Traumatic Brain Injury

Introduction

Traumatic brain injury is caused by sudden external forces that have physical impact on the head and thus the brain. Impacts due to abrupt collisions on the head such as in case of accidents, falls or the being knocked can have adverse effects on the brain that may lead to traumatic brain injury. This paper seeks to discuss traumatic brain injury as a disability. The paper will look into the history of traumatic brain injury, its causes, diagnosis as well as its treatment.

History of traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury has a long history. Reference to traumatic brain injury has been made to periods of as early as the nineteenth century. Brain injuries had, by the times of civil wars, been identified and medical steps initiated to help people who suffered from such injuries.

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Knowledge about traumatic brain injury was in its development process in the nineteenth century following increased cases of injuries that were associated with the brain. The civil war that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century, between the years 1861 and 1865, made the cases of traumatic brain injury rampant.

During the time, a lot of people, especially the ones who engaged in gun battles, suffered from gunshot injuries in the head. The low chances of survival due to these injuries were noted and measures taken to help save people who got such injuries. Measures such as pathophysiology had been developed and were being offered to those who suffered from such injuries. Developments of antiseptics were then the only available remedy for such injuries (David et al. 1).

Causes of traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries are caused by physical bombardment of the head with an object. Reported causes of these injuries include violent collisions, accidents and hobbies such as sports which may involve accidental knocking of the head.

One of the main causes of the traumatic brain injury is accidents caused by motor vehicles. Motor vehicle accidents result in sudden motions and impacts that can lead to the head being knocked resulting to brain injuries. During an accident, a person’s head can be “stricken, suddenly jerked, or penetrated by a foreign object” (Brain 1).

If such effects pass to the brain, then a traumatic brain injury may occur. The injury may be mild or severe depending on the degree of injury caused to the brain. Mild injuries may be temporary with inflicted short time unconsciousness while a severe traumatic brain injury causes prolonged and more extreme effects to the injured person. Motor vehicle accidents cause a large percent of total traumatic brain injuries reported.

A research conducted by Atlanta nation center for injury prevention and control conducted in the year 2006 indicated that about at least twenty percent of the reported traumatic brain injuries were due to motor vehicle accidents. In the research, over a million cases of traumatic injuries were reported in America out of which almost three hundred thousand were caused by motor vehicle accidents.

The brain injuries encountered in these accidents constitutes the most severe category of traumatic brain injuries. This can be attributed to the fact that most of these accidents lead to high level impacts that exerts a lot of physical pressure on the brain (Brain 1).

The effect of the motor vehicle accidents that leads to traumatic brain injuries results from biological properties of the brain that demands coordination among cells of the brain. One of the essentials of this coordination is the nerve system.

In an event of an accident, this system may be strained due to pressure from sudden movement of the head or even collision of the head with objects in a vehicle or outside a vehicle in the process of the accident. The brain then loses coordination resulting in the injury. Another significant cause of traumatic brain injuries is falls. Though its effects are occasionally less severe, falls cause more cases of traumatic brain injuries as compared to motor vehicle accidents.

While motor vehicle accidents cause about twenty percent of brain injuries in America, falls cause close to thirty percent. Falls can occur when a person slips or flips from a high level off the ground. It can also occur as a result of a violent knocks on the head as a result people in a fight or in social activities such as games. Falls account for a higher percentage of the injuries because they occur even in domestic settings.

The extent of a brain injury as a result of a fall also varies depending on the nature of the fall. Injuries due to falls are, however, considered to milder than those as a result of motor vehicle accidents. Other causes of traumatic brain injuries include usage of firearms, sports among others (Brain 1).

Diagnosis of traumatic brain injury

Some of the symptoms of brain injuries are similar to those of other complications and thus care should be taken during diagnosis to avoid confusing brain damage with other medical complications. One of the key characteristics of traumatic brain injury is “confusion and disorientation” (CDC 8) of the victim. A person who has developed a brain injury will realize a change into a sense of mental instability characterized by confusion in the activities of the victim.

The change into this confusion is normally significant and distinguishable from the state of the person prior to the development of the complication. Unconsciousness that lasts for a long time is another feature that is associated with traumatic brain injury. The interference of the nerve systems in the brain causes lapses that send the victim into long durations of unconsciousness that can last to about half an hour.

Higher susceptibility to coma is another indicator that can lead to traumatic brain damage being considered. Though all states of coma are not indicators of brain damage, higher scales, normally rated at thirteen and above, have been associated with traumatic brain injury. Experiences such as: “amnesia and neurological problems” (CDC 8) also point to possibility of brain injury (CDC 8).

Other symptoms such as: “headaches, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, seizures” (CDC 8) together with changes in a person’s behavior such as “irritability, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance” (CDC 8) among other characteristic symptoms are indicators of the presence of traumatic brain injury (CDC 8). Care should be taken before conclusive diagnosis into traumatic brain injury is pronounced because most of these symptoms are, independently or in some cases jointly, experienced in other complications (CDC 8).

Treatment of traumatic brain injury

Developments have not yet been made into a specific treatment of traumatic brain injury. Damages on the head vary to a great extent and a range of care is therefore necessary for the victims subject to specific brain damages. With no availability of treatment, victims are left to the possibility of recovering or rehabilitation if their injuries do not cause death.

Mild injuries are recognized to respond to recovery care and this has led to a large percentage of victims regaining their complete health after suffering mild brain injury. It has been established that more than half of victims of mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries recover under counseling on how to deal with the injuries. Medical services are however available for controlling and treating other aspects of external injuries suffered in order to minimize brain injuries.

Measures like “removal of foreign bodies, control of bleeding, or craniotomy to relieve pressure from swelling” (Edwards 6) are normally undertaken to control the extent of brain injury suffered from a head injury. Medical care that is available to victims of traumatic brain injury are therefore control measure to help in reducing the degree of damage as well as associated impacts of the injury (Edwards 6).

Preventive measures are therefore the only sure alternative for controlling traumatic brain injury. Taking precautions to avoid or reduce accidents as well as their impacts is for example an effective measure in controlling traumatic brain injury (CDC 1).

Conclusion

Traumatic brain injury is a medical complication that is caused by physical head injuries that penetrates into the brain. The complication can be identified through the symptoms it causes on the individual. Though no treatment has been developed for traumatic brain injury, measures are available for controlling the effects of the disability.

Works Cited

Brain. Motor vehicle induced brain injury. Brain Spinal Cord Org, 2011. Web. April 20, 2011.

CDC. Facts for physician about traumatic brain injury. Center for Disease Control, 2011. Web. April 20, 2011.

David et al. The history and evolution of traumatic brain injury, rehabilitation in military service members and veterans. The History and Evolution of Traumatic Brain, 2010. Web. April 20, 2011.

Edwards, Alan. Traumatic Brain Injury: Care and Treatment of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans. Washington, DC: DIANE Publishing. Print.

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