Apr 1, 2012

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - Part II - Causes

pie chart of causes of traumatic brain injury
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As I mentioned in my TBI - Part I entry, this second part is about what can cause a traumatic brain injury. First, some facts. Followed by personal observations.

The graph to the right (based on a CDC report) shows that the top 3 causes of a TBI are from car accidents, falls, and struck by/against. According to the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. who suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year.  50,000 people die from TBI and 85,000 people suffer long term disabilities.

This is higher than the combined incidence of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis.

Brain injuries occur more often than breast cancer or AIDS. One out of every fifty Americans is currently living with disabilities from TBI.

The following information (from HERE), explains the "mechanisms" of the top 2 causes of TBIs. I'm only covering the top 2 because they are the most prevalent. I've highlighted the key points and my personal observations appear below that.
Mechanisms of Injury
These mechanisms are the highest causes of brain injury: Open head Injury, Closed Head Injury, Deceleration Injuries, Chemical/Toxic, Hypoxia, Tumors, Infections and Stroke.
1. Open Head Injury
  • Results from bullet wounds, etc.
  • Largely focal damage
  • Penetration of the skull
  • Effects can be just as serious as closed brain injury
2. Closed Head Injury
  • Resulting from a slip and fall, motor vehicle crashes, etc.
  • Focal damage and diffuse damage to axons
  • Effects tend to be broad (diffuse)
  • No penetration to the skull
Personal Observations:
Some things that aren't mentioned above that were my personal observations about TBIs:
It make sense why "falls" and "traffic accidents" cause TBIs, because the head is prone to striking something hard. What came to mind about the "struck by/against" was mentioned in my TBI Part I entry, that a friend's nephew was playing lacrosse when it happened.
My TBI was in the "falls" category. I was at a work conference and stepped out of the shower because I left my shampoo on the counter. I fell on the wet tile floor... repeatedly... According to the doctors, 6-8 times. My recommendation is to always be safe in the bathroom.
A side thought & some reading on websites confirms that a TBI is part of the Shaken Baby Syndrome. Think about it...when shaking a baby, their brain is bouncing around in there and it kills brain cells when that happens. My recommendation is to not do it.

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