Archive for July, 2011

The cost of brain injury

Posted on: July 20th, 2011 by CORE Health Care Admin No Comments

According to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, about 1.7 million people have a traumatic brain injury each year. That’s up from 1.4 per year in 2004. This number is suspected to be low because it doesn’t include traumatic brain injuries that are treated during doctor’s office visits or in outpatient settings. There are also hundreds of thousands of people who experience a mild or moderate traumatic brain injury (in many cases from playing a sport) and don’t go to the doctor.

Of these 1.7 million people, 52,000 die and 275,000 are hospitalized. Traumatic brain injury contributes to about 30 percent of all injury-related deaths in the United States.

People serving in the military – in both combat and non-combat roles – have a much higher risk of traumatic brain injury. A 2003 study reported that 23 percent of non-combat active-duty soldiers at Fort Bragg had sustained a traumatic brain injury during military service. More recent reports suggest that as many as 20 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have some type of traumatic brain injury. (more…)

The incredible, adaptable brain

Posted on: July 15th, 2011 by CORE Health Care Admin No Comments

How many of you had a plastic brain as a kid? I did and I loved taking it apart to see the different structures. I’m betting the toymakers didn’t know how prophetic their creations were.

In the 1960s, scientists discovered that the human brain can produce new cells no matter how old it is. This idea is called “neuroplasticity,” meaning the brain is capable of modifying and changing itself by creating new cells and networks.

When first announced, no one really paid much attention because most experts believe that the brain finished developing early in life. In other words, our brains were hardwired and treatments could only compensate for damage to the brain, not repair it. So patients with severe traumatic brain injuries many times were allowed to die because it was assumed that their quality of life would always be horrible.

But once doctors realized the importance of the discovery, it opened doors for new treatments for traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses that affect the brain’s ability to function. Doing rehabilitation exercises to relearn basic skills may allow a traumatically injured brain to form new neural pathways. These new connections may allow the person to walk or talk or think rationally again. (more…)