Understanding the causes and effects of brain injury

For twenty-four years, the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota has worked to enhance the lives of those living with the […]

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For twenty-four years, the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota has worked to enhance the lives of those living with the effects of brain injury through advocacy, support and empowerment. When the brain is injured, an individual can undergo a seemingly infinite variety of changes: physical, cognitive, emotional and functional. Each brain injury is unique to the person living with it and affects not only the person who sustained the injury but everyone that person comes in contact with throughout their daily life. Whether family, friends, employees, customers or professionals, brain injury touches everyone.

Because of this, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has proclaimed March as Brain Injury Awareness Month. Understanding the causes and effects of brain injury helps build bridges of awareness between the estimated 100,000 Minnesotans living with brain injury and the community at large. This awareness allows for smoother transitioning of people with a brain injury back into public life.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when an outside force results in a disruption of the brain’s normal functioning. This can be the result of a sudden starting or stopping, as in whiplash, the head being struck, as in a fall, or an object piercing the brain. Today, falls are the leading cause of brain injury in Minnesota, with motor vehicle accidents taking a close second.

Brain injury can result in a wide variety of physical and cognitive changes including reduced memory skills, an alteration of self-perception and a decrease in judgment. Hearing, vision or speech may be impaired. Fatigue may also increase, as well as anxiety, an inability to suppress impulses, decreased self-esteem and difficulty relating to others.

Because the results of a brain injury can be so widespread, a support network is a must for all people affected. The Brain Injury Association of Minnesota exists to help build that support network. The Association reaches out to individuals as soon as they leave the hospital, providing them and their loved ones with one-on-one support through resource facilitation and educational opportunities, and helps them develop the skills to become self-advocates.

The brain, unlike a bone or a muscle, cannot grow new cells to replace damaged tissue. In some cases, however, it can be rehabilitated or taught to relearn functions lost from the injury. The Association works to cultivate a world where people with brain injury are able to realize their full potential.

For more info, please contact the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota at 800-669-6442 or online at info@braininjurymn.org

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