Brain Damage:

Brain damage or brain injury is the destruction or degeneration of brain cells. Brain damage may occur due to a wide range of conditions, illnesses, or injuries.
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  • Alcohol
  • Accident
  • Poisoning (CO)
  • Infection

  • Alcohol Related: Alcohol consumption can damage the brain. Consequently, alcoholics and chronic heavy drinkers can suffer abnormalities in their mental functioning and changes in behaviors associated with brain impairment. The neurological effects of alcohol can occur directly, because alcohol is a toxic substance, or they can occur indirectly, through damage to other body organs that subsequently interfere with the workings of nerve cells in the brain.Some direct effects include changes in emotions and personality as well as impaired perception, learning, and memory. Images of the brain created with modern neuroradiological techniques show a relationship between prolonged alcohol consumption and changes in the brain's structure. For example, MRI and CT images have shown brain shrinkage and tissue damage in some alcoholics. These changes can cause poor temperature regulation, muscle weakness, and alterations in sleep patterns.

  • Accident Related: There are many areas of the brain that can be affected by an accident involving the brain. Because different parts of the brain perform different functions, the symptoms that are suffered will vary based on where the brain has been injured. If the injury to the brain took place on the forehead, this can affect the frontal lobes. Symptoms of this type include: loss of spontaneity. This refers to the persistence of a single thought that one cannot get out of their head, changes in social behavior, and changes in personality. When an accident affects the area near the back and the top of the head, the parietal lobe might be damaged. This can lead to one or more of the following symptoms: Anomia (this refers to the inability to name an object, though the person will still know what the object is), difficulty drawing objects, Dyscalculia (this refers to a decreased ability to do simple mathematic functions such as adding and subtracting). The occipital lobes are damaged when an accident occurs at the back of the head. Some of the symptoms that might occur are: hallucinations, visual illusions (where a person can see an object but sees it incorrectly), movement agnosia (the inability to understand the movement of an object. For example, when an object is removed from the person's line of vision, they might become confused about how this was possible). If an accident occurs on the side of the head and above the ears, the temporal lobes are in jeopardy. This type of accident might cause the following symptoms: selective attention to what is seen and heard (might be able to hear one person but not another, or see one particular type of object but not another), and extremely aggressive behavior. When someone is injured on the base of their skull, this type of accident can cause the cerebellum to be damaged and can lead to the following ailments: loss of coordination, loss of the ability to walk, the inability to grab objects or hold on to them, slurred speech, and inability to make rapid movements.

  • Poison Related (CO):Carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to as CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning material containing carbon. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage and death. You can't see it, smell it, or taste it; but carbon monoxide can kill you. As CO is inhaled, it enters the bloodstream and attaches to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. CO, however, displaces oxygen because it binds to hemoglobin 200 times tighter than oxygen does. The body can't get enough oxygen-a condition called anoxia. Besides causing anoxia, CO is also toxic to cells. It triggers a biochemical cascade that, if uninterrupted, can continue to damage the cells even after the exposure to the gas has stopped, according to Hopkins. That may be why current research shows that individuals with anoxic brain injury tend to have less recovery than those with physical injuries to the brain.

  • Infection Related: The brain, the spinal cord, and the surrounding structures could become infected by a large spectrum of germs. Bacteria and viruses are the most common. Parasites, fungi, and others can infect the central nervous system, although this occurs rarely. Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges-the surrounding 3-layered membranes of the brain and spinal cord, and the fluid it is bathed in. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain itself. Myelitis actually means a spinal cord inflammation. Abscess is an accumulation of infectious material and offending microorganisms within the CNS. These infections may result in a learning disability, hearing loss, permanent brain damage, and even death.
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