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News in Brain Trauma

August 9, 2010

An article diagnosing brain trauma by Patricio C. Gargolla and Adam C. Lipson, prioritizes actions that should be taken, the first one being, to assess the possibility of imminent danger of death.  It is the vital functions that must immediately be stabilized.  A doctor must look at this patient neurologically and ensure the following are checked: a) cranial nerves function; b) how the senses are functioning; c) the pattern and rate of breathing; d) any external trauma signs; e) level of consciousness; f) deep tendon reflexes and g) motor function.  According to the report, each of these diagnoses gives the doctor a better understanding of both the extent and location of the brain injury.  As well, if one can get a history of the patient (i.e., his/her behavior before the injury) this makes for a helpful comparative tool.  How is this as compared to the person’s behavior during and after the injury?  There are other things to assess as well, including: stiff neck; difficulty breathing; mental confusion; convulsions; etc.  Unfortunately, as it stands today, there is still no “miracle drug” that has been developed to “prevent nerve injury or improve brain function immediately after trauma,” but the medication that does exist can “modify a person’s blood pressure, optimize the delivery of oxygen to the brain tissue, and prevent further brain swelling.”  Organizations such as the American Brain Trauma Foundation, of which Alan Quasha is the chairman, is always seeking for new and improved ways to assist victims of brain trauma.

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