What is Brain Injury?

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI):Is an injury to the brain which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative.An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth.  Causes of ABI include external forces applied to the head and/or neck (traumatic brain injury (TBI)), anoxic/hypoxic injury (e.g., cardiopulmonary arrest, carbon monoxide poisoning, airway obstruction, hemorrhage), intracranial surgery,  vascular disruption, infectious diseases, intracranial neoplasms, metabolic disorder, seizure disorders and toxic exposure.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Is an insult to brain, not of a degenerative or congenital nature, caused by an external physical force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, which results in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning.  It also can result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.

Common Causes Traumatic Brain Injury--motor vehicle crashes, assaults, falls, 

sports/recreational injuries, pedestrian injuries and bicycle/motorcycle crashes.

  • Disease--benign and malignant tumors, encephalitis, meningitis.  Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA or Stroke): atherosclerosis, arteriovenous malformation, aneurysm.
  • Anoxic Event--near drowning, electrical shock, drug overdose, kidney/heart failure, industrial/chemical exposure, injury subsequent to TBI/CVA.
  • Acquired Brain Disorder (ABD)---ABD is a broader category, which includes neurological disorders as well as acquired brain injury. They may each result in trauma or disruption to the brain and nervous system from a variety of sources.

What are Some Long Term Consequences? Common long-term consequences of brain injury may include:   

  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Problems in arousal, attention, and concentration
  • Problems with judgment
  • Difficulty with speech or language comprehension
  • Decreased motor abilities
  • Visual impairments
  • Sensory loss or impairment
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Sexual dysfunction

Persons who survive brain injuries often find that things will never be the same. Many rehabilitation and treatment programs can help persons with brain injury rebuild their lives and achieve greater independence. With the help of family, friends and professionals, many survivors of brain injury in New Hampshire have increased their quality of life by utilizing strategies and support systems to compensate for the difficulties presented by the injury.