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About Brain Injury
The brain controls everything we do, say, think and feel. It controls the very functioning that keeps us alive: breathing, digestion, hormones and the immune system.
Because the consistency of the adult brain tissue is like Jell-O and the consistency of a child's brain tissue is like pudding, the brain is very vulnerable to injury. The brain floats in a liquid called cerebrospinal fluid and is encased by the skull, which has very rough areas on the inside surface that have the potential to damage the brain.
When the brain is injured, a person's abilities and bodily functions may change. In general, the more serious the injury, the more significant and permanent changes are likely to be. Some changes caused by brain injury may be subtle but have a major impact on the way a person lives his or her life.
There are two types of brain injury: traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury. Both types of injury can damage specific areas of the brain or cause a diffuse injury, which affects cells throughout the entire brain.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). TBI is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. A rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head, which can force the brain to move back and forth inside the skull, can also cause TBI. The stress from these rapid movements pull apart nerve fibers and cause damage to the brain tissue.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). ABI is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth and is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative. ABI takes place at the cellular level within the brain; most symptoms of ABIs are very similar to those of TBIs.
The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance supports all people affected by both types of brain injury.