Archive for the ‘Other Brain Injuries’ Category

What to Expect From Brain Injury Rehabilitation?

Brain Injury RehabilitationBrain injury rehabilitation programs are helpful for patients who suffered a traumatic brain injury. The rehabilitation process assists the natural healing ability of the brain and helps develop new nerve pathways in the damaged areas, making it possible for a person to learn alternative ways of working and functioning in daily life.

A rehabilitation program involves different types of specialist techniques that help a person recover naturally after a brain injury. Depending on an individual’s needs, rehab can include physical, occupational or speech therapy, as well as psychiatric care and social support.

Alongside personalized rehabilitation programs, the patient’s family members have an indispensable role to play in the recovery. Loss of independence and function can push the patient into a state of despair. However, constant love and care from family members can make rehabilitation easier for a survivor.

Here are the different stages of a brain injury rehabilitation program.

Acute Rehabilitation

Acute rehabilitation is a rehabilitation process implemented in the early stages of a patient’s recovery. This form of rehab involves expert professionals caring for patients in a special setting — usually a specified unit in a trauma or rehabilitation hospital.

Post-Acute Rehabilitation

Post-acute rehabilitation is a more intensive therapy that takes place in a transitional rehabilitation facility or residential rehabilitation site. With the help of this therapy, a patient’s brain slowly gets accustomed to regular activities and eventually learns to perform daily tasks independently. Post-acute rehabilitation involves six or more hours of treatment every day.

Sub-Acute Rehabilitation

The sub-acute rehabilitation program is specifically designed for patients who are unable to tolerate intensive therapies. These patients are transferred to a sub-acute rehabilitation facility, where they are treated using less intensive methods but for an extended period of time. The treatment is also helpful for people who have made a recovery in an acute rehabilitation setting but have shown no functional progress.

Day Treatment

Individuals who have recovered well after a brain injury and don’t need medical assistance around the clock can opt for day treatment. In this program, patients are treated in a structured group setting during the day and are able to go home at night.

Outpatient Therapy

After a patient has passed through the various stages of a rehab program — acute, post-acute and sub-acute — he or she may keep on receiving outpatient therapy to maintain recovery. The program is also beneficial for survivors who suffered a minor brain injury or those who have been diagnosed late with a brain injury.

At TriMunity, we offer patients and their families complete support with the help of our resources, education programs and outreach efforts. We truly believe that no one needs to go through the trauma of a brain injury alone.

Struggling with the aftereffects of a traumatic brain injury? Turn to our dedicated members of TriMunity for inspiration and support. We will use our resources and knowledge to help you move forward in life. Call us at (844) 838-2900.

What’s the Difference Between a TBI and an ABI?

Difference Between TBI and ABIThe brain is the human body’s most important organ. It controls vital functions such as speech, memory and limb movement. Brain injuries can occur due to various factors. Sudden onset of a brain injury may be caused by trauma, lack of oxygen supply to the brain or an infection. Insidious onset of brain injury may be caused by tumors, degenerative neurological diseases or prolonged substance or alcohol abuse.

Two of the most common brain injuries are traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI).

Difference Between TBI and ABI

Traumatic Brain Injury

A TBI occurs when an external force injures the brain, such as a jolt or blow to the head. However, TBI is not synonymous with a head injury, as one can sustain damage to the scalp, face or skull without injuring the brain. Assaults, falls, sports injuries, motorcycle or car crashes and collisions are a few of the many common causes of TBI.

Traumatic brain injuries range from mild concussions to severe or even permanent brain damage. Survivors of TBI can face lasting effects in their physical and mental abilities as well as impaired emotions and personality. There may also be a need for rehabilitation to recover and relearn skills.

How a TBI is treated depends on the severity of the injury. A range of tests such as a CT scan or an X-ray can help pinpoint the exact area of damage. Some cases may even require complex surgeries.

Recovery from a TBI takes time. It depends on various factors, such as the extent of the damage, the area where the damage has occurred, age and general health of the person, quality of treatment and the first aid received.

Acquired Brain Injury

As the name suggests, an ABI is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth. It is not hereditary, induced by birth trauma, congenital or degenerative. ABI can be caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or AIDS. Other causes include substance or alcohol abuse, physical injury, stroke and lack of oxygen to the brain.

