Brain damage may occur as a result of exposure to substances that are toxic to the nervous system (neurotoxic substances), for example:
- Heavy metals (lead, bromine or mercury and mercury compounds);
- High doses of medication or prolonged use of barbiturates and opioids;
- Drugs; psychoactive substances (GHB, heroin, cannabis, mescaline and sedatives. Also, alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy belong here, but for these we provide a separate page.)
- Organic solvents, in alphabetical order: acetic acid, benzene, chloroform, ethanol, di-ethylene, formic acid, heptane, HMPA, methanol, pentane, THF and toluene;
- Neurotoxins (nerve agents, insecticides, some bacteria and poison from plants and animals).
The substances that are toxic to the nervous system (neurotoxic substances) affect the metabolism of neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are the signaling substances which allow the neurons (brain cells) to interact with one another and to communicate with muscle cells.
Neurons have a contact spot where the signal transmission takes place at the tip. This tip is called the synapse. The word is derived from the Greek word σύναψις tangent, compound.
When brain cells are no longer able to communicate with one another or when brain cells are no longer able to communicate with muscles, this is a serious situation. If the failure is permanent, it is called brain injury or muscle failure.
The person may fall into a coma. Read more
30% of emergency coma cases arriving on Emergency has been caused by an intoxication. The toxins can give rise to a cardiac arrest or a respiratory arrest.
The effects of brain injury can be physical or have effects on the cognitive area or the emotional area and manifest itself in behavior, communication and intelligence.
The invisible effects of brain injury are the consequences that are least understood by the environment, but are often the most intense for the person in question.