Recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) varies based on the individual and the brain injury. Attempts at predicting the degree of TBI recovery remain crude. Recovery can be seen months, and even years, after the initial injury. Devastating and fatal injuries can be easier to ascertain than other injuries.
These are the indicators the medical team uses for prognosis:
- Duration of Coma. The shorter the coma, the better the prognosis;
- Post-traumatic amnesia. The shorter the amnesia, the better the prognosis;
- Age. Patients over 60 or under age 2 have the worst prognosis, even if they suffer the same injury as someone not in those age groups;
Recovery of brain function is thought to occur by several mechanisms.
Some common theories:
- Diaschisis. Depressed areas of the brain that are not injured but linked to injured areas begin functioning again. The function is taken over by a part of the brain that does not usually perform that task.
- Redundancy in the function performed so another area of the brain takes over.
- Behavioral substitution. The individual learns new strategies to compensate for deficits.