Human Brain Injury Anatomy
The brain weighs a lot, at least two to five pounds in some cases. It consists of a gray, jelly-like substance, called cerebrospinal fluid. The cerebrospinal fluid consists of millions of microscopic fibers. Your brain operates by sending electrically charged neuro-chemical signals through the axonal-dendric connections commonly referred to as synapses. If human brain tissue is impacted by a jolt or strike, your axonal-dendric connections could break apart, or become severely damaged. Here, Michael Ehline tells us all what we need to know to identify and treat a brain injury.
Most Common Causes of Brain Damage
Vehicular accidents involving passenger automobiles are by far the major cause of skull, head and brain injury in California. Most people realize harm can happen due to a blow or strike to the head. This could be an impact from falling off a bicycle and hitting the asphalt with force, or from a spill on a motorcycle. Often it results from crashing into a windshield during a car accident. Even without an impact, the g-forces of an impact can cause your brain to go from sudden acceleration to sudden deceleration, just like in a whiplash event.
So even without blunt trauma to your head, you can still suffer a head injury. In fact, a lot of brain injuries are directly related to tearing of the brain, and unrelated to a hit on the head. The whiplash event can cause the rain to bleed, can create bruising and twisting of brain matter. Damage to your brain could happen during the impact, or as brain matter and tissue swells up afterwards when you think you’re fine, but you’re not.
Science has discovered that you brain consists of three major organs called the: cerebellum, cortex, and brain stem, or diencephalon.
Your brain stem is what connects your spinal cord to your brain, which in turn sends signals to your vital organs like your heart, and lungs and controls natural survival functions, from adrenaline, heart beat, urination, breathing, consciousness, fear and hunger.
Although your skull helps protect your brain, the cranium is not that thick and not padded on the inside. In fact, just the opposite is true. The inside of your cranium is ribbed with bony structures.
So if there is a sudden back and forth or side to side movement of your head, the brain can bang into the ribbing and mess you up for life due to the bruise injury. The cortex is in the middle of your brain and is responsible for the majority of thoughts and analysis. There are 4 lobes to your cortex, along with 2 hemispheres: the right and the left.
Your left hemisphere is typically the most dominant portion of your brain and responsible for controlling your ability to talk, read, write, or do mathematical calculations for that matter. The right side of your brain is responsible for visual-spatial functions like musical rhythm, the ability to draw and other visual memories associated with computing, programming and drawing things.
Your frontal lobe is often injured from motor vehicle accidents as a result of it being located at the front of your skull. The frontal lobe is known for controlling emotions and characteristics such as your very personality.
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Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) may significantly cause damages one’s cognitive, physical, mental and psychological skills. Physical deficits can include ambulation, loss of balance, coordination, fine motor skills, strength, and endurance. Cognitive deficits of language and communication, information processing, memory, and loss of perceptual skills are common. Psychological status is also often changed as well. Adjustment to disability issues are frequently encountered by people with TBI. Brain injuries can occur in many ways.
TBI typically results from accidents in which the head strikes an object. This is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. However, others, such as those caused by insufficient oxygen, poisoning, or infection, can cause similar deficits.
An anoxic brain injury is the type of head injury that is known for interrupting blood flow to and from your brain. Anoxic brain injuries are sometimes caused by a lack of oxygen to your brain, such as drowning, swelling or bleeding of the brain tissues.
Contrecoup injuries take place as a result of the jarring side to side impact often involved in motorcycle, pedestrian, and automobile accidents. It causes the brain to be propelled against both sides of your skull. Normally cases like this are from the brain rebounding and crashing into the other side of the cranium, causing it to strike both sides of your skull. Thus, a contrecoup injury is the ultimate result.
An epidural hematoma is from a blood clot forming between your skull and the inner, upper lining of your brain known as your “dura”. A blood clot in that area of your head causes many pressure changes in your brain, which can result in a medical necessity of emergency surgery in order to effectuate emergency repairs and eliminate the clotting. This is a common injury seniors will suffer see in hospitalized patients.
Contusions and concussions take place when your brain gets bruised as a result of it hitting and impacting the inside of your cranium, skull. This type of injury creates symptoms from dizziness, seeing stars, mild headaches, severe headaches, loss, or lack of memory and loss of concentration. A simple concussion can even create lifetime consequences that could require lifetime medical care.
Diffuse Axonal Injury is a brain injury that is associated most closely with the rotation and disruption of your brain within the cranium. This can cut away, shear or sever the brain axons, which are connecting nerve fibers. Damage such as this is typically difficult to analyze and accompanied by microscopic tears that are difficult to locate at all. If your case is diagnosed as a “mild brain injury” you may notice that the injuries heal over time. But often, a DAI can cause permanent disabilities from loss of consciousness to lifetime coma, and eventual wrongful death.
Currently, medical science has not discovered a methodology to treat diffuse axonal injuries. But medical experts have discovered in some studies that the damage to axons occur in the first 12 to 24 hours after the head impact, or other head type injury. Many are confident that modern advances in science will be able to treat and/or slow down or stop the injury from progressing with medications and other therapy and/or surgery.
Skull fractures are caused when the bone in your head, or cranium fractures, or cracks like an egg shell. A skull fracture normally mends itself over time. But often the tissue inside the fracture zone gets injured or damaged and this will typically require surgery to repair the fractured armor.
Subdural hematomas are caused from blood clots forming in between your brain tissue and your dura. It can happen in many ways. It could be slow over a few weeks or days. This is called a subdural hematoma. It could be fast, and therefore science calls this an acute subdural hematoma. As with al blood clots you could easily be a candidate for emergency surgery as a corrective measure.
Feel free to browse our educational brain injury materials and learn about your brain and brain housing known as the head, or skull.