A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the function of the brain. A brain injury encompasses both closed and open head injuries. Injuries can range from "mild" in nature to "severe."
Improvements in medical technology and emergency response systems enable more people who sustain injuries to be saved. Survivors of a TBI may experience many challenges as the result of their injury. The following are a few quick facts about TBI from the Centers for Disease Control:
1.4 million people a year sustain a TBI. That number is larger than Breast Cancer (176,300), HIV/AIDS (43,681), Spinal Cord Injuries (11,000) and Multiple Sclerosis (10,400) combined! Of those:
The literal definition of Spina Bifida is "split spine." Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect in which the spine does not close properly during the first month of pregnancy. There are three primary kinds of Spina Bifida:
The least severe form, this means there are openings in the vertebrae along the spinal column but no nerve damage.
A cyst on the spinal cord pokes through the open part of the spine, but the spinal cord remains intact. This is the rarest form.
The most severe form, which people most often associate with the term "Spina Bifida." The spinal cord or nerves actually protrude through the back and are exposed. Spinal fluid may leak out.
In the third or fourth week of pregnancy, the fetal spinal cord should close. Scientists are not clear why that doesn't happen properly in some cases. In some, but not all cases, it can be linked to a folic acid deficiency in the mother during pregnancy.
The name cerebral palsy (CP) describes a group of muscular disorders producing symptoms such as muscle groups that are too rigid or too lax, problems with coordination, shaking and random involuntary movements.
The onset of cerebral palsy typically takes place between conception and the first year of life. Most children with CP have normal or above average intellect, but conditions such as mental retardation, visual impairments, epilepsy, hearing loss and scoliosis may also be found in children with cerebral palsy. CP is not contagious and generally not life-threatening and treatment for the non-progressive disorder varies from case to case.
The three main types of CP are: spastic (characterized by muscle tone being too tight, jerky movements, hard time loosening grip), ataxic (poor balance, shakiness, problems coordinating muscles, low muscle tone), athetoid (mixed muscle tone, involuntary movements).
Researchers and medical professionals have yet to agree on a definitive cause for CP, but numerous situations believed to contribute to CP in a fetus or infant include a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery, untreated cases of jaundice or rubella in mother or fetus, blood or fluid in the brain, faulty cell development in early pregnancy, and physical damage to the part of the brain controlling motor function.