Archive for the ‘TBI’ Category

The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Parkinson’s

Several recent scientific studies have revealed that the link between TBI and Parkinson’s disease may be stronger than we originally thought. According to a study conducted at the University of California, even a mild brain injury can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s by as much as 56 percent. How high the risk becomes depends largely on the severity of the head injury, but the research is clear: once a TBI occurs, there’s a significant change in risk.

If you think that percentage seems high, it will probably seem even more dramatic once you consider the fact that roughly 5.3 million Americans are living with a TBI-related disability. Not only are these people leading lives that are drastically impacted by their injuries, but science now shows that some will likely face potential battles with Parkinson’s as they age.

However, neurophysiologists and brain researchers urge the public not to immediately associate TBI with Parkinson’s, simply because the risk remains fairly small in the grand scheme of things. Uninjured people have approximately a 0.2 percent chance of developing the disease, while injured individuals have a slightly higher chance, at 0.3 percent. Therefore, the average person with a TBI is only a bit more likely to develop Parkinson’s.

Still, it’s important for people living with TBI to be aware of all the risks and changes they may experience due to their injury. The more knowledge they are equipped with, the better able they are to seek proper medical attention and emotional support.

That’s where the non-profit organization TryMunity steps in. Their goal is to spread awareness about traumatic brain injuries, provide support to those who have survived them, and create a compassionate online community for those who have been touched by brain injuries. You can join their encouraging information group today by visiting www.trymunity.com.

Why Even “Mild” Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Concerning

A traumatic brain injury is diagnosed when a serious blow, jolt, or type of penetration damages the head and disrupts the normal function of the brain. Although not every head injury results in a TBI, millions of traumatic brain injuries take place in America every year.

A TBI can range from “mild” to “severe,” depending on the type of injury and how long it takes for the brain to return to its normal mental status. In the case of a mild TBI, the person’s mental status only changes briefly. They may black out for a short amount of time or develop a concussion, but they return to consciousness fairly quickly. With a severe TBI, a person may remain unconscious for an extended period of time, and even experience amnesia once they finally wake up.

Just because a mild traumatic brain injury is not as serious or life-impacting as a severe one does not mean it’s something to ignore. Mild cases are the most common form of TBI, and they are often overlooked at first because the person does not lose consciousness for long. However, as time progresses, worrisome symptoms may begin to emerge, including:

  • Unexplained mood changes
  • Slowness or difficulty when speaking and thinking
  • Sensitivity to bright light and loud noises
  • Nausea, and potentially confusion

If any of these symptoms present themselves after you or someone you know experiences a head injury, don’t brush them off – seek medical attention immediately. A preliminary diagnosis may have missed the TBI, but the sooner you receive proper help, the easier life will become.

Learn more about mild traumatic brain injuries, as well as severe ones, by joining the non-profit organization called TryMunity. They provide an online community where people affected by TBI can seek support, knowledge, and understanding. Sign up today at www.trymunity.com.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and American Veterans

Awareness of TBI in America has grown, but that doesn’t mean we’re adept at spotting the signs or understanding the history of these injuries. More often than not, traumatic brain injuries that occurred many years ago have been continuously mistaken for emotional or behavioral problems. This poses a specific problem for American veterans who return from their service with undiagnosed TBIs.

After a stint in the armed forces, it’s fairly common for people to return to their normal lives with a series of symptoms, including:

  • Heightened levels of anxiety and exhaustion
  • Difficulties concentrating on and remembering various tasks
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol
  • Feelings of irritability, anger, or frustration

Although these symptoms might be purely psychological, if a veteran was involved in an accident, it’s important to consider that these signs could be related to a TBI. Even mild brain injuries can leave lasting impacts.

The statistics alone speak to how many veterans experience symptoms caused by TBI. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of soldiers who have been involved in blast injuries may have TBI alongside their other injuries. The Department of Defense, and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center are learning more and more about how many veterans have experienced traumatic brain injuries, and it’s now more vital than ever to seek medical attention if you think you may have one.

If you or someone you know returned from service in the military, it might be time to make the connection between symptoms and possible underlying traumatic brain injury. With appropriate support, medical care, and knowledge, steps can be made to improve a veteran’s quality of life – and treat the true injury. Schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible to start on the path towards recovery.

