What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
According to the CDC, each year approximately 2.5 million people sustained a traumatic brain injury, either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries. Within this, each year approximately 282,000 people are hospitalized and 56,000 deaths occur due to TBI’s. In total, more than 5.3 million people live with the disabilities caused by TBI.
These numbers are projected to grow with the World Health Organization projecting that by 2020, TBI will become the leading cause of neurological disability across all age groups.
What Are We Doing?
Effective treatment of TBI represents a major unmet need in public health. Knowing the enormous negative impact TBI’s have on the world, both in volumes and costs, One Mind is focused on accelerating the pace of research so to help achieve successful clinical trials and treatments for TBI.
One Mind financially supports a number of large-scale, collaboratively focused multicenter research studies, including the NINDS-funded Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI) study and the Department of Defense funded TBI Endpoints Development (TED) Initiative study.
Focusing on ‘funding the gaps’ within each study, One Mind’s financial and collaborative support has resulted in patient study retention rates that are two to three times higher than the norm, thereby leveraging the NIH and DoD funding at a similar rate.
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, CAUSES AND THE PURSUIT OF A CURE
Knowing the signs of Traumatic Brain Injury
What is it?
The CDC defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. The severity of TBI may range from mild (resulting in a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to severe (resulting in an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury).
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know has a traumatic brain injury, you can look for signs in their physical appearance, cognitive capabilities and emotional state.
Some signs include:
- Slowness in thinking, speaking or reading
- Headaches or neck pain
- Difficulty remembering and/or making decisions
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Mood changes
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in eating
- Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions
If you or someone you know shows several of these signs, please encourage them to talk to a doctor.
The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may not be present at the time of injury and may take a few hours or days to appear. Sometimes, people do not recognize or admit that they are having problems, so it is important for friends and family members to monitor and speak up.
The most common symptoms fall into four categories:
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Feeling slowed down
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Light or noise sensitivity
- Vision Problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems
- Emotional / Mood
- Mood Swings
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleep Disturbances
- Sleeping too much
- Sleeping too little
- Trouble falling asleep
The causes of TBI are diverse. Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by something as simple as a mild bump or bruise, or from something more serious such as impact during an auto accident or a major hit to the head. The most common mechanisms for traumatic brain injury are open head injury, closed head injury, deceleration injuries, chemical/toxic, hypoxia, tumors, infections and stroke.
Per recent data, falling is the leading cause of TBI, accounting for 47% of all TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths. Being struck by or against and object is the second leading cause, while motor vehicle crashes is the third.
Age influences the occurrence rates of TBI’s, with persons 75 and older and children 0-14 having generally higher rates.
There are no cures for traumatic brain injury, so prevention is the best approach. Such preventative steps include wearing seatbelts when driving, placing children in age appropriate car seats, never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, wearing a helmet while bicycling or participating in contact/extreme sports and making living areas safer for seniors and children.
If you or someone you know has sustained a traumatic brain injury, the first and foremost thing you should do is see a medical professional. Other actions you should take until your symptoms reside include:
- Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day
- Avoid activities that are physically demanding or require a lot of concentration
- Avoid activities that can lead to another traumatic brain injury
- Take time off of work if able. Ask to return gradually.
- Write down things that may be harder than usual to remember
- Do not neglect your basic needs like eating well
- Avoid sustained computer use, TV and video games early on
- Check in with your doctor and continue to go to follow up appointments