The human brain can heal and reconfigure itself.
Traditional assumptions about brain damage are proving not to be true. Current lines of research show that an injured brain can rewire, relearn and even regenerate. This is hopeful for victims and families dealing with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
On the one hand, mild TBI is often downplayed. People think of concussions as "temporary " injuries when in fact the symptoms may linger for many months, and multiple concussions can cause cumulative, irreversible damage.
At the other end of the spectrum, severe brain injuries have been misunderstood. People assessed with "permanent" brain damage are not necessarily destined to a life of disability and dependence. While there is no miracle cure for TBI, there are proven and promising therapies to significantly improve brain function and quality of life.
Can brain cells regenerate?
In biology class we were taught that you are born with all the brain cells you will ever have. Once they're gone, they're gone - leading to the myth that brain damage is permanent. It's true that most parts of the brain do not generate new cells after a flurry of development that peaks at the age of 2. But this is not the full story.
(1) The region of the brain that involves memory and learning does continue to generate new cells throughout life. (2) Just as importantly, neuroscience has revealed that in other parts of the brain, damaged brain cells are repaired and renewed through a process called neurogenesis. The brain and the body's nervous system can create new connections between neurons (and override "broken" ones) to reconfigure the network. This means it is more possible than previously believed to recover from various forms of brain damage, including cognitive problems, sensory loss and physical impairments.
The key is proper assessment and treatment of brain injury
People who have suffered brain trauma need the help of many medical professionals to improve function -- neurologists, brain surgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists. Progress may require years of hard work at considerable expense. Caring for a loved one with a brain injury also takes a tremendous toll on families.
The legal team at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, has represented brain injury clients in New York, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut. We help secure the monetary compensation needed for a lifetime of medical treatment and care needs, and help victims and families connect with specialists and resources for support.
Source: "Myths About the Brain": Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)