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About Brain Injuries

The Brain Injury Association of New Jersey states that:
The Brain Controls Everything

The brain controls everything we say, do, think, and feel.  It controls the very functions that keep us alive: breathing, circulation, digestion, hormones, and the immune system.  It is through the brain that we experience emotion and express ourselves. 

“Weighing less than sixteen hundred grams  (three pounds), the Picture of the Brainhuman brain in its natural state resembles nothing so much as a soft, wrinkled walnut.  Yet despite this inauspicious appearance, the human brain can store more information than all the libraries in the world.  It is also responsible for our most primitive urges, our loftiest ideals, the way we think, even the reason why, on some occasions, we sometimes don’t think, but act instead.”

The Brain by Richard Restak, M.D.

Definitions and Causes

A brain injury refers to an injury in which an insult to the brain causes damage to the brain.  Because of the fact that each injury does damage to a different part of the brain, each brain injury is unique.
Brain injuries are often described as either traumatic or acquired based on the cause of the injury. 

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has developed the following definitions:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an insult to the brain, not of a degenerative or congenital nature, which is caused by an external physical force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, and which results in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.

Traumatic brain injuries occur during everyday activities, including falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults, and sports injuries, including concussions.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative.

Acquired brain injuries are caused by some medical conditions, including strokes, encephalitis, aneurysms, anoxia (lack of oxygen during surgery, drug overdose, or near drowning), metabolic disorders, meningitis, or brain tumors.

Although the causes of brain injury differ, the effects of these injuries on a person’s life are quite similar.

Results of a brain injury

Whatever the cause, a brain injury can, according to the Brain Injury Association of America, result in “an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.” Cognitive consequences can include memory loss, slowed ability to process information, trouble concentrating, organizational problems, poor judgment and difficulty initiating activities. Physical consequences can include seizures, muscle spasticity, fatigue, headaches and balance problems. Emotional/behavioral consequences can include depression, mood swings, anxiety, impulsivity and agitation.

Brain injury affects not only the individual, but also the family, close friends, coworkers and other social networks of the individual. Roles and relationships change; the financial ramifications may be extensive.

The silent epidemic

Brain injury is called the “silent epidemic” because public recognition of brain injury is extremely low despite the staggering number of people who are injured each year. 

The effects of brain injury are often invisible to an unknowing observer.  Likewise, the visible effects of brain injury—such as physical impairment, behavioral issues, and even cognitive deficits—are often not properly attributed to brain injury. 

According to the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services’ Center for Health Statistics (2004):

  • TBI rates for males exceed those for females at all ages.
  • TBI rates rise sharply after age 65, primarily due to an increased incidence of falls.
  • Particularly among males, TBI rates increase during young adult years, when the incidence of transportation-related crashes is especially high. 

Reprinted from the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey

Serious Problem Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury

Persons with traumatic brain injuries are often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Although a concussion is a traumatic brain injury, there are many persons including some doctors who do not take it seriously as a traumatic brain injury. People suffering from traumatic brain injury cannot function to their normal capability in their jobs and many have their family lives disrupted or destroyed. Also, people who are involved in an automobile, bus, van or train accident have their problems severely compounded because of misdiagnoses of brain injury.

Of the 1.4 million TBI victims each year:
50,000 die;
235,000 are hospitalized; and
1.1 million are treated and then released from an emergency department


  • Motor vehicle-traffic  crashes

  • Falls

  • Struck by or against events

  • Assaults


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