Making a Difference #1: Intro to TBI

In the US, annual incidence of TBI is more than MS, spinal cord injury, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer combined. Learn more.

[♪mellow music♪] Today I'd like to speak to you about the ways that the brain can be injured and how the brain functions in order to help you understand this very special group of people. There are many different types of brain injuries. Of the major categories, there are congenital disorders, acquired brain injury and traumatic brain injury. At times, eligibility for services will depend on whether the disability or injury is due to a traumatic brain injury or some other types of cause. A congenital disorder is a disorder that's present at birth. So it may occur as the result of a brain trauma or during the development of the fetus. Some of the examples of this is mental retardation or learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome. Those are all types of disorders that are either present at birth or occur during the development of the fetus. An acquired brain injury is a brain injury that has occurred after birth, and it's usually the result of an injury or an illness. Examples of these can include traumatic brain injury, which is the most common form, strokes, which are the second most common form of an acquired brain injury, anoxia, which is a shortage of oxygen to the brain which you see frequently when people may have heart attacks or are exposed to some type of unusual gas like carbon monoxide. Brain surgery can cause an acquired brain injury. Infectious diseases, brain tumors, even metabolic disorders like going into a diabetic coma can cause this type of an injury. Seizure disorders can cause it and also toxic exposure. Traumatic brain injury is a subset of acquired brain injury, and it is as a result of an insult to the brain that's caused by some type of external force or accident. In children, the terms traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury are the same as for adults. Common examples of acquired brain injury in children are things like an injury causing a traumatic brain injury, anoxia due to near drowning or suffocation or exposure to chemicals or strokes or hemorrhages in the brain. The causes of the traumatic brain injuries are many. They can be falls or car accidents. One of the more common ones that we hear about today is shaken baby syndrome. It can be blows to the head often related to child abuse. It can be sports-related accidents such as concussions. It can be bicycle accidents, skateboards, roller skating. Those are all the different types of injuries that children can sustain, and they are quite common. [♪♪] Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults. [♪♪] Males are about one and a half times more likely as females to sustain a traumatic brain injury. This is typically because boys tend to be more adventurous, more daring and also because the part of the brain that helps you control your impulses develops a little bit slower in males. And so you typically see more accidents in males than in females. [♪♪] How old was the individual when they got sick or injured? Many state services depend on whether the disability is congenital, meaning present at birth, or acquired during or after the birth process. [♪♪] Another important question is, was the brain injury due to an accident or some other cause? Again, eligibility for many state services depends upon whether the disability is due to a traumatic brain injury or some other cause. [♪♪] In the United States, the annual incidence of traumatic brain injury is more than that of multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, HIV/AIDS and breast cancer combined. So you can see that you will have many, many people with this type of injury or having a family member with this type of injury calling for services. [♪♪]
Posted on BrainLine April 8, 2011.

Produced by Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council.