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Effects Of Neuroplasticity Training In Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury

1173 words - 5 pages

Introduction
Traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI, is the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in individuals between the ages of 15 and 25 (5). A TBI can lead to many diffuse effects throughout the body depending on the severity and location of the injury. Some of the more common issues associated with this pathology include disturbed cerebral blood flow, alterations in sensorimotor pathway connectivity, injury to neurons and atrophy of associated structures. In addition, deficits in neuromotor activity are commonly seen. The functional muscle weakness, coordination deficits and gait disturbances associated with poor neuromotor activity are usually consequences of injury to ...view middle of the document...

Major advances in the understanding of neuroplasticity have to date yielded few established interventions. (3)
To establish a mental bridge between physiologic phenomena, such as neuroplasticity, and therapeutic imperatives, such as utilized in the recovery of a TBI patient, it requires a fundamental understanding of both. Although seeming unrelated at first glance, these two concepts may actually coalesce given the right context. To continue with the symbolism of a bridge and expound on the subject of neuroplasticity a little further, the brain itself should be imagined as a large city with multiple roads throughout; some being small and some being large. Now imagine the neural pathways of the brain as the multiple and various roads that comprise this large city. Most people traveling within this city would undoubtedly resort to driving along the larger roads, such as an interstate. Day in and day out people acquire a habitual pattern of commuting along this interstate until one day, this road no longer exists or for practicality is under construction; such as the neural pathways that may have been damaged or interrupted after a traumatic brain injury. Initially, a sense of panic or frustration may be felt at the fact that a reliable path is no longer available. However, with contemplation, a person may think of an alternative route to take in order to arrive at their destination. So, a person may begin to travel down roads different from the large interstate such as highways, side streets, and county roads. While traveling down these types of paths may originally seem unfamiliar and hard to follow, repetition and diligence will help the person to find their destination. Now after this point, these same people begin to find more and more alternative paths to follow in order to most efficiently arrive at their end point and are no longer at a disadvantage because of the road construction. The alternative paths are roads less traveled by the individual and therefore may seem foreign. However, with repetition of this behavior a stream-lined plan of how to arrive at a destination is formulated. The arrival at an end point can be comparative to the reintegration of a task in the case of a TBI patient such as walking, transferring, or dressing themselves. To go a step further with this extravagant metaphor, the many alternative pathways a person may take can be representative of the various stimuli a person may incur while performing a task such as sensory, motor, cognitive, memory, visual-spatial, tactile, coordination, etc. The more roads or paths the person takes makes them more dynamic and skilled at...

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