Living with a Brain Injury

 

According to the CDC, 2.4 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. A brain injury can change everything about a person in a matter of seconds. The effects of a brain injury vary greatly from person-to-person and depend on factors such as cause, location and severity. The top two causes of TBI are falls and motor vehicle-traffic crashes.

In a healthy brain the neurons (nerve cells) form tracts that perform functions and carry messages to other parts of the brain. Each part of the brain serves a specific function and links to other parts to perform more complex functions.  All parts need to be working well together in order for the brain to perform at its best.

In an injured brain neurons and nerve tracts may be unable or have difficulty carrying messages to other parts. This can change how someone acts, feels or moves as well as more complex internal functions like regulating body temperature or bladder control. Changes can be temporary or permanent and may cause a complete inability to perform a function.

Injuries of the left side of the brain can cause

  • Difficulty understanding language
  • Difficulty speaking or expressing language
  • Verbal memory deficits
  • Impaired logic
  • Sequencing difficulties
  • Decreased control over right side body movements

Injuries of the right side of the brain can cause

  • Visual-spatial impairment
  • Visual memory deficits
  • Inattention to the left side of the body
  • Decreased awareness of deficits
  • Altered creativity and music perception
  • Loss of “big picture” type thinking
  • Decreased control over left side body movements

Injuries in both sides of the brain can cause

  • Reduced thinking speed
  • Confusion
  • Reduced attention and concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired cognitive skills