Common Brain Injury Terminology - Q30

With the causes and effects of brain injury coming up more regularly in conversation, it’s important to have a strong baseline understanding of the common terminology used.

Here are a few, simple definitions to help you keep up. If you’re repeatedly seeing or hearing a term or phrase we didn’t include, drop us a note to let us know and we’ll update our list.

Brain Slosh: a term used to describe the movement of the brain inside the skull that may be caused by head impacts or other rapid acceleration/deceleration events.

Repetitive Head Impacts: Impacts stemming from sports or other contact activities that may not result in immediately noticeable symptoms. Growing concern about long-term ramifications for brain health.

Concussion: A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination. They are usually caused by a blow to the head. Source:  The Mayo Clinic

  • To learn more about how to manage a concussion, check out our post here.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): A brain disease that can only be diagnosed after death. It has been linked to specific changes in the brain that affect how the brain works. There is no treatment.

  • To learn more about CTE, read our post here.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Any injury that affects how the brain works. It could be caused by one or several bumps, blows or impacts to the head. A concussion is a detectable form of mild TBI.

Axon:  Part of a neuron that sends out electrical impulses to another neuron, muscle or gland. They are critical to the communication and function of your nervous system.

Neuron: The messengers of your nervous system. They share information between areas of the brain and between the brain and the broader nervous system.

Gray Matter: Areas of the brain responsible for processing information. Makes up 40% of the brain, though uses 90%+ of the oxygen.

White Matter: The deeper tissue of the brain. Responsible for communication in your nervous system. Damage could affect movement, senses or reflexes/reactions.

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