2014-03-14 / Community Events

Effects of mild traumatic brain injury

By Dr. Aparna Vijayan
Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center

Traumatic Brain Injuries can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, assaults, falls, bicycle accidents, sport injuries as well as exposure to improvised explosive device explosions.

Blast injuries are the most common cause of mild traumatic brain injury or mild TBI, in Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Someone doesn’t have to lose consciousness when they suffer a mild TBI, there can be a feeling of being dazed or seeing stars but in some cases it can involve a very brief loss of consciousness which can last for a few seconds to a few minutes, but is typically less than 30 minutes.

Following a mild TBI, someone may experience cognitive challenges or deficits such as difficulty concentrating, memory problems, perceptual problems, lack of initiation, lack of comprehension, difficulty with word finding for expression of thoughts and ideas, sequencing, slowed responses, disorganization and difficulty with problem solving.

The individual may also experience challenges with learning new information, reduced speed of processing information, planning and organization as well as multi-tasking.

Problems in these areas may lead to decreased participation in leisure and recreational activities and difficulty with social and vocational interactions.

Fortunately, the brain is a resilient organ, and individuals who have sustained a mild TBI are likely to return to their normal abilities within two to 12 weeks after the injury.

For some, the issues may persist for longer causing headaches, pain issues, mood or sleep disturbances and a speech therapist or occupational therapist can provide strategies and resources to help improve the cognitive abilities after injury.

It is important for someone who had sustained a mild TBI to seek medical help to address any changes in their physical, emotional and cognitive abilities.

The treatment of mild TBI requires a team effort since it can impact the individuals physically, emotionally and cognitively and the TBI Clinic at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Center, treats Soldiers and family members who have sustained a mild concussion.

The TBI Clinic utilizes a multidisciplinary team including a physiatrist, neurologist, psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, recreational therapist and a social worker, who provide a wellcoordinated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary and individualized treatment plan to every one of our patients.

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