Of all of the possible injuries incurred by the human body, injuries to the brain can be some of the most dangerous and ultimately consequential. This is because the brain is the control center of the entire rest of the body. Much like a computer, everything from heart beat to immune function is run by the brain.
The causes of brain trauma can be quite diverse. A typical hospital emergency room may see many of these causes regularly. Sometimes the injuries are sport-derived. Other times, a motor vehicle accident or even a fluke slip and fall may be the cause. Regardless of the cause though, the results can be extreme.
In adults, a concussive or traumatic event may cause brain hemorrhaging. Cerebral Hemorrhage, or ICH, is actually bleeding taking place within or on the brain itself. In addition to bleeding, the brain may have the tendency to swell greatly. This swelling, or Cerebral Edema, can also cause extra danger and damage in not controlled.
In severe cases where such bleeding and swelling has taken place, often intrusive surgical measures are immediately required to counteract the problems. One example of surgical intervention is the hemicraniectomy. This procedure involves removing a section of the skull so that further swelling can take place with less constraint, and therefore less associated long-term damage.
In long-term damage, the results can be extremely varied. In some cases, patients have experienced remarkable recovery with few long-term effects. In other cases, long term ailments abound. These include but are not limited to coma, seizures, loss of senses, loss of motor skills, loss of speech, memory loss, and other debilitating handicaps.
Child Brain Trauma
In children however, medical science is finding that concussions and brain damage are even more detrimental and potentially damaging than any older age group. Even though much about the brain is still being discovered, this is believed to be the case because a child’s brain and surrounding structure is less developed and much less resilient to damage. Resulting damage can therefore much more impactful because the child’s brain is still in a state of development.
According to Dr. Spencer Richards of Intermountain Healthcare, brain damage in youth leads to much higher rates of adverse long-term effects. In fact, it is believed that the child’s brain fits much tighter inside of its skull than adults, thus creating much greater likelihood of severe damage and brain tissue death in children with brain injuries. More information can be found at http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10362&page=7 .
Prevention Where Possible – Key
Knowing how much more susceptible children are has lead to a larger public movement toward prevention. Youth football leagues are applying more rules to prevent head trauma. Some soccer leagues have prohibited age-old “heading” moves, which use the head to hit the ball. Helmets have become more popular and even legally necessary in many areas, with applied association to many activities – think safety first.
The brain is the most crucial organ of the body, controlling all others. In children it is also much more susceptible to damage and long-term adverse effects. If you are a parent or childcare provider, it is important to be aware of this information and apply safety consciousness where any risks may be present. Your child’s entire future may depend on it.