Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Traumatic Brain injury

There have been a number of highly publicized reports of Traumatic head Injury - TBI - recently, involving the now infamous "One punch" deaths, and also involving contact sports such as AFL and Rugby Union. As parents, this is of great concern. None of us expect our healthy offspring to leave home and end up in hospital or the morgue after a social night out, or even worse, playing the sports they love. But head injuries are a reality, and we need to do more to educate and improve where we can.

Even if there is no apparent ill effect of a TBI from, say skate boarding or a bike accident, there may be longer term side effets. According to researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, "A single TBI may initiate long-term processes that further damage the brain. TBI is an established risk factor for later development of cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer's disease".

In Alzheimers disease, the post-mortem findings in the brain  show what are described as Tau Tangles and Amyloid Plaque: and these "..are appearing abnormally early in life, apparently initiated or accelerated by a single TBI".

The brain is encased in bone and floating in a thin skim of fluid to help protect it against trauma and subseqeunt head injury. But these days, we travel at far greater speeds than our body was ever designed for, and the impact of contact sports is probably far more "energy intense" with current methods of  weight training: so the likelihood of a TBI is greatly increased.

We need to match our skill in improving our speed with our methods of protecting the human brain, in order to reduce the short term pain and the long term degeneration that brain injuries can cause.
Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.

No comments: