Page 43 - Network Magazine Summer 2019
P. 43

Because mild TBI can be difficult to identify objectively, medical providers look at the entire clinical picture, including the severity of the original blow to the head, whether there was a loss of consciousness, how the patient scores on basic tests of recalling numbers and words, and, upon reviewing test results, whether more subtle neuro- psychological symptoms emerge. Vision disturbances, including subtle but rapid movement of the eyeball, may provide clues. Even more recent developments in MRI imaging of the white matter of the brain can help the radiologist determine whether the axons (the connectors between the brain cells) have been torn.
When all of these tests, evaluations, and scans are considered together by a treatment team, then truly effective treatment can begin. Eyeglasses with subtle prisms can help restore peripheral vision and re-train the brain to see. Social workers, psychologists and concussion specialists are more in tune with the cognitive and emotional effects. A mild TBI patient’s sense of mental wellness can be improved with acceptance and rehabilitation of the brain through mental and visual
exercises. Targeted medication can alleviate mood impairment. Family, co-workers and friends can be educated to understand that a person with TBI may be irritable, experience mood swings or may simply zone out, but these are not intentional, and over time they can be better controlled.
The impact of a traumatic brain injury may not become apparent until long after the cuts and bruises have healed following an accident and blow to the head. The feelings of isolation, depression, and frustration can only be lessened through an inter-disciplinary approach with the patient, the family, and health care professionals.
While this collective effort can never lessen the blow to the head, it can make the
“new normal” easier to bear for the patient, as well as the injured’s friends, co-workers, and family.

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