Ten Facts About Brain Injury That Might Surprise You

By Pace Law | November 18, 2016

  1. Severe brain injury victims may suffer from anosognosia (lack of insight). This means that the injury causes their brain to lack the insight needed to understand that there is an injury and that something is wrong.
  2. In a typical rear or head-on motor vehicle accident (MVA), the brain moves forward and back, causing the frontal and temporal lobes to contact the front of the skull, and the occipital lobes to contact the back of the skull. This means that the brain can be injured even in a minor MVA. In side impact MVAs, the brain is also subject to rotational forces which can cause shear injury to the long arms of the brain cells, known as the axons.
  3. Depending on the severity, brain injury victims suffer from behavioural problems – disinhibition, agitation, personality changes, loss of motivation. It can also result in a loss of cognitive functions, including loss of memory, attention, problem-solving, organizing and judgement skills.
  4. Sometimes even a simple fender-bender is enough to cause a brain injury. If the passengers involved are elderly or have had a past concussion, a simple whiplash MVA can be detrimental to their brain health and can cause serious cognitive impairments.
  5. In a MVA that has caused a brain injury, the hippocampus and temporal lobe are often damaged. Both areas are crucial for short term memory, and the temporal lobes are also responsible for making sense of the information that we hear.
  6. Most brain injuries that occur cannot be seen on an X-Ray, MRI or CT scan, therefore we are dependent on a clinical diagnosis from a doctor. There are still no tests that doctors can readily order in Canada that are highly sensitive for detecting microscopic brain damage.
  7. A new MRI technology known as diffusion tensor imaging is more sensitive for detecting concussion/mild traumatic brain injury. This test has the ability to show the transmission of water molecules across the brain’s axons – the long arms of the brain cells which allow brain cells in different areas to communicate with one another. This type of test can visually show doctors where the axons have been damaged, explaining why the brain is not working properly. The test is not yet routinely available in most hospitals in Canada.
  8. Future research on technology such as diffusion tensor imaging is crucial to the community of brain injury victims so that they can be more easily eligible for medical coverage in the event of a brain injury.
  9. Mild cognitive impairment is sometimes not noticed until months after an injury – after the victim has returned to work and is facing more challenging situations.
  10. If you have suffered a brain injury as the result of a car accident, by default you are only covered for up to $65,000 of medical coverage (this does not go far). For only approximately $25 a year, you can boost that coverage tremendously to up to $1,000,000.