Traumatic Brain Injuries

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The Silent Epidemic
It only takes a split second for a jolt to the skull to cause extensive damage and serious impairment of the voluminous and vital neurological functions. Who would be your power of attorney? How would you pay for the medical bills? Questions the majority of people never even think of- you never think it could be you. Effects may be long term or short term, depending on the gravity of the incident. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Based on recent studies, on average, 1.7 million people endure a traumatic brain injury each year.
The leading causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries are falls, motor vehicle accidents, struck by or against objects, and assaults. The initial blow causes the brain to bounce around and twist hitting the bony interior wall of the skull or an object has penetrated the skull leading to permanent neurological deficit. This unusual movement causes stretches and damages to the brain cells; thus, leading to a concussion, a coma, or may even result in death. Damage to the axons can occur for hours or days after the initial injury, bringing about a breakdown of communication among neurons in the brain, often forming contusions. The axon rapidly degenerates, releasing toxic levels of chemicals into the extracellular space. Surrounding neurons can also die as well. This process exacerbates the preliminary effects of the injury. Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) parallels a TBI. Rapid formation of scar tissue due to the immense blood supply in the brain interferes with normal cognitive and motor functions. If severe swelling persists, doctors may induce a medical coma on a patient to allow the reduction of the metabolic rate of brain tissue as well as...

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...such as joining support groups, keeping a journal, following a routine, taking breaks, avoiding distractions, staying focused, and setting attainable goals. Mild TBI patients usually have a full recovery, but moderate to severe injuries are accompanied with life-long disabilities ranging from minor to major.
Conclusively, individuals suffering from severe TBI’s may require around the clock supervision at a residential facility. The problem is the cost for care is often too expensive for patients, resulting to inefficient care. As a result they wind up homeless and/or arrested and in jail. A silent epidemic, contributes to overcrowded jails and climbing rates of the homeless. More TBI programs need to be implemented and designed to alter this adverse course. It’s our responsibility to raise awareness to a crisis demanding our help. Give this silent epidemic a voice.

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