$17 million awarded to help researchers study traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries impact everyone from high school athletes to combat veterans to car accident victims, yet very little is known about them. More importantly, very little is known how to treat them. That’s why a recent $17 million grant awarded by the Department of Defense to support advances in traumatic brain injury research is a huge step in the right direction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) contribute to a substantial number of deaths and permanent disability. In 2010, 2.5 million people fell victim to a TBI. The Mayo Clinic defines traumatic brain injuries as an external mechanical force that causes brain dysfunction. This is usually the result of a violent blow or jolt to the head, or an object penetrating the skull such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull.
Brain injuries can range from mild to severe. Mild traumatic brain injuries may cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells. More serious brain injuries can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. This can lead to long-term complications or death.
A common misconception of concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury, is that the injured person would lose consciousness. This is wrong. Concussions can occur without any major loss of consciousness. Signs and symptoms of concussions can include: problems with vision, headaches, amnesia, ringing in the ears, irritability, nausea, slow reactions, confusion, drowsiness, and loss of balance. Physical signs can include slurred speech, poor concentration, poor coordination, a vacant stare/glassy eyed, slow to answer questions, vomiting, and concussive convulsion/impact seizure.
Head injuries should never be taken lightly. Internal bleeding in the skull could result in death and you may not know it’s happening until it’s too late.
Unfortunately, a head injury isn’t always avoidable. The best thing you can do to avoid injury is to be cautious and wear a helmet, if applicable. You’ll also want to educate yourself on brain injuries so that you can be proactive in resolving the issue if it does arise. For more information on brain injuries, refer to the Brain Injury Association of America here.
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