While U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recent transportation to a rehabilitative facility two weeks after a gunshot wound to the head is nothing short of miraculous, victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) know that recovery can be long and often unpredictable.
A TBI is a brain injury that causes significant trauma to any part of the brain. Symptoms of a brain injury include memory loss, vision problems, anger, reduced extremity function and a wide variety of other complications.
Depending on the location of the trauma, the severity of a TBI can vary greatly, leading to large differences in the level of recovery that can be achieved by the victim. While a gunshot wound or a hard football hit are two ways that a person can experience a TBI, car accidents also cause brain injuries.
That's because the violent motion during a car accident, where the victim is propelled forward rapidly, only to be shocked backward by the force of a seatbelt, can cause a significant brain injury. Front-end accidents, rear-end crashes and even low impact collisions can cause a debilitating brain injury for the accident victim.
Medical advancements in the study of brain injuries and recovery have made great strides in recent years. From sophisticated brain imaging scans to technologies that allow doctors to stimulate different areas of the brain to determine the location of the injury, researchers and doctors are better equipped to handle brain injuries, regardless of how the injury occurred.
However, there are still many unknowns about brain injuries. Doctors continue to experience challenges in predicting the ability of a brain injury victim to recover. In some cases, victims who experience minimal trauma may never fully recover, whereas victims involved in serious trauma accidents may rapidly return to normal life.
Source: MyHealthNewsDaily (online), "Brain Injuries: Solving the Puzzle of Uncertain Recoveries," 21 Jan 2011