Your brain is about as hard as soft tofu or hard gelatin. It has some protection from your skull, but when your head is hit, the brain is impacted twice--once from the initial blow, then another as your brain slams against the opposite side of your cranium.
This double whammy causes an abnormal accumulation of tau protein. Over time, this leads to chronic encephalopathy (CTE). This condition is similar to Alzheimer's in that it causes memory loss and impulsiveness. The damage can be directly correlated with the number of head injuries.
What can you do to prevent this? The Mayo Clinic recommends the following:
- Always wear a seat belt and have young children sit in the back seat.
- Don't drive under the influence of alcohol, medication, or drugs.
- Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, skateboarding, bicycling, snowboarding, or when on an all-terrain vehicle.
- Install handrails in bathrooms of older adults.
- Put nonslip mats in bathtubs or showers.
- Remove area rugs or place nonslip material underneath.
- Have handrails on both sides of staircases.
- Improve home lighting.
- Clear clutter from stairs and floors.
- Get regular vision checkups.
- Put safety gates at the top of stairs for young children.
- Install window guards in upper floors.
- Go to playgrounds with shock-absorbing materials.
- Don't allow children to play on fire escapes or balconies.