Brain Injury Awareness Month

Brain Injury Patient at SLIThrough 2020, the Brain Injury Association of America’s campaign is Change Your Mind. And, since March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to also educate the community more about brain injuries.  

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by an external force such as a fall, assault, motor vehicle accident, sports injury, gunshot wound, child abuse, domestic violence, or blast. 

Non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by an internal force such as a stroke, infectious disease, seizures, tumors, poisoning, or drug overdose.

Brain injuries vary and they can be mild, moderate, or severe. 

Many body functions and systems, including visual, auditory, vestibular, and cognitive-communication, can be affected. 

Brain injury survivors frequently experience visual problems including difficulty with eye teaming, focusing, and/or tracking; sensitivity to light and glare, and reduced field of vision including peripheral vision loss. 

Auditory system damage can include hearing loss, especially certain sounds or under certain conditions, tinnitus, and noise sensitivity. 

Dizziness, vertigo and unsteadiness are caused by damage to the vestibular system, located in the inner ear and essential to normal movement and equilibrium. 

Cognitive-communication system damage can include difficulty organizing thoughts, speaking fluently, and memory lapses.      

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The best approach to brain injury is prevention! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the following safety tips can guard against a traumatic brain injury:

  • Always wear a seat belt when driving or travelling in a motor vehicle.
  • Seat children under 12-years-old in the backseat with the appropriate car seat or seat belt for their height, weight and age.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Wear the appropriate helmet for your sport, whether winter or summer, indoor or outdoor.
  • Implement safety features to prevent falls in the elderly.
  • Install window bars and stair safety gates to prevent falls among young children.
  • Ensure that playground surfaces are using shock-absorbing material such as hardwood mulch or sand.
To prevent non-traumatic brain injuries, the CDC recommends getting treatment for medical conditions that can cause stroke (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure); vaccinations; regular hand washing; and prompt medical care for infectious diseases that can cause brain injury (including meningitis, encephalitis, and Lyme Disease); and prompt treatment for seizures.  Finally, drug overdoses and exposure to toxins or poisons always require emergency action to prevent damage to the brain.

For more information on TBIs or to schedule an appointment, visit any Salus University Health clinical facility: The Eye Institute (TEI), the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI), or the Speech-Language Institute (SLI).
 
Take a listen to this week’s episode of Salus University’s “Health and Science Starts Here” podcast! SLI director, Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, discusses brain injury awareness and prevention.