The effects of an ABI will be different for each person, ranging from mild to severe. It affects a person’s sensory and physical abilities, increases mental and physical fatigue and may also slow down how fast they process information. Many people suffering from an ABI also experience behavior and personality changes.

ABI impacts all aspects of one’s life, as it often leads to social isolation. People who have suffered from an ABI need patience, compassion and understanding above all. Counseling is one of the most helpful ways for the patient and the patient’s family to battle an ABI.

A brain injury takes a toll on both the patient and the patient’s family. Reaching out to support groups and counselors can be useful as they help you navigate your way through the injury, provide professional support and enable patients to become a part of a social community.

If you or your loved one has recently sustained a brain injury, we invite you to join the TryMunity community. Contact the TryMunity community today and discover a supportive environment that has the answers to your most pressing brain injury questions.

Brain Food — The Diet to Help Heal

Brain FoodDid you know that by following a healthy diet you can actually help your brain heal? By including or excluding certain foods as part of your healthy lifestyle, you can help maximize the possibility that you’ll have a healthy brain for many years to come. Here’s a quick look at some of the best foods to include in your diet to improve your brain health.

You know that a balanced diet is part of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that it can reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease? Though the brain only represents 2% of your adult weight, it uses 20% of your body’s energy. Insufficient energy can result in fatigue, concentration issues and memory problems.

Generally, you want to get five portions of fruits and vegetables, protein from oily fish, eggs and meat, healthy complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, and limited amounts of salt, sugar and alcohol. The brain gets energy from the glucose in carbohydrates, with complex carbohydrates releasing that energy slowly and in a stable fashion over a longer time period than simple sugars.

A fifth of your brain’s dry weight is fat from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Because these compounds are not produced in the body, they have to be found in your diet, with omega-6 fats coming from poultry, avocado, eggs and nuts and omega-3 fats coming from walnuts, oily fish such as salmon and seeds such as flaxseed. At the same time, trans fats should be avoided because of their action in stopping essential fatty acids from working effectively.

Amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, are also the basis for neurotransmitters, the brain’s regulators for mood and energy, including your natural sleep cycle. The B-vitamins folate and B-12 support healthy nervous system function and a deficit of these nutrients lead to memory issues, fatigue, numbness in the extremities, muscle weakness, psychological issues and mouth ulcers. Superfoods, such as deep-colored fruits, vegetables and berries tend to prevent disease through high antioxidant levels, as do dark chocolate, green tea and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Using extra virgin olive oil in place of other oils has been proven to lower ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive issues.

Though what you eat is important, when you eat is equally important. Though it can be very tempting to skip meals when you’re busy, regular meals help you keep a steady energy level. If you’re not in a position to always eat on time, at least eat a healthy breakfast to improve concentration and mental performance during your daytime activities.

By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet, including brain food, you can minimize your risk for a wide range of neurological issues and diseases. Take a few minutes today to determine what habits and foods you can swap out to make the transition easier, then discover how wonderful having a healthy brain is.

How to Know If Your Teen Has a Concussion

Your Teen Has a ConcussionWhen your teen has had a head injury, talk of a concussion may be mentioned. But what exactly is a concussion, what are the symptoms and how should treatment proceed? Are there any sports risks or preventable measures that can be taken to lower your teen’s risk of a concussion? Here’s a quick look at the basics you need to know about this health issue.

How to Know if Your Teen Has a Concussion

A concussion is a mild TBI, or traumatic brain injury, which takes place when the patient suffers a blow to the head or has an injury that makes their head move back and forth with a great deal of force. It can cause changes in brain chemistry and damage to the brain cells themselves. Typically, teens who follow their doctor’s recommendations recover within a few weeks.

Symptoms of a concussion can include losing consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, blurred or double vision, problems answering questions, nausea or vomiting, slurring of speech, memory issues, problems with concentration, sleep issues, mood changes or generally not feeling well. If these issues become worse or your teen suffers a seizure or loss of consciousness, it’s important to immediately seek medical attention. Concussion symptoms typically happen immediately, but their onset may be delayed by hours or even days.

