Right Hemisphere Brain Injury: Right hemisphere brain damage (RHD) is damage to the right side of the brain. The brain is made up of two sides or hemispheres. Each hemisphere is responsible for different body functions and skills. In most people, the left side of the brain contains the person’s language functions. The right side contributes to a number of functions, such as attention, memory, reasoning, and problem solving (all of which contribute to effective communication). Damage to the right hemisphere of the brain may lead to disruption of these cognitive processes, resulting in unique cognitive and communication problems. In many cases, the person with right brain damage is not aware of the problems that he or she is experiencing, called anosognosia.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a form of brain injury caused by sudden damage to the brain. Depending on the source of the trauma, TBIs can be either open or closed head injuries.
- Open Head Injuries: Also called penetrating Injuries, these injuries occur when an object (e.g., a bullet) enters the brain and causes damage to specific brain parts. Symptoms vary depending on the part of the brain that is damaged.
- Closed Head Injuries: These injuries result from a blow to the head (e.g., when the head strikes the windshield or dashboard in a car accident).
Irrespective of the cause of the trauma, TBIs result in two types of damage to the brain:
- Primary Brain Damage: damage that occurs at the time of impact (e.g., skull fracture, bleeding, blood clots)
- Secondary Brain Damage: damage that evolves over time after the trauma (e.g., increased blood pressure within the skull, seizures, brain swelling).