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The brain is a delicate and complex organ and can easily be damaged, making trauma to the brain an issue of significant concern.
Motor vehicle accidents and falls are the biggest causes of traumatic injuries to the brain, and each year, more than 1 million people in North America are disabled or killed by these types of neurotraumatic injuries.
In healthy individuals, the brain can retain normal functioning after minor impacts, thus allowing us to survive everyday bumps and jostles without any significant changes in brain function. However, traumatic injuries can have more mixed and severe results. In some cases, brain cells die almost immediately after trauma. In other cases, death is delayed, providing an opportunity to develop strategies to save cells that would otherwise die. When nerve cells are damaged or non-functioning, an individual can become permanently impaired in thought, speech, movement, and behaviour.
The recovery from an injury to the brain is often long and difficult. Research into neurotrauma is needed in order to ascertain the best treatments for patients recovering from such injuries. The recovery option implemented early in the treatment of these injuries can mean the difference between recovering full functioning again and not.