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Health Minute: Brain Injury Segment

By: Claude

According to the CDC, “More than 223,000 traumatic brain injury related hospitalizations occurred in 2019.” March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and today we are joined by Dr. Nisha Patel, director of the brain injury program at Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation. Dr. Patel has some fantastic tips to help us better understand brain injuries and the options that are available to help.


What is a brain injury? 

Brain injuries are a serious medical condition, caused by acceleration/deceleration forces applied to the head and body. There are three patterns of brain injuries, closed (non-penetrating), penetrating and blast injuries. Closed injuries occur when there is trauma to the skull, such as a fall. Penetrating brain injuries are external in nature, they occur when an outside force enters the skull, causing direct damage. Blast injury occurs due to explosives in a combat setting 


What are the main causes of brain injury?  

There are numerous causes for brain injuries. Falls and motor vehicle accidents tend to be the most common. In other scenarios, especially with younger individuals, we tend to see more brain injuries coming from activities like sports. Typically, these present in the form of concussions.   


What is a concussion?  

A concussion is a mild brain injury and presents with negative imaging. Typically, it results in temporary symptoms including physical symptoms like headaches and dizziness, cognitive symptoms like memory problems and emotional symptoms like irritability and lability. If these symptoms are heightened or present for an extended period impacting day to day functioning; you should seek emergency care at ER and/or neurologist/concussive specialist.  


What does recovery look like with a brain injury?  

Depending on the severity of the injury, a patient’s recovery time may vary following a traumatic brain injury. Some patients need very little support and recover quickly, while some require rehabilitation support and long-term assistance from a care team. There are different forms of therapy and treatment options such as physical, occupational and speech therapy.  


How can we prevent brain injuries?  

Several small decisions can greatly limit your risk of brain injury, these include:  

  • Wearing a seat belt  

  • Using a helmet 

  • Playing strategically and minimizing head contact 

  • Use of tools to limit the risk of falls (Walker, Comfortable Shoes, Home medications and PT for prior gait/balance issues)  


Thank you, Dr. Patel, for more information on Adventist HealthCare, visit AdventistHealthCare.com.  


Health Minute Brain Injury Awareness Dr Nisha Patel FINAL