Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is a complex injury
with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities.
A TBI occurs when a sudden trauma damages the
brain. A TBI can also be called a brain injury, an
acquired head injury, or simply a concussion.
MRI and CAT scans can pinpoint damage, but
diagnosis usually relies on observation and
presence of symptoms. Symptoms can easily be
overlooked, especially if there is other trauma to
the body, and the diagnosis of TBI can be missed.
Cognitive skills testing can help diagnose TBI and is
usually administered several days after the trauma. Cognitive skills testing can reveal which cognitive skills need to be strengthened to enable recovery. The tests measure all cognitive skills including
memory, processing speed, visual and auditory
processing, logic and reasoning, and attention.
TBI is caused when the head suddenly and violently
hits an object, when the head is powerfully jolted
or shaken, or when an object pierces the skull and
enters brain tissue.
Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe
and are not always immediate. They include:
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Blurred vision or tired eyes
Ringing in the ears
Bad taste in the mouth
Loss of consciousness
Convulsions or seizures
Numbness or poor coordination in limbs
Fatigue or lethargy
Agitation or restlessness
Change in sleep patterns
Mood swings and behavior changes
Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States each year approximately:
1.5 million people suffer a TBI
50,000 people die from TBI
85,000 people suffer long-term disabilities
Disabilities depend on the location and severity of the injury, and the age and health of the individual. For people who recover, common long-term disabilities include problems with cognition (memory, attention, reasoning), sensory
processing (sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing), communication (expressing and understanding) and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, social inappropriateness).
Initial treatment focuses on stabilizing the patient to prevent further injury along with testing, observation, and mental and physical rest. Long term rehabilitation can include:
Speech or language therapy
Psychiatric or psychological counseling
Cognitive skills testing and training
Nutrition: You might also be able to reduce the frequency or severity of the symptoms by limiting the intake of foods containing non-organic dyes, which have been linked to hyperactivity. Controlling sugar consumption can also be helpful as well as supplementing with Omegas. Including plenty of varied fruits and vegetables as well as non-processed foods is key to brain health. Ensuring appropriate hydration is also essential for brain function and overall health. IQRx works with our Juice Plus partners in improving nutrition and a healthy lifestyle (mdevarona.juiceplus.com). IQRx counts with support of a licensed nutritionist for additional consultations when needed.
Exercise: Physical exercise is also effective to manage some symptoms and overall brain health. Exercise has been found to reduce brain cell loss, reduce risk of depression and anxiety, and help you sleep better. Exercising regularly increases blood flow therefore achieving better brain oxygenation. Children should exercise 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous exercise including bone and muscle training at least 3 days a week. Adults should exercise at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or 75 of vigorous exercise) and muscle strengthening twice a week.
Sleep Habits: Getting the proper amount of sleep is known to optimize mental functioning. While sleeping, the brain is regenerating neurons and consolidating memory. There are tables to offer guidance as to how much sleep is needed per age. In general, preschoolers (3 - 5 years old) require 10 - 13 hours a day including naps. Elementary students (6 - 12 years old) need 9 - 12 hours a day. Teenagers (13 - 18) need 8 - 10 hours a day and adults (> 18 years old) require at least 7 hours a day. There are natural ways to ensure proper sleep health such as using aromatherapy, essential oils, specific teas, white noise, ensuring no electronics are emitting light, removing mobile phones and other electronics from the room or not keeping them nearby, using melatonin.
Protecting the Brain: Wear helmets when riding bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds, horses, etc., and when playing contact sports like football or rugby. Protect the brain from chemical contaminants in the environment as well as in food or by avoiding drugs, cigarette, and alcohol consumption.
Brain Training: Cognitive skills training attacks the root causes of symptoms by strengthening weak cognitive skills.
Cognitive skills training treats the causes of learning and execution struggles to help children, teens, and adults excel in school, sports, the workplace, and extracurricular activities (like sports, music, art, and dance).
IQRx Cognitive Training Programs Include:
BrainRx cognitive skills training, post-TBI, can dramatically improve cognitive skills and greatly reduce or eliminate cognition problems with concentration, attention, memory, processing speed and visual and auditory processing.
"People with brain injuries—whether the injury was sustained during an accident, illness, or while playing sports—also see great results from brain training. People with brain injuries commonly struggle with thinking, memory, reasoning, and focus—all of which are strengthened by our programs." - BrainRx
The Dana Foundation
Brain Injury Resource Center
— BrainRx Student