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Brain injuries result in long-term suffering for many Americans

Brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, slip and falls and other accidents. When a Pittsburgh resident experiences a sudden trauma to the head, they may suffer brain damage as a result of the force of the impact or the piercing of the skull. Often times, those who survive a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury will suffer health problems for years to come, including cognitive, emotional and behavioral issues. About 5.3 million Americans are suffering with a disability caused by a traumatic brain injury. It is a leading cause of death and disability for those ages one to 44.

A recent study conducted at a hospital in Norway found that those who suffered from TBIs were more likely to suffer psychological problems. There were multiple factors that played a role in determining the severity of these problems. Those with TBIs, who had fewer years of education and signs of depression, would suffer more serious problems. Younger individuals with TBIs were more likely to behave aggressively and not follow rules. If there was extensive damage to the white matter, or a traumatic axonal injury, the person is more likely to suffer from greater executive dysfunction.

The trouble with traumatic brain injuries is that they can be difficult to detect or go unnoticed while medical professionals are focused on trying to save the life of the individual. Generally mild TBIs occur when the person loses consciousness or remains disoriented for less than 30 minutes. If a person loses consciousness for more than 30 minutes and suffers memory loss or a penetrating skull injury for longer than 24 hours, the brain injury will be classified as severe.

Those who survive more severe injuries may have to deal with limited function in their limbs, loss of memory, emotional problems and difficulty with speech. The severity of the effects of a TBI can vary from person to person, but any negative change in brain function will likely have a major impact on the lives of the victims and their families.

Source: PsychCentral, "Exploring Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury," Jane Collingwood, Jan. 5, 2016

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