Although we still don’t know a whole lot about the workings of the brain, science is beginning to learn more about what happens when it’s damaged and how recovery for residents of Burbank and elsewhere can often be challenging.
In fact, relatively new research shows that a recent head injury may be bad but not as bad as an injury sustained decades ago, whether someone is in good health now or receiving 24-hour care.
The team at Accredited Home Care tries to stay on top of ongoing studies into traumatic brain injury. We know that in the past, head injuries weren’t given a lot of attention, but more and more research is showing that even something like a concussion could have a lifelong impact.
Or, as some studies are showing, what may seem like a minor bump when someone is in their 20s may lead to other effects that aren’t seen until someone is in their 60s or 70s.
ScienceDirect discussed how a medium traumatic brain injury that happens earlier in life may actually do more damage to the brain than a serious traumatic brain injury later in life. Even though someone’s behavior may not change, there may still be anomalies in their brain that may not be noticeable for years.
Research is showing that as the brain changes during aging, especially in cases of dementia, it may cause some of the old trauma to resurface. Perhaps the initial injury weakened it, and it grew progressively worse over the years. Or maybe a new head injury had more serious effects if the person had an injury in their youth.
This information could be useful for people focusing on safety in youth sports, especially close contact activities like football where concussions often occur. Some studies have shown that many retired NFL players and boxers are dealing with intense neurological damage later in life, but no solid connections have been made about the role of head injuries earlier in life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is the current term for any sort of head trauma that disrupts the normal functions of the brain.
These types of disruptions can be across the board, from temporary pain to long-term personality changes. Because the brain is so delicate, even a light bruise can be classified as a traumatic brain injury.
Past thinking about concussions was that they were immediately dangerous but then everything went back to normal after a few days of pain, poor focus, and disorientation.
But more research shows that they can be more serious and long-lasting than originally thought, especially if multiple ones occur.
This has been seen in the world of sports, and also in the military, where veterans may experience head trauma on the battlefield that follows them home in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental or physical damage.
Although there are a lot of studies taking place into short- and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury, advocates want to continue to increase public awareness.
That’s part of why the Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center has designated March 2021 as Brain Injury Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity for people to learn about national and local resources for people who may be dealing with this type of injury or know someone who might be. It’s also a chance for survivors to share their stories, including what they’ve gone through and what they may still be going through.
While there may not be official public gatherings or organized brain injury events taking place in communities around the U.S. due to CDC regulations, people are invited to visit the official resource center or other online areas to learn more about traumatic brain injuries.
The Brain Injury Association of America also observes the March focus. The theme from 2021 to 2023 is “More Than My Brain Injury.” Education is a big part of this organization’s mission, especially encouraging the public to understand what life is like for people with brain injuries and to reduce some of the stigmas around brain injuries.
TBI and Seniors
Although the research into the effects of injuries at a younger age is important, seniors who experience head injuries can still experience mild to severe damage, even death. The most common way that age 65 and over experience brain injuries are from falls – more than 80 percent.
Seniors are more prone to balance problems also take longer to heal. They are also the fastest-growing demographic for brain injuries in the U.S. and have the highest rates of hospitalization and death due to brain injuries.
Seniors are more likely to have concussions and also more likely that they are serious, especially if they are on blood thinners or high blood pressure medicine. Plus, some seniors may not think that a bump from a fall is that serious or may not want to go to the doctor for fear of losing their independence.