Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Causes, Signs and Symptoms

More than 1.5 million people suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. Traumatic injury to the brain occurs in one of two ways. First, the cerebral cortex can be bruised as the result of a hard object striking the head, or when the head strikes a hard object. This is sometimes called a contusion or concussion. Second, the deep white matter in a person’s brain can suffer diffuse injury as the result of an injury to another part of the body, where the force of the shock is transferred to the brain. In these types of injuries, such as in severe whiplash injuries, the axons or neurons, which conduct electrical impulses in the brain, are damaged.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional or behavioral symptoms, including:
  • Physical symptoms: paralysis, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, vision impairment, blurred vision, headaches, speech impediments, seizures, involuntary muscle spasms, reduced endurance, loss of consciousness
  • Cognitive symptoms: communication impairments, difficulty with writing, attention deficits, difficulty with concentration, unusual perception, difficulty planning, short and/or long term memory loss, dizziness, loss of coordination, vertigo, poor judgment, deficient reading skills, disorientation
  • Behavioral/emotional symptoms: agitation, restlessness, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, low-self esteem, depression, sexual dysfunction, lack of motivation, sadness, inability to cope
Traumatic brain injuries frequently occur as the result of a car accident or as the result of a fall. Even minor accidents or seemingly small head bumps can cause life-altering brain injuries. Some traumatic brain injuries do not immediately cause obvious impairments or symptoms. If a head or brain injury is suspected, the victim must be monitored closely. Unfortunately, in some instances, an untreated serious brain injury can cause death or catastrophic disability.

What to watch for after an accident:
  • Monitor the victim. If a person has been involved in a car accident or fall where they hit their head, even if they did not lose consciousness, they should be monitored carefully for signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury.
  • Watch for symptoms of dizziness, headache, confused thinking and vomiting. These symptoms are signs of traumatic brain injury. If the victim displays any of these symptoms after an accident where they hit their head, take them to an emergency room.
  • Monitor for changes in condition. If an accident victim’s symptoms change, i.e., a headache worsens, they vomit or become nauseous, they become sleepy, or exhibit confusion or other behavioral changes within 12 hours of the head injury, they may have a brain bleed, and should be taken to an emergency room.
  • Medications. People on blood thinning medications are at greater risk for bleeding in the brain. Monitor their symptoms closely.
  • Seniors, children, and young adults. Seniors, children, and young adults should be very closely monitored for symptoms of a brain injury after an accident. These victims may have more difficulty communicating their symptoms, or may not as notice the symptoms as readily as other people. If they show any signs of vomiting, confusion, or severe headache, they should be taken to an emergency room.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic head injury as the result of a car or truck accident, or as the result of a work-related injury, contact the experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at Meuser & Associates for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can help make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. Call us today at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email to schedule a free consultation.

Visit Minnesota Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Law Firm, Meuser & Associates, P.A., at
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