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What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?

So much is being written about Traumatic Brain Injury that it is appropriate to again address the topic in numerous entries in this blog. This is the first of a series. Traumatic Brain Injury is a sudden physical damage to the brain. The damage may be subtle, to small vessels in the brain or dramatic, when a gunshot passes through the skull and piercing the brain.

Damage to the brain can be caused by the head forcibly hitting a dashboard or steering wheel of a car or when one strikes their head, either the front or back, when tripping and falling. The major cause of head trauma is motor vehicle accidents and others include: falls, sports injuries, violent crimes and child abuse. The physical behavior or mental changes that take place in an individual after an injury to the head depend, to a large degree, on the areas of the brain that are injured. If a small, defined area of the brain is damaged, that is called " focal brain damage ".

If the brain is shaken, as it frequently is in an automobile accident, then many areas of the brain would be damaged and that is called a " diffuse brain injury ". Diffuse brain damage occurs when impact of the injury causes the brain to move back and forth against the inside of the skull. In those circumstances, both the front and temporal lobes of the brain, the areas that control speech and language, often receive the most damage. Under those circumstances, communication difficulties can occur following a closed head injury. Other symptoms may include changes in the ability to smell, memory, thinking, walking, balance and coordination.