This month’s healthy brain tip: Protect Your Head!

CyclistIt can happen in an instant – a severe head injury that knocks you unconscious.

In a rare, large-scale study of traumatic brain injury (TBI), Canadian researchers have found that the more severe the injury, the greater the volume loss of brain tissue, particularly white matter.

“This is an important finding as TBI is one of the most common forms of disability,” said Dr. Brian Levine, Senior Scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and lead author of the study which was published in the March 4, 2008 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

TBI causes both localized damage through bruises or bleeds, as well as more diffuse damage through disconnection of brain cells, which ultimately causes cell death. The localized damage is easier to detect with the naked eye than diffuse damage. Yet both kinds of damage contribute to difficulties with concentration, working memory, organizing and planning (all vital skills for holding a job), as well as mood changes often experienced by people following TBI.

Remember to always wear the proper equipment, including helmets, when participating in sports or on the job.

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