Friday, June 6, 2014

TBI - 4

People often ask, "What happens in the brain with sports-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)?" You may be familiar with the terms "neuron" and "axon." Neurons are the thinking cells that have an enhanced ability to transfer information from one neuron to another. Axons are the largest projection from a neuron. Most neurons have only one axon (and some can be a meter in length, running from the brain to the tip of the toe). Some axons are wrapped with a special insulation called myelin. These myelinated axons are able to transmit information to other neurons much more quickly than non-myelinated axons. Damage to the axons is one of the most common features of TBIs. Douglas H. Smith and David F. Meaney from the Department of Neurosurgery, U of Pennsylvania, reported their research in an article entitled: "Axonal Damage in Traumatic Brain Injury." The researchers found that axons are very susceptible to mechanical injury. They can swell, become brittle and break, and/or develop other neuropathologic changes. Yes, the brain can often heal following a TBI. However, damage from repeated blows to the head or from repeated falls in which the head strikes another object appear to be cumulative. This is a clear case of "prevention is better than cure."

No comments: