In the face of traumatic brain injury, brain cancer, infection or stroke the brain takes measures to protect itself the best it can. When the injured area begins to swell there can be a loss of some function until the swelling goes down. If damage is more than swelling the brain tries to reconnect by circumventing the damaged area and forming new connections around it that often can pick up the functions of the damaged areas.
It is frightening to think that you may not be able to remember the people you love, or events that happened just a few minutes ago. Our memories are an important part of our being, and when we lose that function we are at a loss.
Sometimes our memories may remain intact, but our ability to utilize our limbs may be hampered. The brain is central to our body functions, but it is fragile and susceptible to all types of onslaughts.
Does a brain injury have to lead to permanent damage? That may depend on the severity of the damage, where the damage is located, and especially the patient’s attitude during recovery. Attitude is everything!
Concussions or other mild brain injuries occur because the brain is bounced around in the skull. The same is true of shaken baby syndrome. This could cause tears and bleeding, and does not usually result in permanent damage or disabilities and recovery is usually swift — although there are indications that years later the effects from the injury could surface.
Extensive damage can be the result of more severe brain injuries, and more areas of the brain may be involved. Surgery may be required to relieve pressure build up of blood or from swelling in the brain. Severe brain injury may result in irreversible damage.
Rehabilitation and therapy can help many people to get back their functions, although the process may be slow and painful. If neurons are damaged or lost, they will not be able to grow back, but they may be able to be rerouted.
Brain plasticity — the ability for the brain to make new connections, is being heavily researched and tried on patients, with a good amount of success. The neuro-connections can be redirected between the neurons (synapses), and new connections can be made that could reverse the effects. It also may be possible that other areas of the brain, not originally involved with specific functions, can take over the tasks of the damaged areas and the patient can relearn by using these new connections.
People like Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford surprise doctors all the time with their ability to recover from brain damage. Gifford was shot in the head at a political rally in 2010 and 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.
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker. He speaks at seminars and to large groups all over the world on how to improve memory, speed-reading and memory techniques. In addition, his website BrainAthlete.com sells CDs and programs to improve memory skills and advise for success.
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 — 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/