TBIs, neurodegenerative diseases impact brain function

By Karen Hales, Neurology Solutions Contributing Writer

This week is Brain Awareness Week, a global celebration launched by The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to bring attention to brain science advances and advocate for science funding. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS start in different parts of the brain causing neurons to deteriorate, malfunction and die. Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a major cause of death and disability in the United States, is the result of a blow or jolt to the head that causes inflammation disrupting the normal function of the brain. Finding treatments to halt or reverse neurodegenerative diseases and brain injury is the ultimate goal of much brain research.

An estimated 2.5 million people suffer a TBI each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and these injuries can have wide-ranging effects. From 2006–2010, falls were the leading cause of TBI, accounting for 40% of all TBIs in the United States that resulted in an Emergency Room visit, hospitalization, or death.

Falls disproportionately affect the youngest and oldest age groups. During the same period, unintentional blunt trauma accounted for 15% of TBIs. Falls and being struck or striking an object frequently occur during sporting activities, and in recent years an extensive campaign has been developed alerting parents and athletes to the potential for these injuries and how to prevent and identify them.

Neurology Solutions Movement Disorders Center, in practice since 2004, treats a wide range of movement disorders and conditions, including managing the effects of TBI. Below are a list of of resources on TBI education.

Concussion in Sports

The issue of traumatic brain injury (TBI) has gained increasing awareness with reports of professional and youth athletes suffering from injuries due to concussions. This pamphlet from the American College of Sports Medicine provides information on what may cause a concussion and symptoms to look out for.

Keep Your Head About You – And Keep Your Kid from Losing Theirs

This resource provides a wealth of information on the impact of traumatic brain injuries on youth and professional athletes, as well as a call to action on how to make contact sports safer for everyone.

Living with Brain Injury

This guide on living with brain injury from the Brain Injury Association of America discusses what functions of the brain are impacted by TBI.

Family Caregiving for Traumatic Brain Injury

The Family Caregiver Alliance provides information on resources and services for families affected by TBI as well as a fact sheet on Taking Care of You: A Self-Care Guide for Family Caregivers.

Concussion Toolkit for Parents, Players and Coaches

The Concussion Awareness Training Tool provides a wealth of information on how to provide support to children who have suffered a concussion.

HEADS UP to Youth Sports Online Training

This online course from the CDC offers student athletes, parents, coaches and educators the opportunity to learn a broad range of TBI topics, including how to prevent and respond to traumatic brain injuries.

Neurology Solutions’ on-site physical therapy center, Austin Renewal Therapy, provides therapeutic treatments including physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy for patients with TBI and neurodegenerative diseases such as PD.

If you are looking for a diagnosis or seeking another opinion on managing your condition, call call 512-865-6310 to make an appointment with Neurology Solutions. You can stay informed by frequenting Neurology Solutions’ blog, or join Neurology Solutions Movement Disorders Center’s e-mail list to stay up to date on the latest in treatments and resources available.