What exactly is the reticular activating system and is it something that can be damaged from a closed head injury? And if so, can it be fixed or treated?
The reticular activating system (RAS) is the area of the brain responsible for regulating arousal and sleep-wake transitions. Damage to the reticular activating system, which has its origins in the brainstem, can occur after a TBI.
Damage to the RAS is generally not “fixable,” but certainly can be treated with rehabilitation strategies that focus on the awake/sleep cycle, pain management, balance issues, and learning to filter incoming stimuli to discriminate irrelevant background stimuli from what you want to retain.