Ask the Expert April 24, 2017

As seen in the Tri Town News.

I have received several questions this month regarding brain injury.

Rita B. from Marlboro asks:
“What is the difference between a traumatic brain injury and an acquired brain injury?”

Josh W. from Matawan asks:
“What are the leading causes of traumatic brain injury?”

Bonnie F. from Jackson asks:
“Is a concussion considered to be a traumatic brain injury?”

Mark P. from Jackson asks:
“How does a traumatic brain injury affect the brain and the body?”

Mark P. from Jackson asks:
“What are some long-term effects of traumatic brain injury and are there ways to offset them?”

Mike R. from Englishtown:
“Are the personality changes and behavioral issues permanent after a traumatic brain injury?”

Mike R. from Englishtown:
“Is there a standard process to treat a patient that has a traumatic brain injury?”

These questions have really highlighted the need for education, especially in our area, in the realm of traumatic brain injury. I will try my best to answer all of your questions, but I would also like to invite you all (and anyone else in the community) to come to Allaire rehab & nursing on Tuesday May 16, 2016 at 6:00PM for a “Brain Injury Basics” workshop. This will not only answer all of your questions, but also give you some clarity on a very complex diagnosis and hopefully give you a clearer picture of what traumatic brain injury is.

Traumatic brain injury is often called the silent epidemic because many of the issues that result from a brain injury are not immediately apparent. This speaks to Mark P’s, Rich K’s, and Mike R’s questions. The brain is very complex and when injured, your body does everything is can to attempt to heal itself. That said, the effects of the injury may not be apparent until much later, possibly months or even years after the initial injury.

The CDC defines a traumatic brain injury is defined as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. Everyone is at risk for a TBI, especially children and older adults. That said, to answer your question Bonnie F. a concussion is absolutely considered a traumatic brain injury. An acquired brain injury is defined as an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. So this said Rita B. a traumatic brain injury is an acquired brain injury.

Each brain injury in unique in part because each individual in unique, so the short answer to your question William G. is yes and no. There is a standard process for treating a traumatic brain injury such as acute, sub-acute, and long-term rehabs, day treatment programs, neuropsychological testing, and behavioral management programs just to name a few, however not every individual with a traumatic brain injury will go through every level of treatment and/or go through these at the same speed.

Josh W. to answer your question as far as the leading causes of a traumatic brain injury, falls are the number 1 reason for a brain injury. Young children and older adults are at a higher risk for falling so a brain injury occurs more often in these age groups. Motor vehicle accidents, being struck by an object, and being assaulted are other leading causes for a traumatic brain injury as well. It is important to note that a brain injury can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or religion. Informing and educating yourself on brain injury is a great place to start on preventing an injury in the first place.

I would like to thank each one of you for taking the time to submit your questions. I would again like to extend the invitation to all of you to come and learn the basics of brain injury on Tuesday May 16, 2017 at 115 Dutch Lane Road Freehold, NJ 07728 from 6-8PM. I will be there along with some of my fellow members of the NJ Brain Injury Alliance to talk about brain injury, treatment options, and resources available to you. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, or to RSVP at bgallo@allairehc.com or (732) 865-0767. I look forward to meeting you there!


Brie Gallo is the Director of Case Management and Physician Relations for Allaire Rehab and nursing center. Please submit all questions to bgallo@allairehc.com