Archive for the ‘Other Brain Injuries’ Category

Are Geriatric Adults at Risk for Acquired Brain Injury?

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

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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.


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

What Happens When the Cerebral Cortex Is Damaged?

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

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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.

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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

Initial Milestones to Work Towards After a Severe Brain Injury

Every traumatic brain injury calls for different lengths and strengths of treatment. Some TBI survivors will work towards their initial recovery quickly, while others will take much longer to show signs of improvement.

People with the most severe TBI might be in a deep sleep, and will not respond to any stimuli. If their injury was not as severe, they might react to people and outside stimuli, but their reactions will be inconsistent and not what they used to be. How a person progresses depends on what stage they begin in.

However, there are some milestones that every person who has suffered a brain injury will work towards. Here are the first three that indicate a TBI survivor is on the path towards independence and healing.

1.  Responding Accurately to Commands

When a person first incurs a traumatizing head injury, they may struggle to respond to statements appropriately. They will appear confused and seem incapable of following orders. Thankfully, as they work towards recovery, they will slowly start to respond more appropriately and eventually be able to follow suggestions from doctors and loved ones.

2. Understanding Their Daily Routine

Because a person’s memory can be so drastically impacted by a TBI, this is a huge step. Being able to at least memorize and go through a daily routine with little confusion means a TBI survivor is working towards future independence, and perhaps regaining some of their memory capabilities.

3. Showing Signs of Memory Retention

Once a TBI survivor can show that they have a functioning memory, they are truly on the road to recovery. They can now respond appropriately to their environment, remember important details about their day, and communicate more effectively.

Obviously, these three steps are only the beginning of the recovery process, but they are also the stepping stones for a full-fledged recovery. Once a person can communicate and recall important information, they will begin to heal at a much faster rate.

If someone you know or love has suffered a traumatic brain injury, look into joining TryMunity. They’re an online support group that offers advice and knowledge about TBI to help those affected by them, both directly and indirectly. Visit to learn more.

5 Signs You Should Not Ignore when You Have a Concussion

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the wake of some kind of accident. Of those millions, many will go on to lead drastically-impacted lives and will struggle with physical and mental problems.

After a head injury, it can be difficult to determine if the affected person has sustained a concussion that will heal naturally, or if they are experiencing more serious warning signs that could indicate a TBI. When observing someone with a concussion, here are five symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

  1. Difficulty Thinking and Speaking

With a serious concussion, a person may feel their mind start to slow down. This can cause them to struggle with memory problems, concentration, speech, and clear thinking. If the mental struggles are severe enough to be noticeable, this can be a sign of a more serious brain injury.

  1. Excessive Sleepiness

Although fatigue is a common symptom of concussions, it’s not a good sign when the affected person can’t stay awake for very long. If it’s difficult to keep them lucid or if they don’t respond to wake-up calls once they fall asleep, then you should return to the emergency room for further observation and testing.

  1. Seizures or Convulsions

No matter what, these symptoms require further medical attention. A simple concussion with no long-lasting repercussions will not trigger worrisome seizures or convulsions.

  1. Increasing Nausea

It’s normal for people with concussions to feel nauseous, but if they continue to feel increasingly sick and vomit many times, then it might be time to seek further medical attention to ensure there are no underlying issues.

  1. Worsening Headaches that Won’t Subside

Headaches are a very common concussion symptom, but as time passes, the headaches should lessen. Also, they should be treatable with normal pain medication. If the injured person claims that the headaches are getting worse and that the medication isn’t helping, they need to seek additional medical treatment.

If you or someone you know has experienced a TBI as a result of a concussion, don’t hesitate to reach out to the online support group called TryMunity. TryMunity members will offer you the knowledge and support you need to handle this life event.

How Music Can Help Those with Severe Brain Injuries Recall Memories

In recent years, an important discovery has been made in the world of traumatic brain injury research: Scientists found that the use of popular music can help affected patients recall personal memories that they would otherwise struggle to remember. The question is, how does music help?

It’s been widely known for years that music can evoke important memories and emotions for all kinds of people, whether or not they have suffered a brain injury. Just like hearing a song from 10 years back can take you back to a specific age and place, listening to popular music in the wake of a brain injury can give memory a helping hand.

Although scents, discussion, and other tactics can be used to help evoke memories, scientists found that patients who listened to songs were far more likely to recall familiar places, people, and things than those who used other methods. The difference in recall is especially marked in those relying only on discussions about their memories.

It is thought that music stimulates autobiographical memories in a very specific and powerful way. Even people whose brains have been permanently altered or who suffer from amnesia might be able to remember more with music than without.

There is still much research to be done on music and how it triggers memories, but one thing is clear – popular songs can be used as a tool for people who struggle with memory, especially after a serious brain injury.

To learn more about ways to boost memory and deal with the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), join the online support group called TryMunity. Family members and friends of people with TBI, as well as the survivors themselves, will offer support and knowledge to help you and your loved ones. Visit today to sign up and learn more.

