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BRAIN INJURIES DEFINED

BRAIN INJURIES DEFINED


BRAIN INJURY

An injury that disrupts normal function of the brain. ¹⁴ ¹⁶

EFFECTS + SYMPTOMS

The observable effects of a brain injury can be noticeable immediately, or become noticeable over time. Functional consequences are measurable immediately with a VoxNeuro Cognitive Health Assessment. Early detection is key to managing the outcome of the injury.

Observing one of the following clinical signs constitutes an alteration in brain function and should be a cause for immediate medical attention following an injury: ¹⁶

  1. Any period of loss of or decreased consciousness;
  2. Any loss of memory for events immediately before (retrograde amnesia) or after the injury (post-traumatic amnesia)
  3. Neurologic deficits such as muscle weakness, loss of balance and coordination, disruption of vision, change in speech and language, or sensory loss
  4. Any alteration in mental state at the time of the injury such as confusion, disorientation, slowed thinking, or difficulty with concentration.

 

NOTICEABLE CHANGES MAY INCLUDE: ¹⁹

Cognitive

  • Slowed information processing
  • Problems planning, organizing or starting tasks
  • Difficulty following conversations, finding the right word, or speaking in complete sentences
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Easily distracted
  • Easily confused
  • Poor memory
  • Lowered inhibition (saying or doing something before thinking it through)

Physical

  • Problems with balance, walking, sitting, bathing, household or everyday tasks
  • Slurred speech
  • Chronic pain such as headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Change in vision
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensory changes: ringing in the ears, trouble with hand-eye coordination, unpleasant tastes or smells, sensations on the skin like tingling, pain, or itching, difficulty with balance, dizziness

Emotional

  • Irritable
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Lack of emotional responses
  • Emotionally vulnerable (ex. Crying without cause, emotional outbursts)

Behavioral

  • Engaging in risky behavior, impulsive
  • Isolating oneself
  • Difficulty with social and work relationships
  • Changing/inconsistent sleep patterns
  • Change in role – often from being independent to relying on others for care and support

ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY (ABI)

ABI refers to damage to the brain resulting from events incurred after birth.

There are two classifications for ABIs: traumatic, and non-traumatic. ¹⁹

CAUSES INCLUDE: ¹⁹

  • traumatic injury
  • seizures
  • tumors
  • events where the brain has been deprived of oxygen
  • infectious diseases
  • toxic exposure and substance abuse

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

ABIs occurring due to an external force such as a bump, blunt force, or jolt to the head are classified as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). An external force to the head does not always result in a TBI.

TBIs range in severity from “severe”, such as coma or vegetative state, to “mild” (mTBI), commonly referred to as concussion. ¹⁴

TBIs can result in temporary injury or more severe, long-term damage to brain cells.

CAUSES INCLUDE:¹⁹

  • motor vehicle accidents
  • falls, assault
  • gunshot wounds
  • domestic violence
  • shaken baby syndrome
  • sports injuries
  • explosive blasts and combat injuries

NON-TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries are caused by something that happens inside the body or a substance introduced into the body that damages brain tissues. ¹⁹

CAUSES INCLUDE: ¹⁹

  • Ischemic stroke (stroke from a blocked blood vessel in the brain)
  • Hemorrhagic stroke (stroke from a burst blood vessel in the brain)
  • Aneurysm (a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain that may leak/rupture)
  • Seizure disorders
  • Brain tumour
  • Poisoning
  • Substance abuse
  • Opioid overdose (heroin, fentanyl, codeine, morphine…)
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Hydrocephalus (fluid accumulates in the brain)
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessel walls in the brain)
  • Hematoma (blood collecting on the surface of the brain)

References available on voxneuro.com/the-science