The Brain

The brain controls everything we say, do, think, and feel. It keeps us alive through breathing, circulation, digestion, hormones, and the immune system. Through the brain, we experience emotion and express ourselves.


Brain Injury 

A brain injury is an injury to the brain that occurs after birth and is not congenital, degenerative or hereditary. The injury results in a change of the brain’s neuronal activity. There are two types of brain injury: Traumatic Brain Injury and Acquired Brain Injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A TBI is caused by an external factor such as a bump, blow or jolt to the head, that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI can be defined as closed (non-penetrating) or open (penetrating). The severity of a TBI may range from mild (for example, concussion) to severe.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI): An ABI is an alteration in brain functioning or pathology caused by internal factors such as a lack of oxygen. 

A brain injury may produce an altered or diminished state of consciousness, and result in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning. These impairments may be temporary or permanent, and cause partial or total functional disability.


Causes of Brain Injury


Results of a Brain Injury

A brain injury can cause a wide range of functional short term changes effecting thinking, sensation, language, emotion.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, brain injuries can cause “an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.”

Cognitive consequences can include memory loss, slowed ability to process information, trouble concentrating, organizational problems, poor judgment and difficulty initiating activities.

Physical consequences can include seizures, muscle spasticity, fatigue, headaches and balance problems.

Emotional or behavioral consequences can include depression, mood swings, anxiety, impulsivity and agitiation.

A brain injury can cause epilepsy and increase the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders.*

Repeated mild TBI’s (concussion) occurring over an extended period of time can result in cumulative neurological and cognitive deficits. Repeated mild TBIs occurring within a short period of time can be catastrophic.*

For more information on brain injury, contact the BIANJ Helpline at 732-783-6172, info@bianj.org or online chat.

*Source: CDC.GOV


Statistics

Across the United States:

Of the 2.87 million who sustain a TBI each year in the United States,
– 56,800 die
– 288,000 are hospitalized
The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department, or who receive no care is unknown. *cdc.gov

In New Jersey:

– Between 12,000 and 15,000 New Jersey residents sustain a TBI
– 1,000 New Jersey residents die
– 175,000 New Jersey residents currently live with disabilities from TBI
– 5,895 Fall hospitalizations
– 1,717 Motor vehicle crash hospitalizations
– 616 Assault hospitalizations
*NJ.GOV