Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance

Causes and Effects

Possible Causes of TBI include:

  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle crashes involving occupants or pedestrians
  • Sports and recreation injuries (e.g. sports concussions, bicycling injuries)
  • Assaults and violence (e.g. domestic violence, abuse, gunshot wounds/firearm injuries)
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome- Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) or inflicted Traumatic Brain Injury (iTBI)
  • Blunt trauma- struck by or against an object
  • Penetrating or open head wounds (e.g. lacerations)
  • Explosive blasts (e.g. Improvised Explosive Devices)

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury (non-TBI) results from internal damage to the brain and is not caused by a force. Sometimes, non-traumatic brain injuries are just referred to as “acquired brain injuries.”

Possible Causes of non-TBI include:

  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Brain Aneurysms
  • Brain Tumors
  • Toxic Exposures (e.g. substance abuse, kidney failure, carbon monoxide poisoning)
  • Metabolic Injuries (e.g. diabetic coma, insulin shock, liver disease, kidney disease)
  • Infections that cause swelling in the brain (e.g. encephalitis, meningitis)
  • Intracranial Surgeries
  • Reduction (hypoxia) or lack (anoxia) of oxygen to the brain (e.g. strangulation, near drowning, heart attack, cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary arrest, drug overdose, anoxia, hypoxia)

Functional Changes Caused by Brain Injury

A brain injury may result in mild, moderate, or severe impairments in one or more of the following areas:

  • Cognitive Functions
  • Short-term or long-term memory loss
  • Impaired judgment and perception
  • Trouble concentrating or paying attention
  • Difficulty with language or speech production and thought processing (aphasia, receptive language, dysarthria)
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Difficulty organizing or problem solving
  • Physical Functions
  • Seizures
  • Sleep Difficulties (fatigue or insomnia)
  • Sensory loss or impairment (vision, hearing, etc.)
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Trouble with balance and dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Decreased motor abilities
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Emotional/Behavioral Functions
  • Depression, grief over loss of ability, or chemical changes caused by injury
  • Anxiety, restlessness, agitation, frustration, impatience
  • Lack of motivation
  • Reduced level of self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsiveness and lack of inhibition
  • Personality changes
  • Emotional flatness and passivity

If you or someone you know has been affected by brain injury, please know that you are not alone. Contact the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance at 612-378-2742 or 800-699-6442 for more information about brain injury, supports, and services.