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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

Neurology Patient Pages
AAN Press Releases
Silent Epidemic? Head Injury May Be Linked to Lasting Sleep Problems 04.27.2016
Even Mild Traumatic Brain Injury May Cause Brain Damage 07.16.2014
After a Concussion, Which Teens Will Have Emotional Symptoms? 07.10.2014
AAN: Doctors Have Ethical Obligation to Educate, Protect Athletes from Concussion 07.09.2014
People with More Education May Recover Better from Traumatic Brain Injury 04.23.2014
More Evidence That Vision Test on Sidelines May Help Diagnose Concussion 02.26.2014
How Well Do Football Helmets Protect Players from Concussions? 02.17.2014
Even Without a Concussion, Blows to Head May Affect Brain, Learning and Memory 12.11.2013
Brain Still Injured from Concussion After Symptoms Fade 11.20.2013
Study: Disease Caused by Repeat Brain Trauma in Athletes May Affect Memory, Mood, Behavior 08.21.2013
Have a Brain Injury? You May Be at Higher Risk for Stroke 06.26.2013
Protect Your Brain: Free Bike Helmets Available This Saturday in Minneapolis Mill District 06.18.2013
AAN Issues Updated Sports Concussion Guideline: Athletes with Suspected Concussion Should Be Removed from Play 03.18.2013
Study: Brain Imaging After Mild Head Injury/Concussion Can Show Lesions 03.12.2013
Head Injury + Pesticide Exposure = Triple the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 11.12.2012
NFL Players May Be at Higher Risk of Death from Alzheimer’s and ALS 09.05.2012
Bike Helmet Giveaway Marks Opening of New American Academy of Neurology Headquarters 06.05.2012
Breaking Point: When Does Head Trauma in Sports Lead to Memory Loss? 04.18.2012
Study: New Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury Shows Promise in Animals 02.19.2012
Using Amphetamines May Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 02.20.2011
Holiday Recipe Help for People with Trouble Smelling and Tasting Food 12.16.2010
Soldiers with Brain Injuries at Higher Risk of Epilepsy Decades Later 07.19.2010
Study: Brain Injuries Tied to Trouble Sleeping 05.24.2010
Simple Test May Help Judge Concussion in Athletes 02.15.2010
AAN Issues Statement on New NFL Concussion Policy 12.01.2009
Brain Damage Seen on Brain Scans May Predict Memory Loss in Old Age 08.10.2009
For Iraq Veterans, Headaches Continue After Traumatic Brain Injury 02.23.2009
MEDIA ADVISORY: AAN to Testify Before Congress on Veterans' Traumatic Brain Injury Issues 05.22.2007
Does Amateur Boxing Cause Brain Damage? 05.02.2007
Brains Scans of Symptomatic Gulf War Veterans Show Differences 05.01.2007
Mild Head Injuries Increase Risk of Sleep Disorders 04.02.2007
Drug Improves Memory Loss for Traumatic Brain Injury Patients 09.11.2006

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Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.  Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.   A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.  A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.


Anyone with signs of moderate or severe TBI should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical personnel try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure. Imaging tests help in determining the diagnosis and prognosis of a TBI patient. Patients with mild to moderate injuries may receive skull and neck X-rays to check for bone fractures or spinal instability. For moderate to severe cases, the imaging test is a computed tomography (CT) scan. Moderately to severely injured patients receive rehabilitation that involves individually tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry (physical medicine), psychology/psychiatry, and social support.


Approximately half of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue). Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual. Some common disabilities include problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning), sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication (expression and understanding), and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness). More serious head injuries may result in stupor, an unresponsive state, but one in which an individual can be aroused briefly by a strong stimulus, such as sharp pain; coma, a state in which an individual is totally unconscious, unresponsive, unaware, and unarousable; vegetative state, in which an individual is unconscious and unaware of his or her surroundings, but continues to have a sleep-wake cycle and periods of alertness; and a persistent vegetative state (PVS), in which an individual stays in a vegetative state for more than a month.


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) supports TBI research through grants to major medical institutions across the country and conducts TBI research in its intramural laboratories and Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.   The Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) is a TBI research collaboration between intramural NIH and the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences (USUHS). NINDS-funded research involves studies in the laboratory and in clinical settings to better understand TBI and the biological mechanisms underlying damage to the brain. This research will allow scientists to develop strategies and interventions to limit the primary and secondary brain damage that occurs within days of a head trauma, and to devise therapies to treat brain injury and improve long-term recovery of function.More information about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research is available at: information about CNRM clinical studies is available at:

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Read additional information from Medline Plus.


Acoustic Neuroma Association

Provides information and support to patients diagnosed with or treated for acoustic neuroma or other benign tumors affecting the cranial nerves.

600 Peachtree Parkway
Suite 108
Cumming, GA 30041
Tel: 770-205-8211 877-200-8211
Fax: 770-205-0239/877-202-0239

Brain Injury Association of America, Inc.

Non-profit organization dedicated to people with brain injury and their families. Offers research, education, and advocacy programs through a national office, network of state affiliates, support groups, and a helpline.

1608 Spring Hill Rd
Suite 110
Vienna, VA 22182
Tel: 703-761-0750 800-444-6443
Fax: 703-761-0755

Brain Trauma Foundation

Nationwide organization devoted to improving the outcome of traumatic brain injury patients. Focuses on the acute phase of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and methods to improve chances of a meaningful recovery. The Foundation works to improve the care of TBI patients from the scene of injury to the emergency room and ICU through guidelines development, professional education, quality improvement, and clinical research.

1 Broadway
6th Floor
New York, NY 10004-1007
Tel: 212-772-0608
Fax: 212-772-0357

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)

8400 Corporate Drive
Suite 500
Landover, MD 20785
Tel: 301-459-5900/800-346-2742 301-459-5984 (TTY)
Fax: 301-562-2401

National Stroke Association

National non-profit organization that offers education, services and community-based activities in prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. Serves the public and professional communities, people at risk, patients and their health care providers, stroke survivors, and their families and caregivers.

9707 East Easter Lane
Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112-3747
Tel: 303-649-9299 800-STROKES (787-6537)
Fax: 303-649-1328

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-7100
Tel: 202-2401-2000 202-245-7316 (TTY)

Family Caregiver Alliance/ National Center on Caregiving

Supports and assists families and caregivers of adults with debilitating health conditions. Offers programs and consultation on caregiving issues at local, state, and national levels. Offers free publications and support online, including a national directory of publicly funded caregiver support programs.

785 Market St.
Suite 750
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: 415-434-3388 800-445-8106
Fax: 415-434-3508

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