14-20 March is Brain Awareness Week. This global event happens every March and aims to get people, charities and businesses involved in raising awareness of brain conditions.
What causes brain damage
Brain damage occurs when the brain is starved of oxygen over a long period of time. Brain damage can happen to anyone and can be caused by injury, illness, or other conditions.
Traumatic brain injury
This is is caused by an external force to the head such as:
- Car accidents
- Blows to the head
- Sports injuries
- Falls or accidents
- Physical violence
Acquired brain injury
This is most often associated with pressure on the brain such as:
- Poisoning or exposure to toxic substance
- Strangulation, choking, or drowning
- Heart attacks
- Neurological illnesses
- Abuse of illegal drugs
Congenital brain defects
These are abnormalities in the brain that are present at birth. There are many different types of these malformations:
Anencephaly: a major portion of the skull and brain is missing. Existing brain tissue is exposed.
Encephalocele: this occurs when a portion of the brain bulges through an opening in the skull.
Spina bifida: this occurs when the neural tube doesn’t close below the level of the brain. This prevents the surrounding vertebrae from fully developing. It leaves the spinal column divided.
Arnold-Chiari, or Chiari II: malformation occurs when part of the cerebellum is shifted downward into the upper spinal column. The result is compression on the brain or spinal cord.
Other types of congenital brain defects develop within the structure of the brain:
- Hydrocephalus, or fluid on the brain, is an excessive buildup of cerebrospinal fluid. Excess fluid can put too much pressure on the brain.
- Dandy-Walker syndrome is a defect that involves the absence or defective growth of the central section of the cerebellum.
- Holoprosencephaly is a condition in which the brain doesn’t divide into two halves, or hemispheres.
- Megalencephaly, also called macrencephaly, is a brain that is abnormally large or heavy.
- Microcephaly, or a small brain, occurs when the brain doesn’t develop to full size.
Cerebral palsy is the name given to a group of conditions which cause problems with movement and co-ordination, and which occur as a result of brain damage either before, during, or shortly after birth.
The damage may have been caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during or shortly after birth as a result of a mistake made by your medical team. If those mistakes were avoidable then your child may have suffered a birth injury and you may be able to pursue a clinical negligence claim.
However, cerebral palsy can also be caused by a number of conditions that are not anyone’s fault, such as genetic problems, premature birth, malformations of the brain and infection. A baby may also have a stroke or a bleed on the brain whilst it is growing in the womb.
How can Graysons help?
With a severe brain injury comes life-changing, debilitating problems. The person affected is likely to suffer cognitive, behavioral and physical disabilities and may remain dependent upon the care of others for the rest of their lives.
Whist these conditions are permanent, and cannot be ‘cured’ in many cases, there are a number of treatments and therapies available that can help reduce the effects and increase independence, communication skills and self-esteem, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy. Medication to relieve muscle stiffness and spasms may all help.
Here at Graysons we understand that caring for a loved one that has suffered a catastrophic injury is both stressful and demanding and can have a severe strain financially, psychologically and physically upon the whole family.
If you, or a loved one, have suffered a brain injury as a result of medical treatment, or your child has suffered a birth related brain injury then we will help you to secure a financial settlement that will provide both financial security and a care package ensuring any life-long care needs will be met. Our specialist solicitors are accredited experts in conducting high value, catastrophic brain injury cases.
You can attend Sheffield’s Brain Awareness Week event at Quaker Meeting House on 17 March from 7pm to 9pm.
You can also find out more at the Brain and Spine Foundation which provides information and offers support during diagnosis and treatments and, in the longer term, can answer questions and provide support throughout a patient’s journey.
The Brain and Spine Foundation is the only UK wide charity providing support on the full range of neurological conditions.