About Brain Injury – BIAA

ABOUT BRAIN INJURY

The Brain Injury Associationof America and its network of state affiliates striveto connect people with useful, accurate information and resources in their area.If you or a family member are struggling with the effects of a brain injury, or think you may have sustained a brain injury, there is help. Here are some useful first steps:

This page offers helpful definitions and terms you might hear used.Use this page to help you understand brain injury a little better. Use the resources on other pages as well.

DefinitionsTypes of brain injuryCausesOutcomesSeverity of brain injuryTips for recovery

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)TBI is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.

Adopted by the Brain Injury Association Board of Directors in 2011. This definition is not intended as an exclusive statement of the population served by the Brain Injury Association of America.

Acquired Brain InjuryAn acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth.

There is sometimes confusion about what is considered an acquired brain injury.By definition, any traumatic brain injury (e.g. from a motor vehicle accident or assault)could be considered anacquired brain injury.In the field of brain injury, acquired brain injuries are typically considered any injury that is non traumatic.Examples of acquired brain injury include stroke, near drowning, hypoxic or anoxic brain injury, tumor, neurotoxins, electric shock or lightning strike.

Diffuse Axonal Injury (TBI)Concussion (TBI)Contusion (TBI)Coup-contre coup injury (TBI)Second Impact Syndrome (TBI)Open and Closed Head InjuriesPenetrating Injury (TBI)Shaken Baby Syndrome (TBI)Locked in Syndrome (TBI)Anoxic brain injury (ABI)Hypoxic brain injury (ABI)

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Concussion (TBI)

Contusion

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

Second Impact Syndrome “Recurrent Traumatic Brain Injury”

Penetrating Injury

Sources: Brumback R.Oklahoma Notes: Neurology and Clinical Neuroscience. (2nd ed.). New York: Springer; 2006. andCenter for Disease Control and Injury Prevention.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Source:National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome

Locked in Syndrome

Anoxic Brain Injury

Source: Zasler, N. Brain Injury Source, Volume 3, Issue 3, Ask the Doctor

Hypoxic Brain Injury

Source: Zasler, N. Brain Injury Source,Volume 3, Issue 3, Ask the DoctorColumn

Open Head InjuryThe following are terms used to describe types of skull fractures that can occur with open head injuries:

Closed Head InjuryWhen a person receives an impact to the head from an outside force, but the skull does not fracture or displace this condition is termed a “closed head injury”. Again, separate terminology is added to describe the brain injury. For example, a person may have a closed head injury with a severe traumatic brain injury.

According to theCenters for Disease and Control Injury Prevention Center, the leading causes of traumatic brain injury are:

Brain injury can result in a range of outcomes:

Among children ages 0 to 14 years, TBI results in an estimated

The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown.

Emergency personnel typically determine the severity of a brain injury by using an assessment called the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The terms Mild Brain Injury, Moderate Brain Injury, and Severe Brain Injury are used to describe the level of initial injury in relation to the neurological severity caused to the brain.There may be no correlation between the initial Glasgow Coma Scale score and the initial level of brain injury and a persons short or long term recovery, or functional abilities.Keep in mind that there is nothing Mild about a brain injurythe term Mild Brain injury is used to describe a level of neurological injury. Any injury to the brain is a real and serious medical condition. There is additional information about mild brain injury on ourmild brain injury page.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or examination. A person with a suspected brain injury should contact a physician immediately, go to the emergency room, or call 911 in the case of an emergency. Symptoms of mild TBIcan be temporary. The majority of people with mild TBIrecover, though the timetable for recovery can vary significantly from person to person.

A moderate TBI occurs when there is aloss of consciousness that lasts from a few minutes to a few hours, when confusion lasts from days to weeks, or when physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral impairments last for months or are permanent.Persons with moderate TBIgenerally can make a good recovery with treatment and successfully learn to compensate for their deficits.

Source: Defense and Veterans Head Injury Program & Brain Injury Association. Brain Injury and You. 1996.

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