Acquired Brain Injury: location of the injury and the impact on functioning

29 May 2019

What is an acquired brain injury (ABI)?

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is any damage to the brain that happens after birth. The specific symptoms or losses of functioning depend on which brain areas are affected.

Common causes of an acquired brain injury

  • Toxic exposure – alcohol or drugs which can poison the brain
  • Disease – such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
  • Lack of oxygen – called anoxic brain injury (cardiac arrest, carbon monoxide poisoning, airway obstruction, hemorrhage, and drowning)
  • Physical head injury – such as an impact (or blow) to the head, which may occur in vehicle or sporting accidents, fights or falls
  • Stroke (vascular obstruction) – when a blood vessel inside the brain breaks or is blocked, destroying the local brain tissue
  • aneurysm
  • Non-unions: failure of fractures to heal
  • Mal-unions: fractures healing in a wrong position
  • Intracranial surgery
  • Infectious diseases
  • Seizure disorders
  • Spinal deformities

Losses of function in relation to the area of the brain affected

The below diagram shows some of the behaviours and abilities that can be affected as a result of an acquired brain injury.

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