Written by lifeslittlemysteries.com Thursday, 13 January 2011 09:53
It could take weeks to months to determine the extent of permanent damage from a brain injury like the one sustained by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in the tragic shooting that occurred Jan. 8 in Tucson, Ariz. So far, her doctors are optimistic—she can breathe on her own, and responds to verbal commands by wiggling her fingers and giving a thumbs up, and has shown movement on one side of her body, all of which are huge achievements this early in recovery.
Peter Rhee, the head of the University of Arizona Medical Center’s trauma unit where Giffords is being treated, said yesterday that she has a “101 percent chance of survival.”
But how does the brain patch itself up and regain function after a gunshot injury?
Two types of injuries typically occur with a gunshot to the head, Michael Alexander, a neurosurgeon and clinical chief of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told Life’s Little Mysteries. One is shear injury, caused as the bullet pierces the brain and tears tissue.