Types Of Brain Damage

Written by Shirley Parker
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Brain damage can be classified in several ways, perhaps the most obvious being temporary or permanent. However, most head injuries don't cause permanent damage, although there can be long-term symptoms for some patients. Within the temporary and permanent labels, brain damage can also be classified as mild, moderate or severe. This can affect the amount of compensation that may be awarded in accident cases.

Recently, researchers have begun to realize that not all brain damage occurs within a few hours or days of traumatic brain injury, lack of oxygen, drug overdose, or acute illness. Damage may still be occurring as much as a week or two weeks, or even two months later. Since the apparent type of brain damage may change into something more serious, a patient's prognosis for recovery may also be re-evaluated.

Brain damage can be classified by what caused it: the various types of traumatic injury--concussion, contusion, skull fracture or hematoma--as well as stroke, cardiac arrest, and so forth. Brain cells closest to the site of the injury or infection die first, but then cells deeper in the brain near the damaged area begin to die off. This is thought to happen in response to that interrupted oxygen and glucose supply. This might be one reason why patients who seem to be normal and recovering well, suddenly take a turn for the worse.

Unexpected Recoveries

Brain insult from near-drowning or toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, is diffused throughout the brain. When this has happened, damage can be widespread. However, the brain does have cells in a number of regions that can learn to take over the work of missing cells, and unexpected recoveries do happen. Doctors are as surprised and pleased as anyone else when they do, not to mention the excitement of the rehab team. But it's in the nature of most doctors to be cautious, so they are.


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