"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison, not to Princeton."
"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music and the dancers hit each other."
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Head Injuries and Your Brain
Head Injuries and Your Brain
brain is well protected from most damage. It sits inside a hard, bony
skull. Layers of membranes and fluid provide even more padding. But even
with all of this natural protection, the brain can still get injured.
And damage to it can affect everything you do, from thinking to moving. A
traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any blow to the head that's hard enough
to affect the brain's function.
How Your Brain Can Get Hurt
hard blow to the head can shake the brain inside the skull, resulting
in bruising, broken blood vessels, or nerve damage to the brain. When
you take a hard hit to the head but there's no outward bleeding or
opening in the skull, it could result in a closed brain injury. An open
brain injury is when an object penetrates the skull and goes into the
Brain Injuries: Mild vs. Severe
TBI can be mild or severe. A concussion is a mild TBI -- you should
recover pretty quickly. A severe TBI can do enough damage to knock you
unconscious for a longer period of time. It can even lead to a coma or
What is a Concussion?
concussion is caused by a jolt that shakes your brain back and forth
inside your skull. Any hard hit to the head or body -- whether it's from
a football tackle or a car accident -- can lead to a concussion.
Although a concussion is considered a mild brain injury, it can leave
lasting damage if you don't rest long enough to let your brain fully
How Do You Know It's a Concussion?
a fall or hit to the head, you may be knocked out for a few seconds.
But many people with concussions do not black out. A few telltale
symptoms will show that you may have a concussion. Dizziness, nausea or
vomiting, blurry vision, headache, and trouble thinking clearly are all
signs that you need to see a doctor to get your head injury checked out.
Healing After a Concussion
like you need to rest your ankle after a sprain, you need to rest your
brain after a concussion. Get plenty of sleep to give your brain time to
heal. Ease back into activities like school and work slowly when you
start feeling better. Stay off the playing field until your doctor gives
you the OK. Getting a second concussion before the first one has healed
can slow your recovery and increase the risk for permanent damage.
skull is pretty tough. But if it's hit hard enough, it can crack.
That's called a skull fracture. If the sharp edges of a fractured skull
bone press into the brain, they can damage the delicate tissues and lead
to bleeding in the brain. One sign of a skull fracture is clear fluid
or blood draining from the nose or ears.
Bleeding in the Brain
brain can bleed if it's injured and blood vessels inside it are
damaged. The trapped blood can pool, forming a bump called a hematoma.
If the hematoma puts pressure on the brain, it can squeeze or cut off
blood flow to the brain -- a medical emergency. Signs of a hematoma
include headaches, vomiting, and trouble with balance.
Diagnosing Brain Injuries
doctor can tell whether you have a brain injury by doing a series of
tests. You may be asked questions to check your memory, concentration,
problem-solving ability, and other brain functions. If you have
long-lasting or more severe symptoms, you may have a brain scan called a
CT or MRI.
Brain Injuries and Memory
injury can damage the parts of your brain you need to store and
retrieve information. That's why you may have a harder time remembering
your birthday, what you ate for breakfast, or the accident that caused
your brain injury. Some memory loss after a brain injury is normal, but
it should come back. People with severe brain injuries sometimes lose
their memory for longer periods of time
Brain Injuries and Movement
injury can also damage parts of your brain that help you balance and
walk. As a result, you may feel dizzy -- like the room is spinning.
Parts of your brain that help you see clearly and gauge depth may also
be affected. Physical therapy and other rehabilitation can improve your
balance and movement after a head injury.
Brain Injuries and Mood
may not feel like yourself after a TBI. Up to half of people experience
symptoms of depression -- including persistent sadness and
sleeplessness. Some have wild mood swings -- laughing one minute and
then crying the next. Others feel overly angry or anxious. If you can't
control your emotions, talk to your doctor about treatments.
Long-Term Effects of Brain Injuries
serious brain injury can stick with you for life. Problems thinking,
moving, and controlling your emotions may not go away, especially if
you've taken many hits to the head (from sports, for example). There's
some evidence that having a TBI increases your risk for Alzheimer's
disease, Parkinson's, and other brain disorders as you get older.
Recovery from Severe Brain Injury
mild injuries like concussions, the best therapy is to rest and give
your brain a chance to heal. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
can help with the physical and mental side effects of severe brain
injuries. Counseling sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist can
help you learn to live with your injury.
How Common Are Brain Injuries?
year, about 2.5 million people have an accident that leads to a
traumatic brain injury. Most head injuries are mild, including
concussions. But hundreds of thousands of serious brain injuries happen
Children and Brain Injuries
injuries rank among the leading causes of disability and death in
children. Nearly half a million kids -- more boys than girls -- visit an
emergency room for a brain injury each year. Kids with TBI can have
more trouble learning, compared with their peers. They may also struggle
with behavioral and emotional problems.
Is It Just a Bump on the Head?
to walk is a wobbly time. An unsteady toddler can take a lot of
tumbles. Luckily, kids are pretty resilient, and most bounce right back
from a small bump on the head. But if your child won't stop crying, is
throwing up, says his head or neck hurts, or has trouble waking up after
a fall, call the doctor right away.
Safety on Bikes
they reach school age, kids are at risk from sports injuries and
bicycle and car accidents. Teach kids to wear closely fitting helmets
and other safety gear during sports and recreational activities. And
make sure they follow bike safety rules about traffic and road hazards.
Head Injuries from Sports
injuries are common in professional and amateur sports like football,
baseball, and hockey. Some professional leagues have even improved their
sideline policies to treat athletes' head injuries more effectively. If
you don't want to be carried off the field, wear a helmet that fits
snugly every time you play. Supervise kids so they don't get too rough
or play sports that aren't right for their age. And obey the rules to
prevent falls and head-on collisions.
Safety in Cars
car accident can thrust your head forward -- or worse, propel you from
the vehicle headfirst. Before you put the key in the ignition, put on
your seatbelt and buckle your child in an age-appropriate safety seat.
Teach kids to wear seatbelts when riding in cars or school buses.
Preventing Head Injuries from Falls
don't have to fall far, or hard, to hurt your head. To avoid taking a
tumble, clean up the clutter, cords, and other hazards that may cause
you to fall. Install lights above hallways and stairs so you don't
stumble while going to the bathroom at night. Secure all rugs and mats
firmly to the floor so they don't slide around.