To learn more about traumatic brain injuries and receive support from others who have been affected by them, including injured veterans, join the non-profit organization TryMunity. Their online community is comprised of TBI survivors, their loved ones, and others who have been touched by traumatic brain injuries. Sign up today at www.trymunity.com.

Signs that Your Recovery from a TBI Is Progressing

Recovery from a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be slow and extremely challenging. Depending on the individual and their particular injury, recovery can take anywhere from a few months to several years.

A large part of the recovery is centered on a person’s emotional healing. By monitoring the survivor’s state of mind, you can develop a deeper understanding of how they’re coping, and whether or not they’re making steps towards recovering.

Here are the most positive signs that your loved one is on the road to recovery.

 

  • They have stopped being overly confused. Initially, most TBI survivors seem extremely agitated and bewildered by what is happening. It’s as though they are stuck in a daze during the aftermath of the accident. This is a very difficult stage of recovery, but once it’s over, the person can truly start working towards leading an independent life.
  • They no longer deny that something is wrong. Many people are unwilling to immediately accept that their physical and mental health has changed. They may outright deny that they have any problems, or brush off their challenges as small issues. Once they stop doing that and start to actually accept their new state of life, they will find that they are moving towards recovery much quicker.
  • They are handling feelings of anger or depression. With such a traumatic event, depression is a very common symptom afterward. However, this can be treated by therapy and medications, and once a person learns to cope with their negative feelings, they’ll start to see more and more improvements.

Want to learn more about traumatic brain injuries and their recovery process? Do you have advice and stories to share with other TBI survivors and their families? Join TryMunity, an online support group for those touched by TBIs. Visit www.trymunity.com today to become a member.

Traumatic Brain Injury in Sports & the Precautions You Can Take

Sadly, more and more scientific evidence is indicating that traumatic brain injury is all too common amongst young athletes. High schoolers, middle schoolers, and even players in elementary school are sometimes experiencing a serious aftermath from the rough-and-tumble in sports. A blow to the head incurred during a game might not seem life-changing at first, but can sometimes lead to dangerous health concerns.

If your child plays sports and is in danger of incurring a traumatic brain injury, here are some steps you can take towards protecting their mind and body.

  1. Make sure that they are being trained properly. Every coach should be educating their players about the dangers of concussion and brain injury, so that they can better protect themselves and fellow athletes. They should also know how to recognize the signs of a serious injury so that they can call for medical attention if necessary.
  2. Give them access to good equipment. In sports like football, proper gear is 100 percent required. The full-contact aspect of the sport means that players are in constant danger of concussion and other injuries, so make sure that their headgear (helmets) and other protective equipment is kept up to par.
  3. Help them strengthen their necks. This may sound strange, but if it helps minimize the risk of a serious injury, it’s worth the effort. Here are some simple exercises that will reduce the amount of stress placed on the spine and skull.
  4. Monitor the players closely after a collision. Whenever an athlete strikes their head, don’t brush it off as a mere bump. Watch for signs of a serious concussion, and know when to seek help from an emergency room.

If you or someone you know has already suffered from a traumatic brain injury, join TryMunity. This online social community is for survivors and supporters who have stories, advice, suggestions, and questions to share with others. Visit www.trymunity.com today to learn more.

3 Ways Traumatic Brain Injury Support Groups Offer Psychological Support

Brain injuries can be life-changing, both physically and emotionally. The family members and friends of the person affected can offer invaluable support, but sometimes that’s not enough to keep everyone afloat in the wake of such a drastic accident.

That’s where support groups like TryMunity step in. This online community is full of people who have been directly affected by a traumatic brain injury. Whether you’ve incurred a TBI yourself or you’ve seen someone else you love deal with one, joining a support group can be a fantastic way to learn more about the problem and how to deal with it.

By getting involved with a traumatic brain injury support group, you will:

 

  • Become more educated. New information about TBI is always cropping up. Being in a support group is an excellent way to stay informed about new research, treatment options, and more. Furthermore, if you have questions about how to handle certain aspects of the injury and resulting lifestyle, you’ll be able to turn to others who have extensive knowledge and experience in the area.

 

  • Feel less isolated. Many people who are dealing with a TBI express feelings of loneliness and depression, as well as the desire to withdraw from social groups. This is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle, and by joining a support group, you’ll help alleviate those negative emotions.

