Brain Injury Fact & Figures

What is Brain Injury?

An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is any type of damage to the brain acquired after birth.

ABIs are classified as either:

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of such an injury may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. A TBI can result in short or long-term problems with independent function.

How many people have TBI?

Of the 1.7 million who sustain a TBI each year in the United States:

  • 52,000 die
  • 275,000 are hospitalized
  • 1.36 million are treated and released from an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown

The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown.

What causes TBI?

The leading causes of TBI are:

  • Falls (35.2%)
  • Motor vehicle-traffic crashes (17.3%)
  • Struck by/against (16.5%)
  • Assaults (10%)

Blasts are a leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in war zones.

Who is at highest risk for TBI?

 

  • Males are about 1.5 times as likely as females to sustain a TBI.
  • The two age groups at highest risk for TBI are 0 to 4 year olds and 15 to 19 year olds.
  • Certain military duties (e.g., paratrooper) increase the risk of sustaining a TBI.
  • African Americans have the highest death rate from TBI.

 

What are the costs of TBI?

Direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity of TBI totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in 1995.

What are the long-term consequences of TBI?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6 million Americans currently have a long-term or lifelong need for help to perform activities of daily living as a result of a TBI.

According to one study, about 40% of those hospitalized with a TBI had at least one unmet need for services one year after their injury. The most frequent unmet needs were:

  • Improving memory and problem solving
  • Managing stress and emotional upsets
  • Controlling one’s temper
  • Improving one’s job skills

TBI can cause a wide range of functional changes affecting thinking, language, learning, emotions, behavior, and/or sensation. It can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders that become more prevalent with age.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury, often referred to as TBI, is most often an acute event similar to other injuries. That is where the similarity between traumatic brain injury and other injuries ends. One moment the person is normal and the next moment life has abruptly changed.

In most other aspects, a traumatic brain injury is very different. Since our brain defines who we are, the consequences of a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality. A brain injury is different from a broken limb or punctured lung. An injury in these areas limit the use of a specific part of your body, but your personality and mental abilities remain unchanged. Most often, these body structures heal and regain their previous function.

Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries. Recovery is a functional recovery, based on mechanisms that remain uncertain. No two brain injuries are alike and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Symptoms may appear right away or may not be present for days or weeks after the injury.

One of the consequences of brain injury is that the person often does not realize that a brain injury has occurred.

*Neurofeedback is a proven treatment for Traumatic Brain Injur.  The brain is able to change its own function as well is its structure based on feedback on its own behavior.

Boulder Neurofeedback is a service provider for the Denver Options TBI fund, a Colorado State funded program to assist those with brain injuries recover.

 

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