Recovery from brain injury may be measured in weeks, months, and years, and is known to slow with the passage of time. The effects of brain injury are oftentimes long lasting, and recovery may be incomplete. Although some people with severe brain injuries experience only mild long-term difficulties, other people may require care or special services for the rest of their lives.
Research on aging with a brain injury remains sparse. While the brain can change dramatically (for better or worse) even years after an injury, clinicians and treatment teams have begun to treat brain injury as a disease rather than an event. Brain injury is thought to increase the likelihood of:
- Endocrine Disorders
- Cognitive Decline
- Parkinson's Disease
Brain Injury as a Disease
Until very recently, the majority of brain injury researchers focused on the first 90 minutes after brain injury in order to find a way to stop the toxic cascade of events that lead to increased morbidity and mortality. Certainly these interventions are important and life saving, but it is also clear that there is another toxic cascade later on in an individual with brain injury's journey: a slow, progressive, irregular, and chronic lifelong disease process. Those who sustain brain injuries are many times more likely to suffer from any variety of conditions or neurological disorders, ranging from spasticity to Alzheimer's Disease.