 

  • Have the opportunity to help others. There are millions of people out there who could benefit from hearing about your experience with TBI. The support group will give you plenty of knowledge and advice, but you’ll also have the chance to share what you can offer to the group.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by a TBI, look into TryMunity’s online community today. This support system can give you the strength you need to face life with a traumatic brain injury, and the resources to learn about this problem every day.

Common Misconceptions About TBI Survivors

Although traumatic brain injuries are relatively common in today’s society, many people harbor seriously misguided ideas about TBIs, how they occur, and the abilities of their survivors. These misunderstandings can cause people to handle TBI issues poorly and lead to a lack of awareness that’s detrimental to social and medical improvement.

It’s important that the average person understand a little more about those with traumatic brain injuries. Here are the top five common misconceptions about TBI survivors that people need to stop perpetuating.

  1. The survivor looks normal, so they must be fine. This is rooted in the idea that all injuries must be visible in order to have long-lasting effects. However, many TBI survivors show little to no sign of their injury, but they are still dealing with internal complications and mental struggles.
  2. Only severe mental injuries are considered to be real TBIs. In reality, there is a range of TBIs, including “mild TBIs” that have more subtle but still life-changing effects. Not every TBI is of the same severity, and each injury can lead to different challenges.
  3. Recovering from a TBI is a simple matter of mental exercise and medical treatment. Most individuals with even a mild TBI take months or even years to recover, and improvements may be followed by sudden setbacks. Although most TBI survivors can heal to some extent, they may never fully recover from their injury
  4. TBI survivors cannot hold steady jobs without serious mental accommodations. Fortunately, many survivors are actually able to work normal jobs and contribute to society without accommodations. Even if they do need accommodations, they are usually fairly simple and inexpensive. The idea that a TBI survivor cannot be an effective employee is simply false.
  5. Everyone who has a traumatic brain injury also has PTSD. Although PTSD has very similar symptoms (mood swings, social difficulties, personality changes, sensitivity to noise), not every TBI survivor develops the psychological disorder.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, consider reaching out to the non-profit organization TryMunity. They are constantly working to increase awareness about TBIs, and they offer support to survivors and their families through their online social community. Join today to share your TBI story, give advice to others, and spread awareness to the public. To learn more or sign up, visit www.trymunity.com.

How to Handle Overstimulating Holidays with a TBI

Holidays with a TBIIf you or a loved one has suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury), then the holidays can unfortunately be a time of stress and overwhelming sensations. When other people enjoy twinkling lights, TBI survivors feel overly-stimulated and anxious. While others are enjoying a Christmas shopping spree, TBI survivors are battling panic attacks as well as the crowds.

However, the holidays can be enjoyable for a TBI survivor if they are handled with care. Here are a few ways people with traumatic brain injuries can participate in holiday activities without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Do What Is Best for Your Health, Even If It Isn’t the Most Enjoyable Option

TBI survivors may have to duck out of late-night Christmas celebrations or leave New Year’s Eve parties early, and that’s perfectly fine. Their needs are different, and others will understand if they need to put their health first. Be polite if you need to excuse yourself, but do what’s right for your emotional and physical health.

Avoid Displays of Flashing Lights If Possible

Bright, changing lights can be a source of real stress for TBI survivors. If you can, ask people to turn off their flashing lights and avoid places where the decorations are too much to handle. Fireworks and other bright, startling things will probably cause a TBI survivor to feel uncomfortable, so ask around and find out if you’ll need to head out before the nighttime celebrations.

Bring Headphones Along Everywhere

Crowds, holiday music, bells, cars, and other distracting noises can cause TBI survivors to feel very anxious. By toting around a trusty pair of noise-cancelling headphones, the affected person can escape panic-inducing sounds quickly and subtly.

Establish a Safe Space and Avoid Crowds

No matter where you’re going, establish a place that is relaxing, quiet and comfortable. This could be an outside sitting area, an unoccupied room, or maybe even an isolated bathroom. When the festivities get to be a little too much for TBI survivors, they can retreat to their designated sanctuaries and calm themselves.  

Take Necessary Breaks Frequently

Napping, lying down or practicing some meditation can help ease the stress TBI survivors feel during holiday festivities. If you are dealing with a traumatic brain injury, remind yourself that you can take breaks from other people and activities as often as you need to.
Not sure how you’re going to handle the holidays with a traumatic brain injury? Get more advice via TryMunity, an online community of TBI survivors and supporters. The network of support can provide you with resources and encouragement, as well as lasting positive relationships. Visit http://community.trymunity.com/ to learn more.

