Amnesia Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Amnesia Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

A lot of research dollar has been put into traumatic brain injury. While this research has started to bear fruit in the form of new diagnostic and treatment options, brain injuries are still too common. Some of the statistics regarding brain injuries which have been published by the Brain Injury Alliance include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries lead to lasting disabilities in more people every year than spinal cord injuries, HIV, breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis.
  • More than five million people in the United States currently need long-term care as a result of a traumatic brain injury.
  • In 2010, more than two million people visit health care providers, including hospital stays and ED visits, due to concerns for a traumatic brain injury.
  • Between 2001 and 2009, the rates of emergency departments visits by children due to concerns for a brain injury rose by more than 50 percent.

These numbers show that brain injuries are still a significant concern despite all of the new research. Even those who survive a brain injury often wind up with lasting medical complications.

How is a Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed?

Those who have been involved in a traumatic event, such as an auto accident, might have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Like any other injury, this diagnosis starts with a history and physical examination. The doctor will ask questions about:

  • The symptoms that someone is feeling, such as a headache or any loss of consciousness.
  • Any bleeding from the eyes, ears, or nose.
  • About orientation, such as the date, time, place, and purpose.
  • They will also test the motor and sensory function of the extremities.

If the doctor is still concerned that a traumatic brain injury might have occurred, they will order imaging tests. Examples of possible imaging include x-rays, CT scans, and even an MRI. This will look for any damage to the skull or brain tissue inside. There might be a bleed in the brain, a skull fracture, or evidence of a contusion. This could further help diagnose a traumatic brain injury.

What are the Complications that Might Develop?

When someone suffers a brain injury, numerous complications could develop. Examples of these complications include:

  • A possible bleed in the brain
  • A rise in the intracranial pressure
  • Possible cerebral herniation
  • An infection of the brain tissue itself
  • Early-onset dementia
  • Possible issues with memory called amnesia

All these complications are serious and could impact people’s ability to attend school, go to work, and provide for their family. When a loved one suffers from amnesia, this is no different. There are different types of amnesia, and people need to understand what they should look for.

Amnesia: Two Broad Categories of Memory Loss

Amnesia is the medical term used to describe memory loss. There are two different, broad categories of memory loss:

Anterograde Amnesia: Someone who suffers from anterograde amnesia has lost the ability to form new memories. They will still retain the old memories that they had before the accident occurring.

Retrograde Amnesia: When someone suffers from retrograde amnesia, this means that they have lost their old memories. They may have lost some of their memories while retaining others or they may have lost their memory completely. They still can form new memories.

It is important to note that someone could have a mixture between the two types and that memory issues could be intermittent. Regardless, it is important for anyone with persistent memory issues to seek medical care. There are treatment options that could help.

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Sacramento Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a traumatic brain injury lawyer in Sacramento. Amnesia following a traumatic brain injury can be stressful for the entire family. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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Image Attribution: The photo at the start of this article is seen in its original form on Unsplash. The image has been reproduced here with permission/Amnesia Following a Traumatic Brain Injury.

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