A question we get a lot is what is traumatic brain injury? Traumatic brain injury (or TBI) is usually caused by a violent blow to the head or body. An object piercing the brain tissue, such as may happen in an automobile accident, can also cause TBI. Most traumatic brain injuries are mild concussions that do not require hospitalization, but sadly, TBI does contribute to nearly 50,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Treatments for traumatic brain injury depend on the severity of the injury. Therapies may include emergency treatment, medications, rehabilitation, and stem cell therapy.
Inflammation is the body’s normal response to injury, but the hard skull around the brain prevents outward swelling when it’s injured. Instead, pressure builds up inside the skull, and this pressure can cause even further injury.
Interruption in communication patterns between the brain’s neurotransmitters creates an imbalance of the delicate chemistry needed for normal function. If the injury is mild, normal function may resume when the brain heals and inflammation recedes. But if the pressure is prolonged or the injury is more severe, complications can be life-altering.
The Symptoms of TBI
The term “traumatic brain injury” sounds severe, and in some cases, it can be. However, traumatic brain injury is also the correct term for describing mild concussions that don’t appear to be concerning immediately after the event. Symptoms and complications related to TBI may appear days or even weeks after the injury. That is why all TBIs should be considered serious incidents until more information becomes available.
Symptoms of a mild TBI may include:
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Speech problems
- Loss of balance
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Strange taste in the mouth
- Loss of smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes
- Feeling confused, disoriented
- Problems with memory or difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
A more serious TBI may also cause convulsions, clear fluids draining from ears or nose, weakness in toes and fingers, or dilation of one or both pupils.
Seek medical care if you or someone you know exhibits any of the above signs after a fall or some other type of accident that involves a blow to the head. Children are especially at risk for long-term complications of TBI and should be evaluated immediately.
Can Regenerative Medicine Help TBI?
Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, has shown potential for managing a range of neurodegenerative disorders, including traumatic brain injury. While it is still considered experimental, studies on stem cell therapy show promise for its ability to replace damaged brain cells with healthy new cells and potentially restore or improve brain function. If you would like to learn more contact a care coordinator today!