Articles Posted in Brain Injury Recovery

According to a recent article from Medscape, U.S. Army investigators report that a quick and simple test performed with a pupillometer may be an effective way to test for the presence of a concussion and traumatic brain injury. A pupillometer is a tool that measures pupillary distance, and a new study has demonstrated that using this tool may provide medical professionals with new clues as to the existence of a traumatic brain injury and concussion. According to the report, using this tool may help medical professionals identify functional differences in pupillary distance that can be used to create a set of identifiable parameters that medical professionals can use to search for the presence of traumatic brain injuries. The initial testing that has led investigators to believe they may on the verge of identifying another useful tool in diagnosing traumatic brain injuries used dim lighting conditions to measure pupillary dilation, reaction time, and how long it took pupils to return to normal after using a light source as a stimulus. Basing findings against a control group with no history of traumatic brain injuries, investigators believe they have begun to identify markers that will help medical professionals quickly and accurately identify the presence of a traumatic brain injury that may have otherwise gone undetected.
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A new study from the American College of Surgeons has indicated that administering blood thinning medications within 72 hours of a victim sustaining a traumatic brain injury can reduce the potential likelihood of life-threatening blood clots without increased risk of bleeding complications or death in patients. According to the article linked above detailing some findings of the new study, one in five patients being treated at trauma centers for serious injury are victims of a traumatic brain injury. The study’s author indicated that there had previously been no evidence detailing the time frame in which the administration of blood thinning medication could prove to help patients avoid blood clots.

Data Collection and Results

The data for the new study was collected by studying patients already observed in the American College of Surgeons’ Trauma Quality Improvement Program between 2012 and 2014. The study’s goal was to measure the success of administering blood thinning medications in the early stages of treatment versus the later stages of treatment with a focus on the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Over 3,000 adults with traumatic brain injury were ultimately studied after having been broken into two groups: those that received blood thinning medications in the early stages of treatment and those that received blood thinning medications in later stages of treatment.
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Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The epileptic patient will exhibit recurring bouts of sensory disturbances, possible loss of consciousness and convulsions or spasms also known as seizures. For the most part, the cause of epilepsy in two out of three patients is unknown. Medical science has been able to diagnose the disorder but unless there is some medical condition that can be pointed to as having caused the disorder, healthcare providers continue to remain in the dark. With that said, however, those known causes can be diagnosed when an individual presents to his healthcare provider with epileptic symptoms, who previously had a healthy functioning brain, but has now developed recurrent seizures after suffering from some form of illness such as a brain tumor, stroke, or some type of head injury resulting in brain trauma.

Post-Traumatic Epilepsy vs. Post-Traumatic Seizures
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Brain tissue that has been injured leading to brain damage cannot be repaired; however, the brain itself may be healed somewhat depending upon the severity of the injury and whether the sufferer received immediate medical attention after the injury.

Whether the head injury was as a result of a brain aneurysm leading to a stroke, a concussion type injury, criminal assaults leading to injury, auto accident or slip and falls, such injuries should never be taken lightly. Early medical treatment may increase the chances of the sufferer’s recovery.

The Brain is the Center of our Individual Universe
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Sometimes, using chemicals as the cure is not always the best answer. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the problem, as we may be seeing in the outbreak of microcephaly in babies being born in Latin America. Microcephaly, as described by the Mayo Clinic, is a neurological condition causing an infant’s head to be smaller than other children of the same age and sex. This deformity results in the child’s brain developing abnormally prior to birth, and not growing in size at all, after birth. There is no known cure for this disorder. The most parents of children born with this deformity can hope for is a lifetime of therapy in the hopes that their child will be able to lead a productive life of sorts.

What Causes Microcephaly?
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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has many causes, and can take on many forms, from mild to moderate, to severe. Likewise, some TBI can be managed with a minimal amount of care, while other, more debilitating injuries causing loss of cognitive functioning, such as perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning, or the loss of normal body functioning, such as the ability to breathe on your own, to walk or talk, or take care of your everyday needs without assistance, may require ongoing and continuous treatment and care for the rest of the sufferer’s life.

Types of Possible Brain Injury

There are millions of people in America suffering from some form of brain injury relating either to birth defects, auto accidents, slip and falls, sports related injuries, etc. No two injuries or treatments are alike. The type of treatment and rehabilitation an individual receives after suffering any form of brain injury can make all the difference in that individual sufferer’s recovery. Programs and projects have been designed to address the specific care and treatment of various brain injuries and disabilities.
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We first started hearing about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with our active duty military and veterans as a result of the trauma suffered by them in combat. Many of us do not really understand this condition, or why it is so debilitating. If we have a loved one suffering from this disorder, all we know is that they are often irritable and disagree most of the time.

What we do know about PTSD, is that it is a mental health condition that develops in what was once a healthy mind that has been subjected to terrifying events either by experiencing these events first hand, or by being present when the terrifying event is happening to others. As a result, these events, in horrific detail, may be re-lived by the individual through flashbacks or nightmares, causing anxiety or worse. If the symptoms increase in intensity or last for several months or years, PTSD will be the most probable diagnosis.
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One of the numerous consequences of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease at a later stage of life. A recent study in Nature, the International Weekly Journal of Science, suggests that researchers have found the driving cause behind the greater risk, along with an antibody that blocks the process.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease

As explained in the article, healthy tau proteins (trans P-tau) form scaffolding within nerve cells, which enables them to perform their correct duties. If the process works incorrectly, the resulting proteins are distorted (cis P-tau). They do not function properly, resulting in damage to the energy generators. This ultimately causes the cells to deteriorate and die.
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Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) contribute to an alarming number of deaths and permanent injuries every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 2.5 million people suffered from some type of TBI in 2010. Whether symptoms range from a seemingly harmless concussion to a loss of consciousness, medical professionals want the public to understand the potential risks of brain injuries and proactively work to prevent and/or treat them.

The Comparison

Towards that goal, an article in Brainerd Dispatch is explaining the medical ins and outs of brain injury in a unique way. Dr. Bruce Cunningham is making the comparison between TBIs and ankle sprains. He explains that the pain which often accompanies a sprain is “nature’s way of getting you to rest the injury so it can recover and reduce the chance of reinjury or a worse injury.” The signs of brain injury may include a persistent headache, blurred vision, nausea and an inability to focus. According to Cunningham, these symptoms are also designed to make you rest and recover from your injury.

The effects of a traumatic brain injury can prove vast and far reaching. From cognitive disorders to emotional difficulties, injury to the brain can touch virtually every aspect of a patient’s life. As suggested in a medical study, this may also include the urge to eat substances that are dangerous to the body and seen by most people as extremely odd.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines Pica as an urge to eat non-food substances, such as laundry detergent or paper. It is reportedly more common in children than in adults, affecting about a third of all minors between the ages of 1 and 5 years old. Some of the most common materials ingested by people with this disorder include:
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