Brain Injuries

Acquired Brain Injury
An acquired brain injury is an injury to brain cells that occurs after birth. It can be due to various causes and depending on where the damage is located, one or more processes will be affected. Also, a developing brain (children) would not be affected as would that of a fully developed brain (adults).


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):
Clinical profile characterized by direct injury to the cranial structures, brain or meninges due to external traumatic force (contusion, penetrating injury or acceleration-deceleration forces).

These may affect the brain in different ways:

– By direct injury.
– When cerebral blood flow is interrupted.
– Causing bleeding and bruising.
– Causing inflammation of the structures.
– Causing infection.
– Transformation of focal epileptogenic scars.

Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA):
CVA, also known as a stroke, deals with a clinical profile consisting of caused by pathological conditions of the blood vessels that cause damage to any area of the brain, resulting in various deficits depending on the area affected.

Two types exist:

ISCHEMIC STROKE: when the flow of blood to the brain tissue is decreased or interrupted. There are various causes below:
– Thrombosis: formation of blood clots within the blood vessel walls which cause blockage.
– Embolism: a clot, air bubble or fat, or any other formation of material that blocks a blood vessel after being transported through the bloodstream.
– Arteriosclerosis: hardening of the arteries.
– Vasculitis: inflammation of the blood vessels.
HEMORRHAGIC STROKE: when a blood vessel ruptures causing bleeding into the surrounding areas of the brain which cannot be adequately filtered.
Read more about Stroke

Brain Tumors:
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells within the skull. As this is a tight space, abnormal growth of tissue causes pressure on the brain affecting its proper functioning.

Brain tumors are classified into two types:

– Benign: cells similar to normal cells which grow slowly and are located in a determined area.
– Malignant: cells different from normal cells, that grow rapidly and are easily spread to other areas.

Cerebral Anoxia:
This is a situation in which there is a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain. The brain is extremely sensitive even to a brief decrease of oxygen, so that a complete lack of oxygen over 5 minutes or a reduced oxygen supply for 15 minutes can cause permanent brain damage.

Some causes are drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning (smoke inhalation), strangulation, pulmonary embolism, overdose, myocardial infarction, anaphylactic shock and respiratory failure associated with pneumonia or a prolonged epileptic status (persistent seizure).


Infections:
Infections are caused by an invasion of microbial pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites) and the reaction of the tissue to their presence and the toxins they produce.

The most prominent are:

– AIDS Dementia Complex.
– Citomegalovirus.
– Herpes Simplex.
– Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.
– Neurosiphilis.
– Neurotuberculosis, tuberculous meningoencephalitis.
– Cerebral toxoplasmosis.
– Malaria.
– Bovine spongiform encephalopathy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Stroke

Cerebrovascular accident (CVA)
Also known as stroke, 78% of patients with acquired brain injury are victims of a cerebrovascular accident. A stroke is a symptom complex caused by a pathological condition of the blood vessels that damage an area of the brain, resulting in various deficits depending on which area of the brain is injured.

There are two types of stroke:
1. ISCHEMIC STROKE: a restriction or interruption of blood supply to brain tissues. It may be caused by:
Thrombosis a blood clot forms inside the wall of a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood.
Embolism: a blood clot, air bubble, fat globule or any other material travels through the bloodstream, becomes lodged, and obstructs a blood vessel.
Arteriosclerosis: hardening of the arteries.
Vasculitis: inflammation of the blood vessels.

2. HEMORRHAGIC STROKE: a rupturing of a blood vessel, causing bleeding into the surrounding brain.
Risk factors for stroke include age, family history, ethnic background, and gender. But there are other factors that raise the risk of having a stroke. These factors include:

Health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and high blood cholesterol.
Consumption of toxic substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as a sedentary lifestyle.
A stroke usually happens suddenly, causing brain damage within a few minutes, although less frequently, patients may worsen with the passage of hours or even days.

Some stroke prevention strategies recommended by the Sociedad Española de Neurología (Spanish Society of Neurology) involve healthy habits such as following a nutrient-rich healthy, exercising regularly, quitting tobacco use, drinking alcohol in moderation, and controlling high blood pressure regularly.