Brain Injury 101
Thinking of the brain like a city makes it easier to understand. When a disaster hits a city, in order to get it running again, we need a way to identify and measure the extent of damage to important structures (the brain’s gray matter), as well as, to all of the roadways and the chains of communication between and connecting those structures (the brain’s white matter).
The brain is the body’s control center and when damaged a wide range of symptoms and disorders, of increasing severity can occur
The sheer complexity of the human brain means there are innumerable ways in which its health and function can be impacted
Blunt trauma, physical injuries, exposure to toxins, developmental and other environmental stressors can contribute to brain injury and abnormality
Injury can affect the brain’s cell bodies, gray matter, causing either atrophy (cell death) or inflammation. The injury can also affect the cells’ axons or connective fibers, white matter. When this occurs it is known as an traumatic axonal injury.
Brain injury also occurs in two stages. The initial injury can cause damage but a secondary cascade of damage can also occur as the brain responds to the traumatic event.
While many mild TBIs do resolve in the first year, for some, symptoms will continue indefinitely.