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Concussion: what you need to know about this "invisible" consequence of war

The full-scale war brought many new terms and concepts into the everyday life of Ukrainians. One of them is a concussion, a diagnosis that is being heard about more and more often today.

Sources: biophysicist Iryna Oliynyk's on Facebook, Zaborona, Life after ATO, Suspilne

Main photo: Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

Concussion today threatens not only defenders on the front line, but also the civilian population – because Russia does not stop constant shelling of Ukrainian cities and villages. Learn more about concussion, its symptoms and consequences.

What is a contusion? This is a general damage to the body that occurs due to a sharp blow. Concussion can be caused by air, water or sound waves, hitting the ground, water, etc. The second name of contusion is acubarotrauma. Source: Wikipedia

Often, the diagnosis of "contusion" is treated with disdain, it is neglected both by doctors and patients themselves, as well as by the military command. They approach this lightly, they say, "you have arms and legs", therefore, a person is simply not considered to be seriously injured.

Such neglect can lead to significant consequences for people's health. Therefore, it is very important for victims to study the subject of concussion on their own, to demand appropriate treatment and to carefully protect their health.

What is important to know about a concussion

  • This is not a "classic" concussion caused by a blow. A contusion is a damage to the whole body caused by blast waves.

  • The process of contusion continues to develop in the brain even after the impact of the blast wave on the body.

  • Conventional MRI and CT scans available in Ukrainian hospitals usually do not show a contusion.

What symptoms indicate a concussion

If a person came under the influence of an explosive wave, the following may indicate a concussion:

  • loss of consciousness,

  • nausea and vomiting,

  • severe headache,

  • memory loss,

  • disorientation in space,

  • rapid heartbeat,

  • a sharp change in psycho-emotional state, etc.

What are the degrees of contusion

  1. Light. Its symptoms are stuttering, tremors and numbness of the limbs (fingers, toes), hearing impairment.

  2. Medium. Complete deafness, partial paralysis of the limbs, lack of reaction of the pupils to light.

  3. Heavy. It is characterized by loss of consciousness, intermittent breathing, convulsions or involuntary movements of hands and limbs, possible bleeding from the mouth or ears.

Importantly. All of these symptoms can develop for a long time after a concussion, even if the injury seems minor at first. Therefore, in case of a concussion, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

In addition, long-term effects of a concussion can develop regardless of the severity of the initial injury. Long-term consequences include impaired memory, concentration, impaired perception of information, etc.

What about the brain

Biophysicist Iryna Oliynyk characterizes the processes that occur in the brain during a concussion as follows:

  • Cavitation occurs. In fact, it is a process of bubbling in the brain (like air bubbles in water behind the propeller of a steamship).

  • Hydrodynamic impact (this is similar to a children's game, when balloons filled with water are thrown to the ground. The balloons are deformed – the brain is deformed according to a similar principle).

  • Counterattack (it's like poking an egg in its shell – the yolk will bounce off one wall and hit the other. The same thing happens with the brain at the cellular level).

  • Electromagnetic radiation, thermal influence. There is a protein in the brain that is affected by heat. Iryna Oliynyk characterizes this process as irreversible.

What are the consequences of these processes

The consequences may be:

  • disruption of blood circulation in the brain – because the smallest capillaries are destroyed,

  • increased intracranial pressure, memory impairment,

  • the formation of scars and adhesions in the brain, which leads to inhibition of mental activity,

  • increased sensitivity of the body to nervous stimuli: aggression, tremors, panic, loss of consciousness due to sounds,

  • hearing loss, loss of coordination, retinal detachment, etc.

Iryna Oliynyk notes that due to the lack of sufficient awareness of treatment, patients with concussions are not provided with adequate conditions for recovery.

"This entire set... is treated in a week and the boys are sent back to the front, and they are "wedged" there – the brain cannot withstand lack of sleep, emotional overload, and it cannot withstand sounds. The boys are a danger not only to themselves, but also to their brothers. Imagine sending a high-spirited person to the front? It's somewhat the same. Only, I think, it's scarier – the doctors said: "Healthy", – says biophysicist Iryna Olynyk.

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