Traumatic Brain Injury awareness encouraged

| March 13, 2015 | 0 Comments
March is TBI Awareness Month. TBIs occur when neurons or nerves in the brain are stretched too far and sometimes break. This causes normal chemical and electrical functions of the the brain to become disrupted and impaired. (Courtesy U.S. Army)

March is TBI Awareness Month. TBIs occur when neurons or nerves in the brain are stretched too far and sometimes break. This causes normal chemical and electrical functions of the the brain to become disrupted and impaired. (Courtesy U.S. Army)

Staff Sgt. Joseph C. Hill
Army News Service
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland — Throughout the year, we designate specific months to remind us of varying topics that are important to our well-being and/or culture.

March is intended to remind us of the serious impact of traumatic brain injuries, or TBI, throughout our population.

CDC tracking
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as CDC, reports that approximately 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations or deaths were associated with a singular TBI or a combination of a TBI and additional sources of injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths per year.
The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, or DVBIC, tracks the total number of service members throughout the Department of Defense whom have been diagnosed with a TBI. Since 2000, over 313,000 service members have been diagnosed with a TBI.

TBI concerns
These statistical numbers reflect the relevance of TBI, but why should we be concerned about a TBI?
TBI-associated costs within the U.S. are estimated at a staggering $56 billion annually. The DOD spends an estimated $1.1 billion annually on TBI education and treatment.

There are more than five million Americans living with a TBI that has resulted in a permanent need for assistance in daily functioning. These TBI survivors are left with severe behavioral, cognitive and communicative impairments.

TBIs pose a significant public health problem, especially for children aged 5 years and younger, male adolescents and young adults ages 15 through 24, and the elderly who are 75 years or older. This form of injury is the most common cause of death and acquired disability among children and adolescents.

Dr. Carolyn Caldwell, a neuropsychologist assigned to Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is far too familiar with the effects that TBI has on an individual and their loved ones. On a daily basis, she treats the survivors of these traumatic injuries and the aftermath it creates within their occupational, social, family and interpersonal environment. She has published multiple peer-reviewed articles on the subject.

Caldwell said the mechanism of injury in a mild TBI, the most common severity type, may be different. For example, a service member might be involved in an improvised explosive device, or IED, blast, an adolescent might take a hard hit in a football game or an elderly person might experience a fall, but the impact on the individuals is similar.

Following a mild TBI, it is common for individuals to experience headache, sleep disturbance, difficulty with balance, reduced attention/concentration, reduced memory ability, irritability and/or mood swings.

Treatment
Regardless of age or type of injury, there is one common treatment for everyone following TBI – physical and cognitive rest. With adequate rest, the brain will recover its normal chemical and electrical balance.

Most individuals will recover from a mild injury within days to a few weeks, but as a community, recognition of TBI’s seriousness is a step towards injury prevention.
(Note: Hill works in Behavioral Health Care Services, Aberdeen Proving Ground.)

Resources
The CDC reports that approximately 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations or deaths were associated with a singular TBI, a combination of a TBI and additional sources of injury.
For resources about education, treatment and prevention, visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/index.html.
Visit the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at http://dvbic.dcoe.mil/resources.

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Category: Community, Health

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