Unless otherwise noted, the material in this course based on the report “Traumatic Brain Injury: Hope Through Research,” by the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The entire text is available at http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/detail_tbi.htm.
COURSE OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this course is to give healthcare providers information about the symptoms, treatment, disabilities, rehabilitation, and prevention of traumatic brain injury.
Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Discuss the characteristics of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Explain the treatment of a person with TBI.
- Identify immediate post-injury complications and long-term disabilities of TBI.
- Explain the rehabilitation needed for the TBI patient.
- Review methods for prevention of TBI.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health problem, especially among male adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 24, and among older adults of both sexes 75 years and older. Children aged 5 and younger are also at high risk for TBI.
Perhaps the most famous TBI patient in the history of medicine was Phineas Gage. In 1848, Gage was a 25-year-old railway construction foreman working on the Rutland and Burlington Railroad in Vermont. Gage was working with explosive powder and a tamping iron when a spark caused an explosion that propelled the three-foot-long, pointed rod through his head. It penetrated his skull at the top of his head, passed through his brain, and exited the skull by his temple. Amazingly, he survived the accident with the help of physician John Harlow, who treated Gage for 73 days. Before the accident Gage was a quiet, mild-mannered man; after his injuries he became obscene, obstinate, and self-absorbed. He continued to suffer personality and behavioral problems until his death in 1861.
This computer-generated graphic shows how in 1848 a three-foot-long, pointed rod penetrated the skull of Phineas Gage, a railway construction foreman. Gage survived the accident but suffered lasting personality and behavioral problems. (Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.)
In the nineteenth century, little was understood about the brain and even less was known about how to treat brain injury. Most serious injuries to the brain resulted in death due to bleeding or infection. Today, we understand a great deal more about the healthy brain and its response to trauma, although science still has much to learn about how to reverse damage resulting from head injuries.
Traumatic brain injury costs the country more than $56 billion a year, and more than 5 million Americans alive today have had a TBI that resulted in a permanent need for help in performing daily activities. Survivors of TBI are often left with significant cognitive, behavioral, and communicative disabilities, and some patients develop long-term medical complications, such as epilepsy.
Other statistics dramatically tell the story of head injury in the United States. Each year approximately:
- 1.4 million people experience a TBI
- 50,000 people die from head injury
- 1 million head-injured people are treated in hospital emergency departments
- 230,000 people are hospitalized for TBI and survive
COURSE PRICE: $10.00
CONTACT HOURS: 1
This course is available until December 2, 2013.