Brain Injury and Headway

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Good morning, I am Danielle and today I am going to talk to you about Brain Injury and the charity Headway, please may I ask you to keep any questions until the end of the presentation. I would like to say at this point that if anything I say today causes anyone to feel uncomfortable then please feel free to leave the room and rejoin US when you are ready.

My aim today is to give you a greater understanding of the brain, how brain injury can affect a person and what Headway has to offer.

SLIDE - THE BRAIN

Before I explain how brain injury effects us I would like to give you an incite into how complex brain is.

The brain:
* weighs about 3lbs, or just under 1.5Kg
* has the texture of blancmange
* is made up of about 100 billion nerve cells and even more support cells, 
which provide nourishment to the nerve cells
 * makes up just 2% of our weight, but looks after a massive 98% of our functions. By removing some of this ability it can have a catastrophic effect on a persons life – it is quick to damage but takes a long time to recover – like this block game, one move and its collapsed, but it would take me time to rebuild it, even when not all the blocks are in place it is still a solid structure – much like the brain. It can take a long time to rehabilitate after a brain injury, a lot of time and energy needs to be put in to it.

SLIDE - WHEN IT’S INJURED

Brain injury comes in many different forms and causes, anything from falling off a bike, a car accident or a stroke. The brain is like other parts of our body it bruises and swells when injured, just as a thumb or a toe would. But in some crucial ways it is very different. The cells in our brains form tiny working circuits that allow us to function and any injury has the effect of breaking these circuits. Following an injury the cells around the injured part must take on some of the duties that were carried out by the injured part, it can make everything slower and less efficient. A bit like the M25, if part of the M25 were out of action, then the traffic would stop entirely at first. But slowly, drivers would head off in different directions and find new ways of getting back to the M25 and continuing along their route. This is very much like the brain, it must find other routes – other ways of carrying out its functions – and this can take time. The brain not only gathers and processes information from all of our senses, it also sends out lots of information, telling our limbs to move and our eyes to blink. Importantly, it also determines the way we behave, the things we say, and our complex thought processes.

SLIDE - DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE BRAIN AND WHAT THEY DO

As you can see on this diagram there are 6 parts to the brain, in simplest terms. As there are so many functions and ways that brain injury affects the brain I have created a handout for you to read, I will give you a couple of examples (highlighted parts from handout).

To help understand how the brain works I need to explain more about how the brain processes things.

SLIDE – PHOTO

The brain processes information in 2 very distinct ways, when you look at this photo you know the lady has blonde hair, is visibly angry and is likely to have some choice words to say. Without any effort you have experienced fast thinking.

SLIDE – MATHS PUZZLE

Now look at this problem, something different happens, you immediately know it is a multiplication problem and you might know you can solve it if you had the energy; but if you do try to solve it your muscles will tense, your pupils will dilate and your heart rate will increase. You have now experienced slow thinking.

SLIDE – SLOW & FAST

The two systems of fast and slow thinking dictate much of our perception and reaction in life.

SLIDE – LINES

For example look at these lines, they appear to be different lengths but if you measure them they are the same length. Even now you know that they are the...
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