How Mild Brain Injuries Occur
Injuries usually occur due to the rapid acceleration and deceleration of a victim’s body during an accident. Speeds do not have to be high to result in injury. In fact, injuries have been reported from accidents at speeds of only 8 miles per hour. However, the faster the car was going upon impact will likely increase the severity of the injury. As the accident occurs, a victim’s head will often move forward and back in rapid succession. What results is trauma within the skull.
The brain isn’t a fixed biological structure. It essentially floats in cerebral fluid and is composed of millions of soft fibers. It is delicate in nature and is extremely susceptible to injury when it shifts. Like any other object in the physical world, it follows Newton’s first law of motion: an object at rest stays at rest until manipulated by an external force. The brain stays safe and static in the skull until the forces of acceleration and deceleration affect it.
When a person experiences rapid acceleration and deceleration, the skull moves forward quickly. The brain, however, stays at rest. The mechanical force isn’t transferred to the brain until it hits the back of the skull, setting the brain tissue in motion mere microseconds after the skull has begun moving. This is when the injury occurs. As the head moves forward and back, the brain comes in contact with the rough interior of the skull that is meant to protect it.
The brain can be severely damaged when it comes in contact with the skull. The interior of the skull is often rough and uneven. The coarse bone can easily damage the brain tissue, straining the nerves and causing a plethora of complications. In more severe accidents, the brain can even rotate inside the skull.
Even if the force of an impact isn’t enough to cause the brain to hit the interior of the skull, injury can occur. Because the brain is soft with an elastic consistency, it is prone to squeezing and stretching. While it is resilient in nature, it is pliable enough to cause damage. Neural cells can tear when this occurs, affecting the brain’s ability to process information.
The effects of Mild Brain Injury
Victims will not always realize they are received a mild brain injury. The severity of the injury can vary tremendously. Many times, the repercussions can fluctuate; being more prominent on some days compared to others. However, victims will usually experience some of the following effects:
- Memory Issues
- Poor Concentration
- Loss of Consciousness
These issues are more evident immediately following an accident and can persist long after. They can even lead to more long lasting implications such as depression and excessive headaches. While they do not seem severe at first, the persistence of these effects can have an effect on daily life.
It can be quite difficult to diagnose mild brain injury. Initial screenings often don’t detect the problem. Modern neuroimaging devices, like CT Scans and MRIs, cannot detect the injury. Mild brain injury damages the white matter of the brain, which is not distinguishable on these devices. To truly diagnose, victims often need to take neuropsychological assessments. These tests will evaluate any disfunction in the brain.