Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common medical condition that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affects approximately 2.8 million Americans each year. The American Association of Neurological Surgery explains that TBI “is a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.” The brain is arguably the most complex organ, as it not only controls all functions of one’s body, but also interprets all external stimuli. Hence, the possible side effects and symptoms that can develop because of a TBI are wide-ranging. The specific symptoms that develop because of a TBI will vary significantly, as they depend on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, as well as the area of the brain that was injured. Seizures, for example, are one of the many health problems that can occur after a traumatic brain injury.
Johns Hopkins Medicine defines a seizure as “a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells (also called neurons or nerve cells) that causes temporary abnormalities in muscle tone or movements (stiffness, twitching or limpness), behaviors, sensations or states of awareness.” TBIs can cause a seizure immediately after the injury occurs or months or years later. A CDC funded study found that 1 out of 10 people who are hospitalized after a TBI developed epilepsy in the following 3 years. According to the Mayo Clinic, epilepsy is “a disorder in which nerve cells activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.” The word epilepsy is synonymous with seizure disorders. There are contributing factors that play a role in one’s susceptibility to developing epilepsy after sustaining a TBI (e.g., one’s age, presence of other medical conditions, personal health history, etc.). Research has concluded that the severity of one’s TBI directly correlates to one’s risk for developing epilepsy: the more severe the TBI the greater the chance the person may develop epilepsy.
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