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Injuries Information

Brain Injury

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:

  • 1.1 million are treated and released from the emergency department
  • 235,000 are hospitalized
  • 80,000 will experience the onset of long-term disabilities
  • 50,000 die

The leading causes of TBI are:

  • Falls (28%)
  • Motor vehicle crashes (20%)
  • Struck by/against (19%)
  • Assaults (11%)
  • Blasts are the leading cause of TBI in active duty military personnel

Highest Risk:

  • Males are 1.5 times more likely than females to sustain a TBI
  • 0-4 year olds and 15-19 year olds are at highest risk
  • Certain military duties (i.e. paratrooper) increase the risk of sustaining a TBI
  • African Americans have the highest death rate from TBI

Cost:

  • The estimated costs (including direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity) of TBI totaled $56.3 billion in the United States in 1995.

Long Term Consequences:

  • There are currently at least 5.3 million Americans that have a long-term/ lifelong need for help to complete activities of daily living as a result of a TBI.
  • Frequent unmet needs include:
    • Memory and problem solving
    • Managing stress and emotional upsets
    • Controlling one's temper
    • Improving one's job skills

Links to find more info on traumatic brain injury:


Spina Bifida

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:

Spina Bifida Occulta:

The least severe form, this means there are openings in the vertebrae along the spinal column but no nerve damage.

Meningocele

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.

Myelomeningocele

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.

Causes

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.

Links to find more information on Spina Bifida:


Cerebral Palsy

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).

Causes

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.

Links to find more information on Cerebral Palsy: