Key facts about Brain Injury

The brain, along with the spinal cord and network of nerves, controls the information flow throughout the body, voluntary actions such as walking, reading, and talking, and involuntary reactions such as breathing and digestion. It is vulnerable to injury and acquired brain injury can be caused by a whole variety of different means.

The major causes of head injury are road traffic accidents, falls and accidents at home or at work.  In more recent years assaults are increasingly a cause of head injury. However it happens, the symptoms are caused because a part of the brain has either been damaged or destroyed.

Each year, around 1.4 million people attend hospital A&E in the UK following head injury. Of those, only around 135,000 people will be admitted due to the severity of their injury.  As many as 75 per cent of mild brain injuries go unreported and unassessed by medical professionals.

Effects of Brain Injury

The brain is divided into a number of different sections each with a number of different functions. The combination of symptoms which a person with a brain injury experiences therefore depends upon the part of the brain that has been damaged. People with a brain injury have damaged different parts of the brain and that is why each one’s condition is unique.

The effects of a brain injury can be divided into four different categories:

Physical

  • loss of co-ordination, muscle rigidity, paralysis, epilepsy, difficulty in speaking, loss of sight, smell or taste, fatigue and sexual problems.

Cognitive

  • problems with memory, attention and concentration, low tolerance of noisy stressful environments, loss of insight and initiative, loss of executive skills and of the ability to do simple tasks.

Behaviour and personality

  • anxiety, depression, loss of motivation, difficulty controlling anger and impulsiveness, mood swings.

Emotional

  • flat or excessive emotion, inability to relate to people.

Only 45 per cent of patients with a minor head injury have made a good recovery one year after admission.

Relationships with family and friends can be placed under immense emotional strain as the person they loved may no longer be the person with whom they are living.

Brain Lobes

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