A concussion occurs when the brain is either injured directly or from it impacting the inside of the skull. This causes a change of signals between nervous tissues, which in turn causes concussion symptoms to appear. There are risks in contact sports, but having appropriate protective gear and following other preventative measures can help reduce the risk of concussion. However, concussions can also result from falls, car or bicycle accidents, fights and similar incidents.

Concussions often do not show up on MRIs or CT scans. However, this type of imaging may be used if the patient has lost consciousness, had a severe headache or one that continued to worsen, had continued vomiting or had a serious accident or injury. Many coaches and athletic trainers are able to provide sideline concussion testing to determine if the athlete should immediately seek medical care.

Concussions heal at their own rate, but generally, patients are told to cut back on physical activity or activities that require serious concentration. The patient can participate in activities while still symptomatic, but if the symptoms interfere with that activity, they should try a less strenuous version of that activity or try again after a short break.

It’s very important that teens follow their doctor’s instructions with regards to rest, activity level and returning to sports. Failing to do so, especially if the teen returns to play before they are fully healed, can result in second-impact syndrome, which in turn may lead to permanent brain damage. It’s important to seek medical advice if you suspect that your teen’s injury may have caused a concussion, especially if they have a headache that doesn’t improve or worsens.

Are Children at Risk for Acquired Brain Injury?

Learn about the risks of acquired brain injury in children.

By BlurryMe at Shutterstock

The words Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) are shocking to hear whether you are an adult or the parent of a young child. Unfortunately, these are the words that more than one million people in the United States hear every year. Survivors of an ABI, including children, must learn how to adjust to the new normal, complete their daily tasks, and relearn basic life skills.

What Is an ABI?

Did you know that acquired brain injuries can occur in a wide variety of circumstances? In layman’s terms, an ABI is caused when there is a lack of oxygen in the brain. This type of injury can happen to anyone from any walk of life. In fact, acquired brain injuries often happen to children. With this insight in mind, it is important to note that brain injuries suffered at birth or from degenerative diseases do not fall under the ABI umbrella.

Learn More About the ABI Risk Factors for Children

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of disability and death in children is a brain injury. Children between 0 – 4 and 15 – 19 years of age are at the highest risk of brain injury. Each year, an estimated 564,000 children are admitted to the hospital with suspected brain-related injuries. The majority of these children are given treatment plans and released from the hospital. Additionally, each year, there are about 37,000 children of ages 0 – 14 who are hospitalized due to brain injuries. With these statistics in mind, the most common ABI risk factors for children include car accidents, sports-related injuries, physical abuse, falls, and other causes.

Rehabilitation and Hope After an Acquired Brain Injury

The good news for parents and children suffering from an ABI is that the brain is a resilient and miraculous organ. The brain has the unique ability to reroute signals from damaged areas to non-damaged portions, which means that many survivors can fully recover after suffering an ABI. In other words, the brain can retrain and reset its neuropaths to create “a new normal” after a traumatic event. However, it is important to note that the rehabilitation path is long and gruelling. It will require complete support from family members and caregivers to keep survivors hopeful as they relearn how to perform daily activities. With time, therapy, and the support of an online community, significant progress can be made after an ABI.

Discover Valuable Resources for Survivors and Family Members

Whether you or your child has suffered from an acquired brain injury, the TryMunity community is here to help. Our resources are designed to answer your most pressing questions, while simultaneously connecting you with other survivors and family members. It is our goal to give you the caring, supportive, and understanding environment that you and your family need to begin healing. Find hope through our valuable medical resources and FAQ pages. Begin your journey towards rehabilitation by joining the TryMunity community today.

Dealing with a Brain Injury and the Life Changes that Come with It

Dealing with a Brain InjuryEvery year, the lives of millions of people change due to brain injuries. Each year, 1.7 million people and their families have to adjust to the aftermath of an unexpected accident that caused a brain injury. While many survivors will fully recover, there are currently an estimated 5 million people who are living with lifelong disabilities as a direct result of their brain injuries. A ray of hope in this seemingly hopeless situation is that there are several steps that the survivors and their family members can take in order to better cope with lifelong disabilities after a brain injury.

