A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can occur from a blow to the head or loss of oxygen. The injury may vary in severity, with some patients recovering from a TBI within days and others suffering from long-term brain damage.
In 2014, TBIs caused more than three million injuries, fatalities, and visits to the emergency department. Thankfully, most traumatic brain injuries result in only mild concussions.
What Are the Types of TBIs?
Gauging the severity of a traumatic brain injury depends on several factors, including:
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Abnormalities on a head CT or brain MRI scan
- Neurological symptoms from the time of injury
Doctors classify TBIs as mild, moderate, or severe. A mild TBI is a mild concussion. They account for about 75% of traumatic brain injuries. A moderate TBI causes a loss of consciousness for over 30 minutes but less than 24 hours. Severe TBIs cause a loss of consciousness for over a day.
Other factors in determining the type or grade of TBI include whether the injury caused an abnormality on a brain scan, such as a brain bleed, or if an object penetrated the skull.
How Are TBIs Treated?
For most TBIs, which are often classified as mild or moderate, the primary treatment is rest from sports, school, or work. Symptoms will slowly resolve on their own over time.
Patients with severe TBI require much more care. Immediately after the injury, patients suffering from a severe brain injury may require hospitalization so that medical professionals can monitor the patient’s symptoms. Severe TBI patients may require surgery to treat blood clots, brain bleeding or swelling in the brain.
TBI patients may need counseling to manage stress and anxiety after their injuries, regardless of severity. Additionally, rehabilitation therapy, including physical, occupational, and cognitive therapy, can benefit traumatic brain injury patients by helping them relearn skills and develop new ways of performing tasks.
Stem Cell Therapy for TBIs
Recent developments in stem cell therapy offer a potential alternative to managing symptoms of TBI patients.
Traumatic brain injuries can damage brain tissue, which causes cells to die. When neurons die, they cannot be regenerated or replaced. This damage can lead to loss of brain function for patients with TBIs. Stem cell therapy may help the brain replace the destroyed neurons.
During stem cell therapy, mesenchymal stem cells are administered to the patient to potentially help these damaged areas of the brain. In a recent study, those implanted cells triggered the brain’s regenerative ability and helped the brain create new neurons.
While clinical trials are still underway, the early reports offer new hope for TBI patients and their loved ones.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for TBI, also known as stem cells for traumatic brain injury. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.