See Inside December 2008/January 2009

Simple Salves for Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

Low-tech emergency room therapies can stem the damage from traumatic brain injuries

jupiterimages (brain), Getty Images (duct tape)

Kirsten Timmons was navigating a frozen overpass one night when a passing car skidded out of control and slammed into her vehicle. As her car came to a stop, Timmons’s head probably snapped around its own axis, decelerating sharply when it struck the seat-belt holder next to her.

The impact produced a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), knocking Timmons out and setting the stage for lasting brain damage. Luckily for her, emergency services rushed her to the hospital within an hour of the crash, greatly boosting her chances of survival. Prompt medical attention can, for example, prevent dangerous pressure buildup in the brain, remove perilous blood clots and thwart other life-threatening consequences of severe TBI.

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