What Medical Rehabilitation Can Offer You

When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI), every aspect of his or her life may be impacted. Speech, coordination, physical ability, and even the way one thinks can be affected, and in many cases, the survivor will face these effects forever.

However, there are steps that a TBI survivor can take toward recovery. They won’t necessarily cure all of the symptoms left by the injury, but they can restore some sense of normalcy to the person’s life.

The term “brain injury rehabilitation” covers many different types of recovery, from specialized support systems to early types of treatment the patient can receive. Some kinds of rehabilitation occur inside hospitals or recovery centers (inpatient rehabilitation). Others allow TBI survivors to return to their home, if they are well enough to care for themselves.

Many TBI survivors work with a rehabilitation team that consists of doctors, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, language therapists, social workers, and other specialists. When so many areas of the survivor’s life are impacted, it helps to have a professional team of experts to tackle each and every problem the TBI patient will face on the road to rehabilitation.

Together, the team will work towards a long-term treatment plan by doing the following:

  • Evaluating physical and psychological struggles the person may be dealing with
  • Helping the patient learn to function as independently as possible
  • Providing resources that will help the survivor and their family cope
  • Training the person to assess their own physical and mental abilities
  • Prescribing the necessary medications to help with moods, sleep, pain and more
  • Assisting the survivor in mastery of difficult activities, including daily physical tasks
  • Teaching the person how to communicate with others as effectively as possible

As wonderful as rehabilitation processes can be for TBI survivors, the entire experience can be anxiety-inducing and confusing for both the patient and family members. However, no one affected by a TBI is alone: there is an entire community of online support at your fingertips. TryMunity, a non-profit organization working to raise awareness and support for TBI survivors and their families, wants you to share your story with others who are experiencing the same trials. Visit http://community.trymunity.com/ to discuss rehabilitation options and other difficult topics.

Understanding the Science: The Clinical Features of a TBI

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from mild to severe, and the resulting symptoms may vary depending on the extent of the damage. TBIs can also fall into two other categories: open or closed head injuries. An open head injury occurs when an object enters the brain and causes specific, localized damage. Closed head injuries occur when a blow strikes a person’s head, as is often the case with a bad fall or car accident. In many cases, depending on the type of injury and its severity, TBIs can result in permanent neurological damage that induces lifelong struggles for the affected individual.

In the instance of a moderate to severe brain injury, as well as open or closed head injuries, a person can experience deficits in cognitive abilities, speech, language, sensory interpretations, perception, emotional behavior, and much more.

To understand brain injuries, it is important to look at the cause of injury and the way the victim’s body reacted in the moments after the incident occurred. If the person lost consciousness from 20 minutes to around six hours, and if they fall somewhere between 9 to 12 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, then he or she will most likely face a moderate TBI. If the person lost consciousness for more than six hours and fell between 3 and 8 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, then a severe brain injury might exist. The Glasgow Coma Scale is a neurological scale used by medical professionals to objectively assess a patient’s state of consciousness after a head injury. It is incredibly important to study a patient’s level of consciousness because the longer someone is unconscious, the more severe the damage may be.

A TBI can occur in two ways: the head trauma can damage the brain at the time of the accident (primary brain damage), or it can occur later on as swelling increases or other symptoms like seizures or increased blood pressure appear (secondary brain damage).

After a dangerous head injury, physicians will go through a series of steps to assess the extent of damage. CT scans, MRI’s, and other brain imaging techniques may be used. Doctors will also examine speech-language abilities and look for signs of physical struggle (trouble staying conscious, seizures, headaches, reduced muscle strength, loss of coordination, etc.). Behavioral and emotional changes can also be indicative of a TBI, as can impairments in thinking skills and a lack of environmental awareness.

Although there are steps a TBI survivor can take towards recovery, many victims never fully regain their independence and health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least 1.7 million TBIs occur in the United States alone on a yearly basis. Older citizens (over the age of 65) are even more likely to sustain a TBI, and they will struggle to recover.

TryMunity, a non-profit organization, is working to increase awareness about the science behind TBIs while giving support to individuals and families who have been affected. Through their online community, TryMunity provides a platform for TBI survivors and supporters to bond and encourage one another on the road to recovery. If you or a loved one has been impacted by a TBI, visit http://community.trymunity.com/to join in the fight with others who understand.