Brain Injuries / by kevin murray

All of our cognitive thinking comes from our brain, which logically should mean that we should be quite concerned about any trauma or impact directly made to our head.  Our knowledge of head injuries, traumatic brain injuries is increasing and this increased knowledge will benefit mankind as we learn more about the treatment of and prevention of head injuries.


Traumatic brain injuries will impact your life.  For instance, I have a good friend, a family man, with four children, and a steady job, in which he got into a severe car accident and received a traumatic head injury.  Now this same man that I know so well is different, he can't hold a job, and not only that he's become a troubled man and a child molester.  This change in personality could only have come about by his traumatic brain injury as it was not in existence previous to his terrible car accident. 


Recently we have read of professional football players who having suffered from repeated blows to the head have committed violent acts against themselves, against others, suffered severe depression or dementia, and fundamentally their personality has changed over the years.  Autopsy of these players have shown many to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy.


Howard Hughes was once one of the richest and most powerful people in the world, an entrepreneur, adventurer, aviator, film-maker, and ladies man, but for the last thirty years of his life he was a far different man who had become paranoid and eccentric to the absolute extreme.  What possibly could have taken a man like Hughes in the prime of his life and destroyed him from within?


The fact of the matter is that Hughes had many tragic accidents, for instance while filming "Hell's Angels" he crashed in a small plane resulting in a skull fracture.  Later, in 1936, while driving his car he hit and killed a pedestrian.  In 1943, Hughes crashed the amphibian aircraft Sikorsky S-43 resulting in the death of two men and a severe head injury for Hughes. In 1946, while testing the FX-11 fighter plane, Hughes crashed again with multiple severe injuries.


Each of these crashes, in and of themselves, could have cause the traumatic brain injury that Hughes later exhibited.  I am always surprised that so many people are amused by Hughes' eccentricities, but don't consider as to why his personality would have so dramatically changed.  Head trauma can and will change a person's personality so that they are no longer themselves, because they are no longer capable of thinking as a rational man.


Head injuries are trickier to diagnose because the brain is hidden from our eyes.  That is why it is so important to continue to develop the tests and medical equipment necessary to diagnose correctly potential traumatic brain injuries and then to do what is possible to correct this ailment over time.  Unfortunately, the person himself that suffers the traumatic brain injury may not have the necessary cognition to know that they have a significant head injury and it is therefore vitally important that trained medical personnel take the necessary steps to address this issue in a timely and considerate manner.