Family Members Should Remember That Each Case Is Unique

There is an old saying – “you can’t compare apples to oranges.” As simple as this logic is, it can also be applied to brain injuries. Much like comparing apples to oranges, you can’t compare brain injuries. In fact, no two brain injuries are exactly the same. This fact must be remembered as you adjust to the unexpected life changes that are associated with this serious injury.

Medical research and a supportive online community of survivors and families will be your helpline as you try to understand your specific case or the case of a family member. The online community will listen to and answer your questions, share their stories, and give you the insights that you need to better navigate these confusing waters. With the help of the TryMunity community, you can receive the support and knowledgeable insights that you need to begin healing, and coping with the aftermath of the traumatic event.

Brain Injury Survivors Must Hold onto Hope

Survivors might want to give in to depression or feelings of complete and overwhelming despair. The role of family members should be to provide support as survivors learn to turn away from depression and hold onto hope. Surviving a brain injury is possible with the support of family, friends, and a trusted online community of individuals who have also suffered from brain injuries. Survivors can hold onto hope by celebrating small daily achievements. Whether it is relearning how to write, passing new memory tests, or finding the joy in a beautiful sunrise, every little victory helps. There are numerous little things that can help survivors discover the hope of a new day in the aftermath of their injury.

There Is Hope for Caregivers, Family Members, And Survivors at TryMunity

At TryMunity, we believe in spreading hope to brain injury survivors, their caregivers, and their families. Our supportive online community provides the insights, resources, and the space needed to create a sense of belonging after a traumatic accident.

As you and your loved ones begin their rehabilitation journeys, we invite you to join the TryMunity community. Contact the TryMunity community today and discover a supportive environment that has the answers to your most pressing brain injury questions.

Are Geriatric Adults at Risk for Acquired Brain Injury?

Learn the common causes of acquired brain injury in Geriatric adults.

By fizkes at Shutterstock

A brain injury is typically associated with severe head trauma, however, an acquired brain injury (ABI) is actually the cause for close to one million brain injury cases each year. Acquired brain injuries differ from a traumatic brain injury or degenerative brain injuries in that there is another condition or injury that leads to the brain injury, such as a stroke or lack of oxygen to the brain. But, just like with a traumatic brain injury, acquired brain injuries require the survivors to relearn completing daily tasks and basically how to live.

Unfortunately, those with the greatest risk factors of an acquired brain injury are geriatric adults. Here are some of the most common causes of acquired brain injuries in the elderly and why it is critical that they receive the care need to reduce the risk.

Stroke

Strokes are cardiovascular events that result in the blood supply to the brain being temporarily cut off. In many situations, a stroke is caused by a blood clot, which causes narrowing of the artery or vein. The clot may also travel to an area that restricts blood flow to the brain.

Although poor heart health is one of the most significant causes of a stroke, anyone can have a stroke. The elderly are especially at risk. One common occurrence that increases the risk factors for geriatric adults is a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which also known as a mini-stroke. TIAs may occur multiple times, producing temporary blockages that quickly resolve.

Geriatric adults often neglect to seek care when a TIA occurs because the issue is resolved, so they associate the discomfort with something less serious; however, TIA increases the risk of a stroke, and brain damage can occur as a result of TIA.

Brain Hemorrhage

A hemorrhage is bleeding in the brain, which is generally caused by another problem, such as a fall, a sudden blow to the head, or possibly a brain infection. Geriatric adults may hit their head in a minor fall but discount the possibility of a more severe injury simply because the fall wasn’t “serious.”

However, bleeding on the brain may range from mild to life-threatening, and it may temporarily impede their brain function. As the bleeding spreads to other areas of their brain, it deprives the brain of oxygen, which may lead to permanent damage.

Loss of Oxygen to the Brain

Something as simple as geriatric adults choking on their medications may lead to oxygen deprivation to the brain. Though lasting, severe brain damage requires about four minutes of oxygen deprivation, the risk factors of minor brain damage may begin as soon as one minute into the deprivation of oxygen.

The risk factors for oxygen deprivation for geriatric adults are high, especially if they are alone. Loss of oxygen to the brain in the elderly may occur from a variety of causes, such as an allergic reaction that leads to anaphylactic shock, drowning from a fall in the bath, a stroke, or choking.

