Brain Injury ~ Domenico Pratico, MD, FCPP

brain injury
Understanding Brain Injury:
Causes, Types, and Impacts Brain injuries are more common than many realize. In fact, current studies reveal that in the United States, someone sustains a brain injury every nine seconds. In some countries, brain injury is the leading cause of death or disability among individuals under 40. These injuries, often termed acquired brain injuries, encompass all types that occur after birth and are neither hereditary, congenital, nor degenerative.
Types of Acquired Brain Injury Acquired brain injuries are broadly categorized into two types:
1. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): These result from external forces such as a blow, shaking, or rotational injury to the head.
2. Non-Traumatic Brain Injury (Non-TBI): These occur due to internal factors like strokes, tumors, blood clots, toxic exposures, infections, metabolic disorders, neurotoxic poisoning, and oxygen deprivation to the brain.
Classifications and Symptoms of TBI

Traumatic brain injuries vary in severity and are classified as mild, moderate, or severe:
Mild TBI: Commonly known as a concussion, this is the most frequent type and can lead to post-concussion syndrome if symptoms persist.
Moderate to Severe TBI: These injuries come with more serious complications and symptoms, which may include loss of consciousness, amnesia, memory lapses, and abnormal brain imaging results. The severity is often measured by the duration of these symptoms, ranging from 30 minutes to over a week.
Signs and Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Initial signs of a serious TBI can include:
– Loss of consciousness
– Post-injury amnesia
– Memory lapses
– Abnormal brain imaging

For moderate to severe TBIs, symptoms can manifest immediately or develop over time, and may include:
– Headaches and migraines
– Dizziness and vertigo
– Sensitivity to light and sound
– Seizures – Chronic pain
Understanding Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
Among non-TBI brain injuries, strokes are the most common and a leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 in 20 deaths. Recognizing and treating strokes early is crucial for optimal outcomes. Risk factors for stroke include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. Other non-TBI causes, such as congenital conditions, brain tumors, or infections like meningitis, can be more unpredictable, affecting even healthy individuals.
Key Points to Remember About Brain Injuries
1. Uniqueness of Each Injury: No two brain injuries are identical. 2. Complex Effects**: The impacts of brain injury are complex and highly individual.
3. Influence of Various Factors: The effects depend on the injury’s cause, location in the brain, and severity.
Final Thoughts
Understanding brain injuries, their causes, types, and effects is crucial for proper management and treatment. Whether traumatic or non-traumatic, each brain injury is unique, and the path to recovery varies for each individual.
Domenico Praticò, MD, is the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer’s Research, Professor and Director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple, and Professor of Pharmacology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
You can find out more information on Dr. Domenico Pratico’s research papers here.
Follow Dr Domenico Pratico‘s lab website here: Pratico Lab