Article: Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden physical assault on the head causes damage to the brain. The damage can be focal, confined to one area of the brain, or diffuse, involving more than one area of the brain. TBI can result from a closed head injury or a penetrating head injury. A closed head injury occurs when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, but the object does not break through the skull. A penetrating head injury occurs when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. Several types of traumatic injuries can affect the head and brain. A skull fracture occurs when the bone of the skull cracks or breaks. A depressed skull fracture occurs when pieces of the broken skull press into the tissue of the brain. This can cause bruising of the brain tissue, called a contusion. A contusion can also occur in response to shaking of the brain within the confines of the skull, an injury called "countrecoup." Shaken baby syndrome is a severe form of head injury that occurs when a baby is shaken forcibly enough to cause extreme countrecoup injury. Damage to a major blood vessel within the head can cause a hematoma, or heavy bleeding into or around the brain. The severity of a TBI can range from a mild concussion to the extremes of coma or even death. A coma is a profound or deep state of unconsciousness. Symptoms of a TBI may include headache, nausea, confusion or other cognitive problems, a change in personality, depression, irritability, and other emotional and behavioral problems. Some people may have seizures as a result of a TBI.

Is there any treatment?

Immediate treatment for TBI involves surgery to control bleeding in and around the brain, monitoring and controlling intracranial pressure, insuring adequate blood flow to the brain, and treating the body for other injuries and infection.

What is the prognosis?

The outcome of TBI depends on the cause of the injury and on the location, severity, and extent of neurological damage: outcomes range from good recovery to death. Doctors often use the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate the extent of injury and chances of recovery. The scale (3-15) involves testing for three patient responses: eye opening, best verbal response, and best motor response. A high score indicates a good prognosis and a low score indicates a poor prognosis.

What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports research on trauma-related disorders, including traumatic brain injuries. Much of this research focuses on increasing scientific understanding of these disorders and finding ways to prevent and treat them.

Select this link to view a list of studies currently seeking patients.

Organizations

Acoustic Neuroma Association
600 Peachtree Parkway
Suite 108
Cumming, GA   30041
anausa@aol.com
http://www.anausa.org
Tel: 770-205-8211
Fax: 770-205-0239

Brain Injury Association
8201 Greensboro Drive
Suite 611
McLean, VA   22102
FamilyHelpline@biausa.org
http://www.biausa.org
Tel: 703-761-0750 800-444-6443
Fax: 703-761-0755

Brain Trauma Foundation
523 East 72nd Street
8th Floor
New York, NY   10021
info@braintrauma.org
http://www.braintrauma.org
Tel: 212-772-0608
Fax: 212-772-0357

Family Caregiver Alliance
690 Market Street
Suite 600
San Francisco, CA   94104
info@caregiver.org
http://www.caregiver.org
Tel: 415-434-3388 800-445-8106
Fax: 415-434-3508

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
4200 Forbes Boulevard
Suite 202
Lanham, MD   20706-4829
naricinfo@heitechservices.com
http://www.naric.com
Tel: 301-459-5900/301-459-5984 (TTY) 800-346-2742
Fax: 301-562-2401

National Stroke Association
9707 East Easter Lane
Englewood, CO   80112-3747
info@stroke.org
http://www.stroke.org
Tel: 303-649-9299 800-STROKES (787-6537)
Fax: 303-649-1328

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC   20202
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr
Tel: 202-205-5465

 


Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Cache Date: December 16, 2004

Resources

  • Brain Injury (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Brain Injury (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)