One out of 500 Americans suffers from a traumatic brain injury ("TBI") each year. "Brain injury" refers to a wide spectrum of brain injuries with most falling toward one end of the spectrum or the other. An injury is readily apparent in cases of severe traumatic brain injury ("STBI"); however, an injury is not so readily apparent in cases of mild traumatic brain injury ("MTBI").
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Mild brain injuries are often referred to as "invisible injuries." The neuropathology of such injuries occur at microscopic cellular injuries below the threshold standard of standard neuroradiologic procedures such as CT or MRI. Most victims of MTBI suffer other physical injuries which are more apparent and require immediate medical attention. With the focus of medical care upon obvious physical injuries, MTBI may not be accurately detected, diagnosed or treated.
Victims of mild traumatic brain injuries may not realize subtle changes apparent to family members, friends or co-workers. These changes may appear as irritability, low frustration levels, concentration problems and forgetfulness. Victims of MTBI also frequently suffer from secondary anxiety, depression, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomology which also obscure an underlying mild traumatic brain injury.
If you recognize the subtle changes discussed above in a friend or loved one who has potentially suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, it is important that the changes be brought to the attention of medical care providers to facilitate a thorough analysis of the potential causes of such changes and hopefully successful treatment.