No one wants to think of what would happen to him or her if they were injured and sustained brain damage from infection, disease, accident or stroke. It is scary to think that we may not be able to remember people and events in our past, speak or connect thoughts, or utilize some of our limbs like we did before.
The brain is extremely fragile, and susceptible to all kinds of damage. Even though it is cushioned somewhat by our skull, so many things can happen to cause damage â€“ like concussions from sports or an accident, or a high fever that causes swelling. If causes us to ask the question, does a brain injury have to lead to permanent damage?
There are all sorts of types of brain damage. How each individual is affected would depend on the severity of the damage, where it is located, and the personâ€™s attitude during recovery.
Mild brain injuries, such as a concussion, occur usually because the brain is bounced around in the skull. This often causes tearing and bleeding to occur. This type of injury usually does not result in permanent damage or disability. The brain is able to recover fairly quickly from this.
More severe brain injuries are the result of extensive damage that can occur in more than one area of the brain. Surgery may be required to relieve the pressure from build up of blood or from swelling in the brain. Severe brain injury may result in irreversible damage.
Many people who sustain brain injury may have permanent disability, but are able to recover some portion of their abilities, through rehabilitation and therapy. If the neurons are damaged or lost, they will not be able to grow back â€“ however the connections can be redirected between the neurons (synapses), and new connections can be made that could reverse the effects. Sometimes areas of the brain that were not originally involved with certain functions can take over the task, and the patient can relearn using these new connections.
So much new research is being developed and tried that can help a person with brain damage to regain their functions by rerouting their connections. Brain plasticity â€“ the ability for the brain to make new connections, is being heavily researched and tried on patients, with a good amount of success.
People surprise doctors all the time with their ability to recover from brain damage. A good case in point is Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, shot in the head at a political rally in 2010. Gifford has made exceptional strides in her recovery, despite a bleak outlook at the beginning. Her recovery was due in a large part to her support system and her inborn ability to look on the bright side. Much of recovery is done through determination and mental strength as much as medical breakthroughs. Miracles happen every day, and not all brain damage is permanent.
Voice of America – Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford Shot at Public Event: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/US-Lawmaker-Shot-in-Arizona-113135089.html
Discovery, Fit & Health â€“ Brain Damage Is Always Permanent: http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/nervous-system/10-brain-myths7.htm
The Brain Injury Recovery Network: http://www.tbirecovery.org/