Toxic Exposures And Brain Injury

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There are countless toxic substances which are known to cause neurological problems. Short-term exposure to excessive amounts of these substances is known to cause brain damage. Long-term exposure to small amounts can cause brain damage as well.

Many metals are known to cause brain damage and injury. Lead is one of the most dangerous toxic metals. Lead poisoning can cause brain damage in severe cases. Most often, lead poisoning results from exposure to lead-based paint, chips, and dust as well as from lead plumbing and other items found in old homes. It is most common among small children and can even be deadly. It is important to seek medical attention if exposed to high concentrations of lead. Some of the neurological deficits it can cause are wrist or foot drop, stunted brain development, and decreased motor speed and strength. Blood tests can be performed to see if there is ongoing exposure, and the seriousness of the exposure is estimated based on the level of lead found in the blood.

Brain damage can also be caused by mercury. Mercury poisoning may also occur if someone is exposed to mercury for an overly excessive amount of time. Mercury can have a damaging effect in its elemental form. Also, mercury compounds are hazardous. It affects the basal ganglia and the visual centers of the occipital lobe, involving the cerebellum. The affects it has are breathing problems, clumsiness, tremor and mental dulling, motor slowing, as well as short term memory deficits. Along with severe brain damage, mercury poisoning can affect the kidneys, the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and many vital organs. Mercury can be found in foods, water, and some other sources. Medical treatment should be sought if you have been exposed to mercury. Mercury levels can be detected by an analysis of urine.

Another metal that has been known to cause brain damage is manganese. Manganese poisoning usually occurs within workers over a longer period of time. With manganese exposure, a person's body movements can be highly affected. Manganese can be found in foods and in water. Brain injury and damage resulting from exposure to manganese is uncommon, but some of its effects are drowsiness, dizziness, clumsiness, trembling and difficulty learning, as well as sleep disturbance and nightmares. It is important to avoid manganese in excessive amounts.

There are complex organic compounds that can be found in paints and thinners and glues that have the ability to cause neurological problems. One in particular is Toluene, which can result in dementia, visual problems, brain atrophy, and balance and coordination problems. Some other side effects are headaches, dizziness, mental confusion and fatigue. Emotional problems have been linked to exposure to solvents, such as depressive tendencies, social withdrawal and anxiety. It can also result in Alzheimer's Syndrome.

Other common cases of brain injury and damage result from exposure to pesticides and carbon monoxide. Pesticides are used for killing various bugs and other insects. They are used regularly on farms. There are numerous pesticides and many of them are proven to have neurological effects on humans. Pesticide poisoning can occur due to ingestion, inhalation, and even skin contact. It is important to use safety protection when using or working with pesticides. Pesticide poisoning should be treated immediately.

Unfortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is also quite common in the U.S. It can be fatal in large amounts. Carbon monoxide is not easily detected by people. There is no smell, color, or taste associated with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide detectors can be used in homes, however, to alert residents to its presence. Medical treatment is necessary for carbon monoxide poisoning. Those who survive carbon monoxide poisoning show a difficulty learning, a decrease in mental abilities, and other forms of neurological damage because of lack of oxygen. Other changes can include dementia, incontinence, irritability, depression, and headaches.


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