General information on causes
Brain injury is usually classified into congenital and acquired brain injury. Non-congenital or acquired brain injury is any form of brain injury that has occurred after birth. The boundary between congenital or acquired is often placed on a half-year border after birth.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is classified by cause or by the way it occurs in the brain:
- Traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury
- Local (focal) or diffuse scattered injury
Traumatic brain injury is injury that arises from the outside of the body. The following distinction is made:
- Brain injury without skull injury (for example: traffic accident, fall, heavy object against the head, blow or kick to the head)
- Brain injury with skull injury (such as the penetration of the bone due to skull fracture, penetration of an object such as bullet, stabbing weapon, iron object, etc.)
Examples of traumatic brain injury:
- Brain contusion
- Concussion and PCS
- Whiplash / WAD
- Epidural hematoma / bleeding
- Subdural hematoma / bleeding
- Shaken baby syndrome
Non-traumatic brain injury is caused by a process or condition within the body, such as:
- Stroke / cerebrovascular accident CVA
- TIA = temporary closure blood vessel max 24 hours
- Tumor (+ many sub-forms)
- Poisoning / intoxication (eg brain injury due to drugs, alcohol, fetal alcohol syndrome, solvents, heavy metals, neurotoxins)
- Oxygen deficiency / hypoxia / anoxia (as a result of cardiac arrest / resuscitation, near drowning, trachea closure, smoke poisoning, for the child during complicating pregnancies or childbirth)
- Epilepsy (can be caused by brain injury)
- Water head / hydrocephalus
- Metabolic disorders
- Degenerative diseases (neurodegenerative)
- Pregnancy complications
- HELLP syndrome
Focal brain injury - focal pathology; in one or more places
Focal injury usually occurs after a direct blow to the head, causing a skull fracture. Often there is a bruise in the brain under the skull fracture.
Diffuse brain injury - diffuse pathology; spread over the brain
Diffuse injuries occur, for example, after a car accident or a fall in which the brains are shaken. This causes damage to the connections between nerve cells, which is called 'diffuse axonal damage'. This kind of damage is often spread over a larger part of the brain than a focal damage. Because a larger part of the brain is damaged, there may be more problems.
White matter damage
The brain consists of white and gray matter. The white matter is located inside the brain and the gray matter is located on the outside of the brain, the brain cells. That is why one uses the term gray cells when talking about the brain.
White matter is a white layer (myelin) that protects the foothills of the brain cells. With these spurs, the different parts of the brain are interconnected.
Damage to the small blood vessels in the brain can be observed on an MRI scan as white matter abnormalities.
The image below is from this site.
When brain cells can not communicate with each other, a problem arises. This problem is not always visible to the environment, but it is a (major) handicap for the person in question: brain injury with invisible effects.
Quote: To summarize my life with brain injury: Life is too fast, the energy for the day is already exhausted after two hours.