Traumatic Brain Injury

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2010 2.5 million TBIs occurred either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI 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.

The Centers for Disease Control’s research and programs work to prevent TBI and help people better recognize, respond, and recover if a TBI occurs.

Risk Factors 

Among TBI-related deaths in 2006–2010:

  •  Men were nearly three times as likely to die as women.

  • Rates were highest for persons 65 years and older.

  • The leading cause of TBI-related death varied by age.

  •  Falls were the leading cause of death for persons 65 years or older.

  •   Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause for children and young adults ages 5-24 years.

  •  Assaults were the leading cause for children ages 0-4.

  • Among non-fatal TBI-related injuries for 2006–2010:

  • Men had higher rates of TBI hospitalizations and ED visits than women.

  • Hospitalization rates were highest among persons aged 65 years and older.

  • Rates of ED visits were highest for children aged 0-4 years.

  •  Falls were the leading cause of TBI-related ED visits for all but one age group.

  •  Assaults were the leading cause of TBI-related ED visits for persons 15 to 24 years of age.

  • The leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations varied by age:

  • Falls were the leading cause among children ages 0-14 and adults 45 years and older.

  • Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of hospitalizations for adolescents and persons ages 15-44 years.

Overview

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30% of all injury deaths. Every day, 138 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI.  Those who survive a TBI can face effects lasting a few days to disabilities which may last the rest of their lives.  Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression).  These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities.

What is TBI?

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury).  Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.

Potential Effects of Severe TBI

A non-fatal severe TBI may result in an extended period of unconsciousness (coma) or amnesia after the injury. For individuals hospitalized after a TBI, almost half (43%) have a related disability one year after the injury.10 A TBI may lead to a wide range of short- or long-term issues affecting:

  •      Cognitive Function (e.g., attention and memory)

  •      Motor function (e.g., extremity weakness, impaired coordination and balance)

  •      Sensation (e.g., hearing, vision, impaired perception and touch)

  •      Emotion (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression, impulse control, personality changes)

Approximately 5.3 million Americans are living with a TBI-related disability and the consequences of severe TBI can affect all aspects of an individual’s life.11 This can include relationships with family and friends, as well as their ability to work or be employed, do household tasks, drive, and/or participate in other activities of daily living.

Get in Touch

(586) 270-4010

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