Concussion: Pathophysiology, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment, Animation

concussion is a mild traumatic brain
injury that affects normal brain functions it occurs as a result of a
forceful blow either direct or indirect to the head an example of an indirect
blow is a whiplash type injury that causes the brain to shake quickly back
and forth inside the skull in a direct blow injury may develop on the side of
contact with the force or on the opposite side of the head
concussion may be caused by Falls contact sports motor vehicle accidents
or physical abuse brain injury can occur with translational rotational or angular
movements of the head rotational and or angular forces cause the brain to twist
against the brainstem the thin stalk that connects the brain to the spinal
cord and damaged the structures within because the brain stem controls many
vital bodily functions including consciousness rotational and angular
injuries usually result in loss of consciousness and are often more serious
concussion is a functional injury rather than structural a concussed brain
usually looks normal on a brain imaging test the damage occurs at a microscopic
level and generally affects a large area of the brain the mechanical impact
exerted by the blow sends shockwaves that diffuse through the brain tissues
stretching and possibly shearing membranes of neurons especially along
the long axons that are responsible for transmitting signals from one neuron to
another the events that take place during and after concussion are complex
and not fully understood but likely to involve ionic imbalances and energy
crisis due to reduced blood flow ionic disturbances such as abnormal potassium
efflux and calcium influx interfere with action potential dynamics disrupting
normal communication between neurons reduced blood supply impairs cellular
functions and makes the brain more vulnerable to further damage children
and teens are at greater risks for brain injury because their brain is still
developing and therefore more susceptible to insults axons and young
brains are not fully myelinated easier to get damaged and take longer to
recover brain development may also stop for some time after sustaining a
concussion signs and symptoms of concussion can be subtle it may not
appear immediately it is common for the first signs to show up after 20 minutes
2 hours from the time of impact common symptoms include headache drowsiness
dizziness sensitivity to light loss of memory difficulty concentrating and
feeling slowed down patients should be observed for at least 48 hours for
worsening signs such as loss of consciousness increasing headache
repeated vomiting slurred speech confusion unusual behaviors seizures and
limb weakness or numbness any of these would require emergency care concussion
usually resolves on its own with proper physical and cognitive rest the majority
of people fully recover after a couple of weeks but some may take longer during
recovery the brain is much more vulnerable to further insults and any
activities that may potentially cause another impact should be avoided a
repeated injury while the brain is recovering may exacerbate symptoms
result in permanent brain damage and can be fatal

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