Concussion of the Brain or Spinal Cord

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Concussion of the Brain or Spinal Cord


an injury to the brain or spinal cord caused by a trauma.

Concussion of the brain is accompanied by loss of consciousness, vomiting, and memory disturbances. The clinical symptoms are regarded as manifestations of the changes that occur in the physicochemical properties of the medulla and in the colloid equilibrium of cellular proteins as a result of a sudden, temporary increase in intracranial pressure at the time of injury. In mild concussion there is a transient loss of consciousness, after which the individual’s condition is satisfactory. In severe concussion the skin becomes pallid, pupilar reaction to light decreases, and the pulse rate either slows or quickens. Individuals may suffer from adynamia, headache, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and an inability to recall the events that occurred immediately preceding the injury. In brain contusion and intracranial hemorrhages, prolonged unconsciousness is accompanied by severe respiratory and cardiovascular disturbances.

Concussion of the brain is treated with hypnotics, sedatives, and other symptomatic drugs. Bed rest and quiet are important. In cases of brain edemas, the excess water is drained. Intubation and tracheostomy are used with respiratory disturbances to aspirate mucus from the respiratory tract and to introduce oxygen. The prognosis is usually favorable. Residual effects in the form of traumatic encephalopathy are possible. If the injury is severe, the outcome depends on whether the brain suffered other injuries, for example, contusion or hemorrhage.

Concussion of the spinal cord usually results from an injury to the spine. It is characterized by transient and insignificant motor dysfunction and sensitivity disorders. Treatment is symptomatic, and the prognosis is favorable.


Mnogotomnoe rukovodstvo po nevrologii, vol. 8. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.