Too often we hear about the term Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and wonder why it is called “mild” because those struggling with it find it’s not “mild” at all. However, those individuals that are plagued by ongoing symptoms and regardless how hard they try seem unable to overcome them. Is this because they really don’t have mTBI and have the other diagnosis that is linked with mTBI and ongoing symptoms that is not publicized? Would it help if you knew it had a different name and work in a different manner to overcome all the issues at hand?
Maybe I’ve been in a fog far too long, and every one else knows of this. As I recently talked about my website to a Physicial Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician I respect I was given some further information for those who have mTBI. March 2012 conference in Scotland emphasized the advances and discovery of those suffering from ongoing problems following mild traumatic brain injury. It was noted that seventy percent of those who suffer a mTBI recover completely.
So we ask ourselves what happens to the other thirty-percent that have ongoing problems? Thirty percent of those suffering mTBI are left to believe they are still suffering from mild traumatic brain injury, when in reality they are suffering from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). If they were given this information I believe they would be better able to understand all they deal with on a regular basis. Instead of wasting their precious energy trying to convince healthcare professionals that their problems are real they could be educating others and healthcare professionals why they have these lingering symptoms.
Their lives have been turned upside down already and they struggle to find answers and help themselves. They are determined souls trying to improve in whatever way they can. What benefit is there to withholding this diagnosis from the patients and healthcare providers that treat these patients? Knowledge is power, but it’s not being utilized in this situation.
Instead of providing these patients this information it has been withheld from them. Even though this is relatively new information in the medical community, without providing practitioners or patients with this information will not enhance one’s life; it continues to destroy lives. It’s time that all healthcare providers learn of this diagnosis. It’s new to me, and I will not keep from educating others so we can all better understand brain injury. I will give these people the information so they can understand what they are going through and know they are not being dismissed. Unfortunately, they are being dismissed and no one understands this struggle until they have been there. With this knowledge these people will continue to search for avenues that lead them to their optimal level of functioning.
Have you received repeated concussions or head injuries in your lifetime? These repeated concussions occur most commonly in sports activities such as football, wrestling, hockey, soccer and skiing, as well as a number of other contact sports. They also occur from a number of other repeated head injuries. Repetitive injuries to the head may permanently alter brain chemistry. The diagnosis is only positively identified on autopsy by brain biopsy, but people can suffer these symptoms for years.
Biopsy findings post-mortem demonstrate that tau proteins are defective. In a healthy brain tissue they stabilize microtubles. These proteins are abundant in neurons of the central nervous system (CNS). Tau proteins are less common in other tissues, but when they no longer stabilize the microtubles in the brain the result is a chemical change that is measurable and found in various forms of dementias.
One of these dementias is directly related to mild traumatic brain injury with reoccurring head injuries and concussions. This is not a genetic cause, but an environmental cause. Because of this it is the only dementia that can be prevented. It cannot be prevented if the education and understanding of brain injury is not acknowledged or simply withheld.
The build-up of this tau protein is the chemical change that is seen with a number of neurological and physiological changes in brain tissue where it is not normally seen. These areas cause build-ups or clusters interfering with “normal” brain functioning and leads to disruption of brain functioning.
Yes, there is a permanent change in brain chemistry and it is identified only on autopsy. Otherwise presently there are no other tests in the living human being to prove this diagnosis. Regardless, you are not crazy, you are not a malingerer, or the many other hurtful diagnosis that keep these individuals struggling for help in all the wrong places.
As research advances with CTE it will hopefully find tests that can identify this earlier and help those suffering from CTE. This permanent change results in specific characteristics of degenerative brain tissue with an accumulation this specific type of protein known as “tau protein”. The symptoms that are related to this degenerative changes include balance issues, tremors, dizziness, vision problems, confusion, depression, anxiety, memory loss, behavioral changes among many others.
These symptoms may occur within a short time or a few months following the last injury or may not even appear for decades later. These symptoms are related to the brain changes of CTE which are delayed effects of repeated head injuries and concussions.
For further articles and information the links are listed at the top of this page, just below the picture where I suggest other links. Click on “CTE or mTBI?” for other links and education.
- TBI Research: Nanoscientists Developing Detection Tool (offthebase.wordpress.com)
- Mild Brain Injury: Implications for Independence (braininjuryselfrehabilitation.com)