Know the Warning Signs of ABI

An acquired brain injury may cause a wide variety of mild to severe symptoms. In many cases, the cause of the acquired brain injury is apparent, and the symptoms will typically begin shortly after the initial injury. However, when geriatric adults are alone and suffer an event that leads to an acquired brain injury, the outcome may be fatal. It is essential that care be available for geriatric adults as frequently as possible to reduce the risk of a situation occurring that may lead to an acquired brain injury.

Join TryMunity Following an ABI

If you or someone you love is living with an ABI, join the community at TryMunity. Here, you’ll find a national network of TBI and ABI survivors, caretakers, friends, and family members. Learn more and join at community.trymunity.com.

What Happens When the Cerebral Cortex Is Damaged?

Trauma to the cerebral cortex can lead to various disorders, including Apraxia.

By adike at Shutterstock

Your cerebral cortex is a thin layer of brain matter covering the outer portion of the cerebrum. The cerebral cortex typically ranges from 1.5mm to 5mm, so it’s quite small. As a result, it is easily damaged by trauma.

Despite its thin nature, the cerebral cortex is also the most developed portion of the brain. It’s directly responsible for thinking, perceiving, producing and understanding language, as well as processing information around you. When damaged, these functions can be hindered. The extent of that damage, however, is based on the type of trauma and how severe it is.

Cerebral Cortex Disorders

There are a number of disorders that result from direct damage or death of brain cells within the cerebral cortex. The disorders’ symptoms vary depending on which area is damaged. There are four primary areas: the frontal lobes, parietal lobes, temporal lobes, and occipital lobes.

Let’s begin with apraxia, which is one of the most common disorders stemming from cerebral cortex damage. Apraxia is actually a group of disorders characterized by the inability to perform specific motor functions. Individuals suffering from apraxia may have difficulty walking, dressing, and using common objects as they used to.

The next most common type of disorder caused by a damaged cerebral cortex is ataxia. Ataxia is characterized by a distinct lack of coordination and balance. Patients may suffer from involuntary muscle movements or a loss of muscle control in portions of their body.

Furthermore, injuries to the cerebral cortex are often linked to depressive disorders, poor decision making, a complete lack of impulse control, and memory or attention problems.

Cerebral Cortex Trauma Symptoms

Following severe trauma to the cerebral cortex, numerous symptoms may present themselves. These symptoms include, but not are limited to, the following:

  • Difficulty in planning basic tasks, such as making a cup of coffee or restocking toilet paper.
  • Apathy or a complete loss of interest in life.
  • Loss of thinking flexibility.
  • Difficulty focusing or a complete lack of attention.
  • Difficulty speaking in social settings.
  • Often repeating actions without any awareness of doing so.
  • Mood swings or complete loss of inhibition (may lead to offensive outbursts or inappropriate behavior).
  • Weakness along one side of the face or body.
  • Difficulty walking properly.
  • Disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.

If you or a loved one suffer from recent trauma to the cerebral cortex, seek medical attention immediately. Any signs of common symptoms or disorders should be addressed by a medical professional promptly to begin treatment.

For support during this difficult time, turn to TryMunity’s community. We provide a forum to interact with other trauma patients and family members, as well as numerous informative resources for living with traumatic brain injuries.

Could Blood Deprivation Cause Brain Damage?

Severe blood deprivation can lead to short- and long-term brain damage.

By Rocketclips, Inc. at Shutterstock

Your body’s blood delivers oxygen to all of the organs. This includes the brain, which requires a constant supply of both blood and oxygen. Without either, the brain is forced to shut down, leading to irreversible brain damage.

This condition is known as brain hypoxia or brain anoxia. The body will respond by increasing the blood flow to the brain. However, the body can only naturally double the normal level. If this is not enough to compensate for the damage, brain function will decrease and negative symptoms will begin to present themselves.

Effects of Brain Anoxia

Your body will immediately respond to a lack of blood or oxygen to the brain. Of course, how it reacts depends on the extent of the injury. The worse the injury, the more extreme the effects will be.

