Ability to Adapt After Injury Care by Charles Watson
Posted on February 9, 2022
Brain damage happens either through acquired brain injury (ABI) or traumatic brain injury (TBI). While there are treatment options for traumatic brain injury, they focus on preventing further damage to the brain. Injured neurons cannot revive and will die off. But the brain has different ways to try and recover damaged or lost function. The answer is neuroplasticity.
Surviving brain cells will try to take over functions lost in the brain's attempt to repair itself. The remaining cells can often be trained to take over tasks that other brain cells used to do. So while injured neurons cannot heal themselves, neuroplasticity allows new nerve connections to form. This rewiring can aid the brain in recovering some functions. Rehabilitation, including occupational therapy, physical, and speech, can help this process.
You use a lot more than 10% of it
It is a myth that we only use 10 percent of our brains. Imaging tests, including functional MRIs PET scans, have allowed researchers to study brain activity in real-time. And this brain mapping reveals that all parts of the brain have a function.
Just reading this article involves the participation of frontal and occipital lobes to see and comprehend and hippocampus to remember, all while your brainstem and cerebellum help you remain seated, breathing, circulating blood, and digesting your food. And your pituitary gland and hypothalamus regulate hormones, temperature, and much more.
Further, the brain's response to injuries like strokes and concussions would not be so harmful. And from an evolution point of view, our brains wouldn't be as large if we only utilized one-tenth of their capacity.
Signals travel fast
The brain sends and receives signals through the central nervous system (CNS). The speed with which this occurs depends upon several factors. This includes how far the signal needs to travel, the neurons' size, and the amount of myelin sheath also impacts speed. Wider neurons are quicker at carrying signals than those that are narrow. The insulation that myelin gives makes neural transmission quicker. Pain is one of the slowest sensations with regard to speed because pain receptors lack myelin.
Stress Impacts Brain Function
Whether intense and acute, or chronic, stress can lead to devastating effects on the brain. The brain reacts to stress by raising cortisol levels to remain high instead of returning to normal. High cortisol levels are correlated with anxiety, depression, and memory loss. Studies show that chronic stress can disrupt synapse regulation and impairs brain function in multiple ways. It can kill brain cells leading to reduced brain size.
Mild traumatic brain injuries don't affect your life too much
Mild traumatic brain injury can cause many problems in a person's life. Brain injuries can have a detrimental effect on all aspects of a person's life; such patients include greater risk of mental illness, problems with employability, higher rates of substance abuse, and disruption of relationships. People suffering from mild TBI may suffer from these issues for many years after being injured.
Avoid falling asleep with a concussion
There is a common fear that you could slip into a coma or lose consciousness if you sleep with a head injury. Moreover, sleep helps the brain heal and recover post-injury, especially in the first 24 to 48 hours. As long as you don't present danger signs like slurred speech, intense nausea, or increased confusion, it's safe to sleep after a concussion.
A person's individuality displays a right-brain or left-brain dominance
You can be"right-brained" or"left-brained"–and are more creative or artistic or technical and logical, respectively. But brain-scanning technology that the brain's two hemispheres most often work together in complex processing. For example, language processing occurs in both hemispheres: the left side processes grammar and pronunciation while the right processes intonation.
Drinking alcohol kills brain cells
Alcoholics can undergo brain damage due to drinking. But it's not because alcohol kills brain cells–it's because it damages the dendrites found at the end of the neurons, which causes problems in cell communication in the brain.