on my various other blogs at http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/craigs-blogs-and-writings/
    …true!) …obsessive or WHAT! *So hope it’s not slowing down your loading speed!). Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share.
    So sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”),

    * “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    ~ Franz Kafka

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.a
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    When (or if ever) you arrive in heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings that carried you there.”

    – as adapted from the inspiring words of Jonathan Edwards, former minister in New England, Massachusetts

    “The Greatest Race: Living by (with) faith, hope and love is the highest podium any person can reach, God’s podium that anyone stand on.”
    – c

    from http://www.sharefaith.wordpress.com

    “Having pursued the goals, the dreams set before us and run the race with persistence and endurance, after giving it all. Then one day standing on the summit of life, breathing in the pure sweet oxygen of achievement, totally satisfied in running the greatest race, the race of life one that ANYONE can run and win.”

    from http://racetothechequeredflag.wordpress.com/ and http://www.godandformula1.wordpress.com

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”

    The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock
    https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=%22craig+lock%22&sitesearch_type=STORE

    http://www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books and http://goo.gl/vTpjk

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!

    Don’t worry about the world ending today…
    as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
    ”Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
    I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.”

    – James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

    Like

  2. craiglock says:

    Reblogged this on Living With Head (Brain) Injury and commented:

    “we share what we know, so that we all may grow.”

    Like

  3. Pingback: The Lasting Effects from Blows to the Head (Concussion) | Sharing some Information and Thoughts on Head and Brain Injury

  4. craiglock says:

    Thanks for the follow/link/like/reblog and/or kind thought(s)

    (but if you are following me, my close friends say it would be far more entertaining with a video-camera*!)

    * By the way, do they still make them in today’s ever-faster changing world..or is it all done with mobile phones?

    “total non-techno” c (who doesn’t possess a mobile phone, after a rather eventful’ experience some years back, whilst trying to walk and talk at the same time )

    Men…Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em!

    Thanks for the follow/link/like/reblog/comment and/or kind thought(s))

    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”

    I’ve had many many hundreds of thousands of comments on my various other WordPress blogs at https://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/craigs-list-of-blogs-updated-sept-2011/
    in recent years …true!) …a few of my blogs went “balistically viral” a few years back.

    Obsessive or WHAT! Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share. However I am unable to keep up with the comments and was spending entire days just on replies on my various blog pages.

    Though I’m rather “driven”, I still get really, really fatigued (there’s a few books there). so sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”), I got swamped with comments on my various blogs, so have had to close them off on all of my blogs, except for one or two of particular interest to me –

    see
    http://www.headbraininjury.wordpress.com
    http://www.traumaticbraininjurytbi.wordpress.com
    and
    https://livingwithheadinjury.wordpress.com/

    Sorry and hope you can understand.

    * “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    ~ Franz Kafka

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.a
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    When (or if ever) you arrive in heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings that carried you there.”

    – as adapted from the inspiring words of Jonathan Edwards, former minister in New England, Massachusetts

    “The Greatest Race: Living by (with) faith, hope and love is the highest podium any person can reach, God’s podium that anyone stand on.”
    – c

    “Having pursued the goals, the dreams set before us and run the race with persistence and endurance, after giving it all. Then one day standing on the summit of life, breathing in the pure sweet oxygen of achievement, totally satisfied in running the greatest race, the race of life one that ANYONE can run and win.”

    from http://racetothechequeredflag.wordpress.com/
    and http://www.godandformula1.wordpress.com

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”

    The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B005GGMAW4

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock

    https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=%22craig+lock%22&sitesearch_type=STORE

    http://www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books
    and http://goo.gl/vTpjk

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!

    “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! ”

    Don’t worry about the world ending today…
    as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand

    PPS

    “I wish you well on a rainy day
    I wish you rainbows to brighten your day
    To feel your quiet moments with a special kind of warmth
    to remind you that happiness can happen
    when you least expect it.

    I wish you rainbows to make you laugh and smile
    to show you the simple beauty of life
    and to give you the magic of dreams come true.

    I wish you rainbows
    I wish you well.”

    – Larry S. Chengges

    ”Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
    I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.”

    – James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

    Like

  5. Pingback: There us NO SUCH THING as a person who had a 100% recovery from a serious head (brain) injury ….” – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI

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