How to Help Motivate Loved Ones Who Have Suffered Head Traumas

Millions of people around the world are dealing with the aftermath of traumatic brain injuries, as are their friends and families. TBIs can drastically alter a person’s life, their ability to live independently, and their emotional stability. If you are supporting someone who has undergone serious head trauma and who is struggling to recover, here are a few ways you can motivate them to keep pushing through their mental and physical concerns.

Help Them With Daily Tasks

As TBI survivors learn to deal with their new situation, they may struggle to accomplish basic daily tasks like cooking and cleaning. You can help them immensely by providing some assistance and teaching them methods to accomplish their to-do lists. Bring a meal or two by, then show them how they can make the meal themselves. Help clean their house and look into services that can give them the support they need.

Provide Support at Doctor Appointments

Doctor appointments can be nerve-wracking, so offer your company as often as you can. The survivor will appreciate your support, no matter what news they hear during the appointment. Plus, you can drive them to the hospital or doctor’s office if they need transportation.

Encourage Them to Engage in Social Activities

Many TBI survivors tend to withdraw from their regular social circles, which can lead to depression and sadness. Finding a community for TBI survivors is important, though. Don’t force them to go out if they don’t want to, but invite them to fun events with friends and family to encourage social engagement on a regular basis. This will help keep them in a healthy mental state so that they are able to fight their battles with the injury effectively.

If someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury, reach out to TryMunity. It’s an online community of TBI survivors and their loved ones, who are available to offer support and advice to others in need. Join TryMunity today at

What Brain Injury Survivors Want You to Know

brain injury survivorsWhen someone you love suffers a traumatic brain injury, it can be difficult to understand what they need from you during their recovery and after. To help you understand your role in their life, both practically and emotionally, here are a few things you should know:

TBIs Can Cause People to Feel Constant Anxiety and Even Fear

There’s really no other way to phrase it: Traumatic brain injuries are terrifying. One accident changed their life forever and caused them extreme pain, and as a result, many traumatic brain injury survivors live in fear of suffering another accident. Some have problems performing daily activities due to crippling anxiety while others manifest horrifying scenarios inside their heads. Because of these fears, TBI survivors may need therapy and strong emotional support from the people in their lives.

Paying Attention to Conversations Is More Difficult Than It Was Before

If you ever feel that a TBI survivor is ignoring what you’re saying or purposefully not engaging in conversation, remember that their brain is no longer the same. What appears to be a lack of attention might actually be the person’s struggle to understand, remember or communicate. Be patient and give them the time they need to comprehend what you’re saying.

The Pain Doesn’t Really Go Away

When a TBI occurs, the damage can last indefinitely, even if the injuries are invisible to the naked eye. Most traumatic brain injury survivors deal with chronic pain from their accidents in the form of terrible migraines, chest pains, neck aches or more. Even if a TBI survivor appears to be fine, keep in mind that they’re dealing with more discomfort than you probably realize.

Surviving and Living With a TBI Is Fatiguing

The pain, difficulty thinking, and physical struggles that accompany a traumatic brain injury often leave survivors feeling drained. Even when you’re frustrated and feel like the survivor isn’t helping you care for them, don’t mistake their fatigue for laziness. Try to remember that TBI survivors need more sleep than a normal person and that every day takes a heavy toll on their physical and mental energy levels.
If you are caring for someone with a TBI and need additional support, turn to TryMunity’s online community. The nonprofit organization can give you and your loved one access to a network of survivors and supporters, as well as important resources and words of encouragement.

What Is Recognized as an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)?

How Does a Physician Test for TBI?Do you know what an acquired brain injury (ABI) is? Many people know what a TBI is, but not an ABI. And, most people aren’t aware of the differences between the two. In truth, these are both complex, wide-ranging injuries. Here at TryMunity, we’ve decided it would be helpful to describe, in depth, what an acquired brain injury is. We’ve provided a definitions of acquired brain injuries below, as well as their key characteristics. Check it out below!

An acquired brain injury is a brain injury that has occurred after birth, but is not directly linked to any kind of congenital defect. Various causes of an ABI include (but are not limited to): infection, strokes, substance abuse, trauma, and hypoxia. ABI’s can cause severe cognitive, physical, and behavioral dysfunction in the afflicted individual.

ABI’s can result in various cognitive, physical, and emotional changes. A person with an acquired brain injury may have problems with walking, sitting, and regular household tasks; he or she might also take more time than is considered normal to process information. A person with an ABI may also experience a mood disorder, more irritability than normal, and emotional or behavioral outburst. All of these and more are very typical reactions.


Join the TryMunity Community – We’re Here for You!

Do you have further questions about how to recognize an acquired brain injury? Don’t hesitate to contact TryMunity. Here at TryMunity, we provide a vast, comprehensive web of resources for just that! We also have several support systems for those afflicted with a traumatic brain injury, or who know of someone who is. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have! Join the TryMunity community today, and take advantage of all that we offer. We’re always happy to speak with you, and offer our assistance.