Damage to the Midbrain: 5 Things To Know
Around 1.7 million people in the US have suffered traumatic brain injuries. The effects of these injuries can range from short-term pain to long-term disability depending on the severity and location of the impact. Damage to the midbrain can cause serious problems for injured parties when left unchecked.
Here, we're going to assess the basics of midbrain damage. Read on to learn about the symptoms of midbrain damage and the potential treatment paths available to you.
1. The Parts of the Midbrain
Before you can understand what damage to the midbrain does, it's important to answer the question of what the midbrain is. Also called the mesencephalon, the midbrain is an extremely small portion of the brain.
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It rests just above the brainstem and underneath the cerebral cortex. This places it around the center of the brain. Despite its small size, the midbrain is extremely complex.
It contains several parts that have many different functions, including:
- The reticular formation (motor function)
- The superior and inferior colliculi (vision and hearing)
- The thalamus (integrates and sends sensory information)
- The hippocampus (which regulates short-term memory)
- The hypothalamus (controls the nervous system)
- The Pineal body (controls melatonin to regulate sleep)
- The corpus callosum (links the 2 hemispheres of the brain)
Thus, the midbrain controls senses, movement, memory, sleep, and more. It is also integral to the structural foundation of your cerebrum. Damage to this brain area can cause severe issues because of the fundamental basic functions that it regulates.
2. What Are the Symptoms of Midbrain Damage?
Some physical symptoms of midbrain damage after a TBI include:
- Vision and hearing difficulties
- Movement disorders
- Inability to move certain areas of the body
- Seizures (in more extreme cases)
- Memory issues, especially in the short-term
- Difficulty sleeping or waking up
- Problems with automatic body functions (due to hypothalamus damage)
- Nausea and dizziness
- Difficulty concentrating and slow thinking
- Slurred speech
However, no two people will experience damage to the midbrain in the same way. Make sure that you talk to a doctor if you notice anything unusual after a traumatic brain injury.
3. How Do People Sustain Damage to the Midbrain?
There are several ways that people sustain damage to the midbrain. Impacts from falls, car accidents, and sports injuries are extremely common. However, midbrain damage can be an effect of any traumatic brain injury.
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If you or a loved one have recently been hit in the head by an object, midbrain damage is a possibility. The same applies to those who have been in an accident or have undergone other types of blunt-force trauma.
4. How Can You Prevent Midbrain Damage?
It's important to note that there is no definitive diagnosis or treatment for a traumatic brain injury. However, the CDC uses the most modern medical research to come up with a prevention plan that may stop you from sustaining such injuries proactively.
To avoid sustaining a TBI, the CDC recommends that you:
- Prevent falls, especially in older adults
- Perform balance exercises
- Do light exercises to build strength
- Check eyes and vision regularly
- Keep a clean home
- Add grab bars and railings to your home as needed
- Ensure that you live in a well-lit space
- Improve safety while playing sports
- Wear padding
- Wear a helmet
- Talk to young sports players about concussions and staying safe
- Model safe play (regardless of age group)
- Increasing safety in motor vehicles
- Wear a seat belt (regardless of whether you're a driver or a passenger)
- Avoid inebriated and distracted driving
- Buckle all children into car seats
This is critical because falls, sports, and auto accidents are some leading causes of TBIs.
Preventing TBIs in the general sense is the best way to avoid midbrain damage. These strategies ensure that the midbrain is not left vulnerable because of a preventable incident.
5. What Should You Do After Damage to the Midbrain?
Regardless of how careful you are, however, traumatic brain injuries are still a possibility. Go to the hospital immediately after being injured. Only a medical professional can assess the severity of the damage to the midbrain or other areas of the brain.
If you or a loved one have recently sustained a TBI, monitoring and tracking your symptoms is important. Sallie® is an industry-leading tool that lets you easily identify and track issues that you encounter after a TBI.
This is important because you can see your progress to determine whether you are improving or worsening. You'll know when to talk with a doctor and what potential treatments to prioritize.
Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have combed through multiple sources to find effective treatments for TBIs. Rest is always important, as mentally and physically demanding tasks cause the brain to work too hard.
In some cases, you may also need to remove blood pools/clots, repair skull fractures, and relieve pressure inside the skull. These are critical if you have severe TBIs that require emergency treatment.
Once you are stable, medication and rehabilitation therapies are key. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help you to restore your usual quality of life. Cognitive therapy and psychological counseling can also help you to improve your well-being, memory, and judgment.
Generally, it is important to follow your medical provider's advice. No two TBIs are alike, so those that have sustained midbrain damage need to ask a doctor about their individual situation.
Take Hold of Your Recovery
After sustaining a TBI, the symptoms you begin to experience can be overwhelming. Sallie® aims to ease this feeling by being an incredibly easy-to-use and free symptom-tracking dashboard.
Using the dashboard at the beginning of one’s recovery can help one to identify symptoms and triggers. Our robust data collection approach includes many speech symptoms for our users to track.
Identifying that you may be experiencing difficulties with motor function, sensory input, or memory could be the first step towards recognizing damage to the midbrain. It could help you recognize your possible need to introduce physical therapy and Sallie® into your recovery plan.
Take hold of your brain injury recovery today! Register here for Sallie®.