Traumatic Brain Injuries Increasing In Missouri
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The number of traumatic brain injuries in Missouri is on the rise.
Emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to traumatic brain injuries increased more than 15 percent between 1999 and 2003.
Every year in Missouri, approximately 1,300 people die and more than 12,000 people are treated in an emergency room or are hospitalized due to a traumatic brain injury.
"Traumatic brain injury can result in a life-changing condition that affects the whole family as well as the injured person," said Lori Brenneke, manager of the health department's Adult Head Injury Program.
The state health department recently published two reports about traumatic brain injury in Missouri. A statewide action plan examines ways to prevent traumatic brain injuries, increase public awareness about the issue and improve services provided to those who have sustained an injury to the brain. A burden report details the causes and costs of traumatic brain injury in the state.
Traumatic brain injury can result from a blow, jolt or other type of injury to the head that disrupts the function of the brain. Most traumatic brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle traffic crashes, crashes involving off-road vehicles, falls and jumps, and being struck by a person or object.
Blast injuries sustained in combat are an emerging cause of traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury has been named the "signature wound" of the Global War on Terror. An estimated 10 percent of all American troops and 20 percent of infantry troops have experienced a traumatic brain injury.
The effects of a traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe and impact a person's thinking, reasoning, memory, speech, physical activities, seeing, hearing, learning and other abilities. These conditions can be temporary or permanent.
Because traumatic brain injuries affect different areas of the brain in different ways, no two brain injuries are alike. As a result, a range of services that can meet individual needs and change over time is necessary, Brenneke explained.
Improvements in health care and technology are helping people with traumatic brain injuries live longer lives, so the need for services to assist those with brain injuries and their family members is growing.
"Educating the public about traumatic brain injury is vital to improving the lives of survivors," Brenneke said.
Because the only real cure for traumatic brain injury is prevention, public awareness is key to preventing this type of injury.