Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of disability among young people between the ages of 15 and 35. How do you prevent it and how do you treat it? Professor Franco Servadei, Professor of Neurosurgery at Humanitas University and President of the World Federation of Neurosurgery, a studio guest at Uno Morning, spoke about this topic.
“Head injury is not a disease, but an accidental event that in many cases is preventable. One thinks of the introduction of the Law on helmets in Italy in 2003, which reduced the number of young people admitted to neurosurgery for trauma by two thirds and has produced a drop in mortality, in just one year, estimated at around 1,700 people. It is an extraordinary preventive maneuver, which complements other maneuvers that are yielding excellent results, such as the use of safety belts, back protection for motorcyclists and the tutor on the motorways.
However, there is an increase in accidental falls into the home of the elderly. An increase that unfortunately is slowly compensating the decrease that we record in young people”, explains Prof. Servadei.
“The medical rescue of a serious trauma in general and of a head trauma in particular, which is the primary cause of death in general trauma, is extremely complex. We must in fact have effective assistance at the scene of the accident, with medical ambulances or helicopters for the most serious patients, then transport to a hospital equipped 24 hours a day to receive the patient and carry out effective diagnostics (CT and MRI in particular),” the specialist stresses.
How do you intervene?
“After the accident, a part of the brain suffers such serious damage that it dies, i.e. the neurons do not survive the trauma: this is what we call primary damage. At the moment, we can do nothing about this; we can only fight against that part of the brain around this injury that swells and expands into a closed cavity like the skull. This produces an increase in pressure within the skull, which is normally controlled by medical therapies, but where they are not effective we must resort to so-called extreme surgery, with the opening of a part of the skull to decrease the pressure inside it. With this maneuver, as studies confirm, mortality decreases: we therefore have more patients who survive but we also have more patients who remain in persistent coma or with very serious disabilities. The great hope is to be able to cure the primary damage and research is also continuing to work in this direction”, concluded Prof. Servadei.
Watch the entire interview with Professor Servadei from minute 00.22.51, click here