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Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page
Synonym:
Head Injury, Brain Injury

Table of Contents
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Is there any treatment?
What is the prognosis?
What research is being done?
Organizations

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden physical assault on the head causes damage to the brain. The damage can be focal, confined to one area of the brain, or diffuse, involving more than one area of the brain. TBI can result from a closed head injury or a penetrating head injury. A closed head injury occurs when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, but the object does not break through the skull. A penetrating head injury occurs when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. Several types of traumatic injuries can affect the head and brain. A skull fracture occurs when the bone of the skull cracks or breaks. A depressed skull fracture occurs when pieces of the broken skull press into the tissue of the brain. This can cause bruising of the brain tissue, called a contusion. A contusion can also occur in response to shaking of the brain within the confines of the skull, an injury called "countrecoup." Shaken baby syndrome is a severe form of head injury that occurs when a baby is shaken forcibly enough to cause extreme countrecoup injury. Damage to a major blood vessel within the head can cause a hematoma, or heavy bleeding into or around the brain. The severity of a TBI can range from a mild concussion to the extremes of coma or even death. A coma is a profound or deep state of unconsciousness. Symptoms of a TBI may include headache, nausea, confusion or other cognitive problems, a change in personality, depression, irritability, and other emotional and behavioral problems. Some people may have seizures as a result of a TBI.

Is there any treatment?
Immediate treatment for TBI involves surgery to control bleeding in and around the brain, monitoring and controlling intracranial pressure, insuring adequate blood flow to the brain, and treating the body for other injuries and infection.

What is the prognosis?
The outcome of TBI depends on the cause of the injury and on the location, severity, and extent of neurological damage: outcomes range from good recovery to death. Doctors often use the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate the extent of injury and chances of recovery. The scale (3-15) involves testing for three patient responses: eye opening, best verbal response, and best motor response. A high score indicates a good prognosis and a low score indicates a poor prognosis.

What research is being done?
The NINDS conducts and supports research on trauma-related disorders, including traumatic brain injuries. Much of this research focuses on increasing scientific understanding of these disorders and finding ways to prevent and treat them.

Organizations

Acoustic Neuroma Association
600 Peachtree Parkway
Suite 108
Cumming, GA   30041
anausa@aol.com
http://www.anausa.org/
Tel: 770-205-8211
Fax: 770-205-0239

Brain Injury Association
8201 Greensboro Drive
Suite 611
McLean, VA   22102
FamilyHelpline@biausa.org
http://www.biausa.org/
Tel: 703-761-0750 800-444-6443
Fax: 703-761-0755

Brain Trauma Foundation
523 East 72nd Street
8th Floor
New York, NY   10021
info@braintrauma.org
http://www.braintrauma.org/
Tel: 212-772-0608
Fax: 212-772-0357

Family Caregiver Alliance
690 Market Street
Suite 600
San Francisco, CA   94104
info@caregiver.org
http://www.caregiver.org/
Tel: 415-434-3388 800-445-8106
Fax: 415-434-3508

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC   20202
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr
Tel: 202-205-5465

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
4200 Forbes Boulevard
Suite 202
Lanham, MD   20706-4829
naricinfo@heitechservices.com
http://www.naric.com/
Tel: 301-459-5900/301-459-5984 (TTY) 800-346-2742
Fax: 301-562-2401

National Stroke Association
9707 East Easter Lane
Englewood, CO   80112-3747
info@stroke.org
http://www.stroke.org/
Tel: 303-649-9299 800-STROKES (787-6537)
Fax: 303-649-1328


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

Last updated December 03, 2004

   
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