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Myths About TBI

The following article sets the record straight regarding five of the most common myths about traumatic brain injury.

Myth #1: During a traumatic brain injury, a person always losses consciousness.

Fact: A person can sustain a traumatic brain injury even if the traumatic force is not strong enough to cause a loss of consciousness. According to medical experts, patients who suffer mild traumatic brain injury often experience a very short period of lost consciousness-sometimes only seconds-and, in some cases, patients only experience a brief experience of dazed consciousness. Furthermore, research indicates that children are less likely than adults to experience loss of consciousness during a traumatic brain injury.

Myth #2: A person must strike their head to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

Fact: It is possible to suffer a traumatic brain injury in accident situations involving rapid acceleration or deceleration, even in the absence of traumatic contact with another object. When the body experiences rapid acceleration or deceleration, as in a car accident for instance, the force of the movement can cause the brain to forcefully strike the skull with enough force to cause a traumatic brain injury. This type of traumatic brain injury-called a coup contre coup-can cause damage to the area of impact, as well as the area opposite the impact area.

Myth #3: MRI, CT and EEG tests are 100% accurate in detecting traumatic brain injury.

Fact: While MRI, CT, and EEG scans are often able to detect or rule out a traumatic brain injury, it is possible that neuroimaging tests and produce a false negative. According to researchers, MRI often fails to indicate abnormalities in many patients with a history of mild brain injury. However, these patients may show clear indication of functional impairment through neuropsychological assessment.

Myth #4: The effects of traumatic brain injury are immediate.

Fact: It can take days or weeks for the effects of traumatic brain injury to manifest. This is important because some patients are discharged from a hospital within hours of a traumatic brain injury with doctors concluding that the effects of the accident were, in fact, milder than they actually were. According to neurology experts, it can take hours, days, or even weeks for the symptoms of TBI to become clear. Furthermore, many individuals with TBI attempt to resume their normal activities only to find that the environment puts high demands on them, which often reveals the effects of traumatic brain injury, such as trouble with concentration, memory, emotions, and more.

Myth #5: Children recover from traumatic brain injury faster and easier than adults.

Fact: Because a child's brain is still in development, it can take years to recognize the impairments caused by a traumatic brain injury. Furthermore, new research is showing that children younger than age five may experience more long-term challenges from TBI, compared to older children. This is troubling since the majority of traumatic brain injuries in children affect those under the age of ten.

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