ABI vs. TBI

ABI vs. TBI
What’s the Difference?

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

The position of the Brain Injury Network is that acquired brain injury (ABI) includes traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s), strokes, brain illness, and any other kind of brain injury acquired after birth. However, ABI does not include what are classified as degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

“A traumatically induced structural injury and/or physiological disruption of brain function as a result of an external force that is indicated by new onset or worsening of at least one of the following clinical signs, immediately following the event:

  • Any period of loss of or a decreased level of consciousness;
  • Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the injury;
  • Any alternation in mental state at the time of the injury (confusion, disorientation, slowed thinking, etc.);
  • Neurological deficits (weakness, loss of balance,  change in vision, praxis, paresis/plegia, sensory loss, aphasia, etc.) that may or may not be transient;
  • Intracranial lesion.
  • External forces may include any of the following events: the head being struck by an object, the head striking an object, the brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to the head, a foreign body penetrating the brain forces generated from events such as a blast or explosion, or other force yet to be defined.”

Birth Trauma and Brain Injury

There is one subject regarding forms of TBI that is the source of some disagreement and that is with regard to the subject of brain injury produced by birth trauma. Generally speaking, brain trauma produced by the process of birth has been specifically excluded from being classified as a form of TBI by medical definitions. However, there are many mothers of babies being born with these birth brain injuries who are upset by that exclusion.

They see birth complications that result in these brain injuries as being forms of TBI. Some of these mothers see their children as being survivors of TBI, and they do not like that their children are excluded from this category.

Click the logo to read what does the OBIA (Ontario Brain Injury Association) say about the difference?

Take hits to the head seriously

Then-president of the US Trump knocked NFL on rules: ‘Concussions — ‘Uh oh, got a little ding on the head?' in 2016, and calling the rules “soft”.
While he's wrong, he's not alone in thinking that way. The reason for that is that if someone hasn't had an injury, or knows someone who has, they don't understand.
While concussions are sometimes invisible to the eye, the effects aren't.
I've got plenty of challenges, of that there's no doubt, but the fact that I'm visibly-disabled is a plus. Why? Because if I stop for a few seconds, and do something that isn't simply moving forward, someone usually stops, and asks me if I'd like some help.
What I don't understand is that some doctors consider traumatic brain injury and concussion as two separate diagnostic categories, when in truth, both reflect brain injury.
When people go to the hospital, after getting hit on the head, what's weird (wrong) is that concussion is sometimes termed, over "brain injury." The reason for that is strongly associated with earlier discharge from the hospital and earlier return to school activities, the researchers say.
But, with the reality that they're the same, and post-crash effects can appear later, researchers recommend that more specific descriptions of concussion and brain injury should be used. The reason for that is that a more detailed explanation can include elements that would warn of the potential occurrences of issues.
Using the term “mild traumatic brain injury” rather than “concussion” might help people better understand what they are dealing with and improve decisions about what the children should be allowed to do.

Learn about brain injury

Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.

Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.

Symptoms

Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later.

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance

Sensory symptoms

  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Feeling depressed or anxious

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include any of the signs and symptoms of mild injury, as well as these symptoms that may appear within the first hours to days after a head injury:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Loss of coordination

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Profound confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness

Children’s symptoms

Infants and young children with brain injuries might not be able to communicate headaches, sensory problems, confusion and similar symptoms. In a child with traumatic brain injury, you may observe:

  • Change in eating or nursing habits
  • Unusual or easy irritability
  • Persistent crying and inability to be consoled
  • Change in ability to pay attention
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Seizures
  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities

When to see a doctor

Always see your doctor if you or your child has received a blow to the head or body that concerns you or causes behavioral changes. Seek emergency medical care if there are any signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury following a recent blow or other traumatic injury to the head.

The terms “mild,” “moderate” and “severe” are used to describe the effect of the injury on brain function. A mild injury to the brain is still a serious injury that requires prompt attention and an accurate diagnosis.