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Innovative Health Care Magazine

SPECIAL SECTION BECOMING AWARE UNIQUE CHALLENGES /// BY SOPHIA BONG of Every year in America, 68 1.7-million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI); 12 thousand of those are here in Michigan. Thirty-five Innovative Health - Summer 2016 per cent are dues to falls, and motor vehicle accidents (17 per cent) are close behind. Other common causes of TBIs are assault, sports, hunting, and diving accidents. TBIs cost Americans $48.3- billion annually. Hospital stays for survivors account for $31.7 billion, and the remaining $16.6-billion related to fatalities. For those who survive, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is used to determine the severity of the TBI, its scores ranging from 3 – 15, based on eyes opening to physical and verbal responses. TBI can have many long-term effects, including in behavior; psychiatric problems; physical and cognitive challenges. The prognosis for the extent of recovery is determined by a combination of the duration of posttraumatic amnesia (PTA), GCS results, duration of a coma, and whether the external force that caused the TBI resulted in a focal contusion or a diffused axonal injury. The anatomy and physiology of the brain brings a better understanding of the disruption to normal brain function caused by the injury and the dynamics of recovery rates. If the brain stem was involved, it affects the survivor’s heart rate, blood pressure, and can cause fatigue. The Cerebellum controls the persons balance, coordination and fine motor skills. The largest part of the brain is the Cerebral Cortex. It is divided into two hemispheres, which usually control opposite sides of the body. Depending on the hemisphere affected in a brain injury, a person could have changes to their language skills and speech, or their non-verbal spatial controls. To add complexity to understanding the brain’s physiological controls based on an individual’s injury, the hemispheres are then divided into lobes. Damage to the frontal lobe can affect a person’s intellectual activities such as organization skills, personality changes, and control of their emotions. The Temporal lobes control memory, speech, and comprehension. Effects to the Parietal lobes can cause disruption in reading, writing, and understanding spatial relations. The Occipital lobes control a person’s sight. The Lymbic system controls a person’s control of emotions and mood. If there is damage to the Hypothalamus, which is in the middle of the Cerebral Cortex, a person with a brain injury will experience changes in appetite, thirst, temperature regulation, and sexual arousal. Some of these areas have an overlap in possible changes. Women have 50 per cent less head/neck isometric neck strength, 23 per cent less neck girth; and 43 per cent less head/neck-segment stiffness during acceleration, than do males. Female brains have more natural blood flow than a male brain at any given moment. Glucose levels are among the conditions affected. Glucose is the energy source that powers the brain activity. After an injury, the brain requires 150 per cent increase in glucose but the ability to deliver it decreases by about 50 per cent. Females tend to have verbal centers on both sides of their brain; males tend to have verbal centers on the left side only. Another factor dependent upon a person’s sex is brain processing: men utilize nearly seven times more grey matter (task-focused projects) for activity, but women utilize nearly 10 times more white matter (multitasking and global-thinking). An important fact to remember is that the exact same external force can be delivered to the very same spots on different people’s brains, with different injury results, as well as the recovery factors as explained above. Anyone sustaining a brain injury, or suspecting an injury, should first get a CT scan and a neuropsych evaluation, which will present an understanding of the prognosis and the potential long-term effects. Medical professionals can provide you with the means, but remember that medical professionals can come and go out of the injured person’s life, but the injury remains. So the person injured, or the guardian/care taker, must take ownership of becoming educated about the issue, how to deal with it, and an assessment of resources. The following checklist will help: Neurotrauma HOW TO START THE RECOVERY PROCESS AFTER A BRAIN INJURY


Innovative Health Care Magazine
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