If the cerebral anoxia is relatively mild, you may experience noticeable issues with concentration, attention span, coordination, and short-term memory. These symptoms are likely to be subtle at first. You may also experience a headache, lightheadedness, dizziness, or trouble breathing.

If the anoxia is more severe, you’ll experience confusion, agitation, and drowsiness. The skin will start to turn a bluish color. This is often most apparent around the lips, mouth, and fingertips.

The nerve cells within the brain are extremely sensitive. A distinct lack of blood or oxygen to these will produce damage to the cells. Some areas are more vulnerable than others, though.

During a significant interruption of blood flow, such as during a heart attack, the areas furthest from the three major arteries supplying the brain are likely to be damaged first. These areas may lead to infarction (tissue death), which in turn contributes to a risk of strokes.

Long-Term Effects

There are long-term consequences of blood or oxygen loss to the brain, the severity of which depends on how irreversible the damage is to the brain. A short-lived anoxia, for instance, may result in a complete recovery. A more severe anoxia, however, usually leads to long-term effects.

Noticeable effects of blood and oxygen depletion often include damage to:

  • The cerebral cortex, which leads to limb weakness, movement and balance issues, and a loss of coordination.
  • The occipital lab, contributing to a loss of visual function, known as cortical blindness.
  • The hippocampus, near the inner surface of the temporal lobe, which can result in memory problems.
  • The areas of the brain involved with the production and articulation of speech, causing a disturbance in speech patterns and written communication.
  • The hypothalamus or pituitary gland, leading to hormonal issues, including hypopituitarism.

As you can see, there are both short- and long-term effects of blood and oxygen loss to the brain. Your brain cannot function correctly without a constant supply of both. After a severe injury or a heart attack, immediately go to the hospital to schedule a brain scan. The damage may be hidden at first, but it will most likely present itself over time.

For traumatic brain injury support, visit our community at TryMunity. We have a large support network spanning the whole country.

Can Hitting Your Head Against the Ground Cause Brain Damage?

Patient examining his x-rays. TryMunity.

Photo by Rocketclips, Inc. for Shutterstock

As we are now officially in the fall season, football is on everybody’s minds. Seasons are well underway, both in amateur teams and professional, and there is palpable excitement from fans everywhere. However, if you are a parent of a younger football player, it is important to not get lost in the excitement and forget that there is not only a lot of wear and tear occuring on  athletes’ bodies, but also the ever present risk of a life-changing accident such as a traumatic brain injury. As football is a contact sport, players are prone to be knocked down. This begs the question of whether athletes, or anyone for that matter, can experience brain damage after their head collides with the hard ground.

Brain Damage Can Occur in a Myriad of Ways

The most common type of brain injury that could come from one’s head making intense contact with a hard surface like the ground would be a concussion. But concussions can occur at any time and any place, and against any surface. What happens when a concussion occurs is that your brain inside your skull moves back and forth, having incredibly serious effects depending on the strength of the impact. Concussions are deemed mild traumatic brain injuries, however long-term damage can still occur. Memory and concentration problems are possible extended results of an intense concussion. If you have any doubts that your athlete may have a concussion or any trouble with their head, always err on the side of caution and take them to a medical professional for treatment.

Signs of Brain Damage

After impact with the ground or another surface, there are signs that you should be looking for to determine whether or not someone is experiencing brain damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are different symptoms for different levels of brain damage. In a situation of mild TBI, you should go in if you are: losing consciousness, vomiting, having difficulty speaking, trouble with your balance, and others. Severe traumatic brain injuries will have scarier symptoms, such as: unconsciousness for long spans of time, seizures or convulsions, slurred speech, unusual behavior, weakness, and comas, amongst additional possible indications.

Join TryMunity

There are truly an innumerable amount of ways that brain damage can occur. Hitting your head against the ground is only one of them, and athletes should always be cautious if an impact is experienced. Should the worst occur and you are faced with a traumatic brain injury diagnosis, know that you and your family are not alone throughout the recovery process. TryMunity was created as an exclusive community for TBI survivors and their loved ones to share their stories and to partake in a community of people going through similar experiences. Join TryMunity today by going to community.trymunity.com/.