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Your brain injuries could happen in a millisecond

When you are in a crash, you know that there is a possibility you may suffer a head injury. One thing you might not have known is that you could suffer a brain injury as quickly as one millisecond after your head hits the windshield or other window.

Neurologists have studied impacts to the brain and found that a brain injury can happen in just a millisecond. This happens prior to the head moving forward after the initial impact, which is important to understand in the medical community.

In a crash at 34 mph, an unrestrained person could hit the windshield and suffer damage from cell pressure immediately on impact. This stress on the cells, known as isotropic stress, has the potential to damage the cells’ contents. Shearing stress, another kind of stress, causes the cell walls and membranes to tear, leading to the destruction of the cell. Both of these stressors play a role in traumatic brain injuries.

Why does it matter what kind of stressors a person is subjected to?

If medical experts get it right, knowing the type of stress you’ve exposed your brain to is a great way to predict patient outcomes. Someone who suffers only one of two kinds of stressors might recover faster than someone who suffers from both.

In any case involving a brain injury, immediate treatment plays a heavy role in recovery. Early treatment could help reduce swelling and inflammation that would otherwise lead to secondary injuries and complications caused by the brain’s expansion within the confines of the skull. With medical help, patients often have a better outcome.