use your brain - psychology - pic by Jose Luis Navarro creative commons licence

Traumatic brain injuries are extremely serious incidences, and while not overly common, occur regularly enough that awareness should be maintained.

According to brain injury charity Headway, there were over 350,000 hospital admissions relating to brain injury in 2019-20 alone.

But what does treatment look like, and what might the future hold?

What are TBIs?
TBIs, or traumatic brain injuries, are injuries that occur as a result of some traumatic event – specifically, wherein the head has been struck with force.

This can happen in a number of ways and from a wide variety of circumstances.

Some common causes of TBIs include, but are not limited to:
– Accidents or repeated impact during a contact sport such as rugby.
– A road traffic incident, whether by car, motorbike or bicycle.
– A simple trip, slip or fall.
– A workplace incident involving falling or flying objects.

In many of these cases, the injury is not the fault of the injured; brain injury claims highlight the negligent behaviour of employers, drivers or local councils in the passing of both judgement and compensation to injured parties.

Traumatic brain injuries present in various forms, too – each of which can have their own specific health impacts in both the short and long term.

The damage is often done through the secondary motion of brain in the skull, though; as an object strikes the skull, or as the skull comes to a sudden stop, momentum is conserved in the brain – causing it to collide against the interior walls of the brain.

The brain is a hugely complex organ, and a wide variety of symptoms can present following a TBI.

Short-term symptoms might include dizziness, inability to communicate and impacts on the senses, while long-term impacts can present in mobility issues, memory problems and even cognitive ability.

Current Treatment Pathways
Given the complexity of brain injuries, proper diagnostics are a key part of the treatment process.

MRI scans are a major part of this process, and crucial to understanding the condition within the skull, and the scope of the injuries suffered.

In many cases, brain injuries are rendered more severe through swelling incurred by the injury; either cranial swelling or internal bleeding can apply pressure to the brain.

If this is present, it requires immediate intervention.

Surgery is often necessary to staunch bleeding and alleviate swelling, as well as potentially to directly operate on the brain itself.

Long-term treatment involves rehabilitation, whether physically rehabilitating the body or teaching the injured party certain skills again – from moving to speaking.

Future Treatments
New developments in neuroscience and bioanalysis could serve to significantly improve the prognosis for future brain injury suffers, though.

A recent trial study of a new form of molecular analysis was particularly successful in helping practitioners effectively grade brain injuries, making judgements on treatment much simpler in the acute phase of injury.

(stock pic by Jose Luis Navarro creative commons licence)

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