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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

In the coming weeks Team Sisson will
explore treatment options in regenerative
medicine. We are concerned with who
is providing stem cell treatment for TBI,
the reputation of these treatment centers,
and how treatment centers will be regulated.
We'll review the risks and benifits. Moreover,
we'll interview those on the cutting edge
of regenerative medicine to determine
what hope there is in curing TBI.

Please join this discussion. Tell us
what your research has found and what
your opinions are on regenerative

After a car accident that left both my wife
and myself brain injured, our marriage disintegrated.
In an effort to save our relationship we went to
a marrage coulselor. The counselor had absolutely
no training in TBI and no insight into the life changes
that occur due to head injury.

The psychologist asked us to discuss our
childhood experiences, and attempted to
make links to our present situation based on
past relationships. What many theripists need to
understand is that TBI often creates a new
person. An angry person, a sad person - a
person who cannot remember 5 minutes ago.

In most states psychologists are not required
to take courses on Brain-Injured individuals.
Most of their training involves psychiatric
conditions and interpersonal dynamics.
Now while brain-injured individuals
may experience depression, anger and mood
swings - a psychologist is out of his/her
scope of practice in the treatment of a client
with TBI unless specifically trained.

Seeking the help of a a clinical nueropsychologist
is a better route. A nueropsychologist has the best
training in anatomy of the brain, it's processes and
pathology, and therefore has the best chance of helping
TBI clients make progress. For more about nueropsychologists
including how to find one - please visit this link.

Alternative Treatment for Auto Accident Trauma

Structural Integration is a complementary medical modality
that focuses on the organizational layer of the body’s tissue
called fascia. This technique is also known as Rolfing and
Somatic Ontology. It works by applying pressure to the body,
allowing the fascia to elongate.

Sixteen years after my auto accident I continue to receive treatment
for seat belt injury to my body and organs. After a recent structural
integration treatment, I was able to twist and maneuver much better
than before. My tennis game was notably improved. I also noted that
other therapies I was receiving for TBI (myosymmitries & chiropractic)
were more effective.

Prior to structural integrative treatment my torso felt rigid and I had
difficulty breathing. The practitioner helped loosen my rib cage allowing
my diaphragm to expand fully. Focus on the upper torso is common for
the first three sessions as it frees restrictions around the rib cage and
underlying organs.

The benefits of structural integration include increased mobility, ease of
breathing, improved alignment and pain reduction. Sessions last 90 minutes.
10 sessions are the recommended course of treatment.

The following links describe the history and practice of Structural Integration.

June 12, 2005
Anosmia and TBI

Anosmia is the inability to smell. The leading cause of permanent
Anosmia occurs from head injury secondary to an auto accident.
Other causes of Anosmia can be temporary or corrected. Prognosis
for TBI cases due to an auto accident is varied. According to the
Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia,
the ability to smell is seldom regained after the first year
due the severing of nerves in the brain. Yet many TBI survivors
overcome such odds and frequently regain abilities despite what
research indicates.

So much is lost when the sense of smell is gone. Odors can sway
emotions and arouse memories. The sense of smell connects us with
our most basic internal needs, including hunger, emotion, sex and
certain forms of memory. It warns us of dangers, such as
smoke-filled areas or spoiled food. Many TBI survivors with Anosmia
plan their airplane flights and hotel stays with extra caution,
since they are not able to smell smoke. And because TBI survivors
cannot detect gas leaks, they are advised to use electric appliances.

Smell also imparts information between people. Each person has
their own unique smell, and within weeks infants prefer the smell
of their mother. Adults additionally prefer the scent of their
loved ones. Further information between people occurs in the release
of Pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals released by the body
signaling reproductive behaviors, identifying individuals and
indicate aggression or submission.

At present the following treatments for Anosmia are offered:
Zinc and Lutein supplements
Cortisone based nasal spray

For more in depth etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and resources
visit the following sites:

Last night I went as an observer to the TBI Support Group meeting. While I can say with complete certainty that the group was beneficial I was surprised (shocked?) by the most beneficial aspect: patient to patient transference of knowledge. There were people there with head injuries from as early as 1989 that to this day have no concept of what the treatments are AND, even more shocking, the severity of their symptoms. One woman had been blown off by her insurance company and her doctor. For these reasons, amongst a few others, she simply had no concept of what she needed. While she received volumes of extremely helpful information, she nonetheless has been languishing in misery for a decade. Had a support group not been in place I would have to assume her attitude of "being a burden to [my] family" would no doubt end in the suicide that she mentioned. These support groups are also providing hope that while there might not be a complete recovery that it is possible to see improvements. With hope inspired there's really no way of measuring how powerful of an agent it can be.

It is important for nonprofit hospitals to continue support for programs that address community health and wellbeing. Nonprofit hospitals have a tradition of promoting public health and safety in addition to their acute care mission.

By “doing the right thing” for their communities, they are awarded a tax exemption that for-profit hospitals are not. Many nonprofit hospitals have a policy of not competing with existing organizations, yet they need to justify their tax-exempt status with the government.

June 12, 2005
Share Care

The most profound impact of TBI is often on the spousal union.
Oftentimes spousal roles and responsibilities drastically change,
necessitating a major life adjustment. TBI affects nearly every
aspect of an interpersonal relationship. Communication can be
a major challenge. Frequently physical relationships are affected
as TBI survivors lose their sex drive. Both the injured and their
spouse deal with intense feelings of shock, denial, anger, guilt
and depression. It takes time for a couple to adjust to new roles
and the changes in their spouse due to the injury.

A spouse or family member is the most important member of a
rehabilitation team. This caregiver often connects a TBI patient
with resources and services, which is no easy task.

The Upledger Clinic takes the caregiver position a step further
than case management, training spouses to be direct practitioners.
The Share Care 1 day seminars provide hands-on instruction in
cranial sacral massage. See Upledger’s class list here.
The therapeutic touch techniques taught in this course are used to
relieve pain and promote relaxation. Preventative medicine, through
nutrition and exercise, is also discussed.

Share Care achieves many things. It serves to empower caregivers
by literally taking part of the TBI treatment and recovery into their
own hands. So many survivors feel a sense of isolation and social
disconnect. Share Care is vital in that it provides a sense of
connectedness and serves to relieve symptoms. Share care also
saves money and time as it is an inexpensive remedy that can
occur in the patient’s own home.

For more on Caregiving and the role of a spouse in TBI treatment
and recovery, please visit the following sites:

TBI Film Reviews
TBI Book Reviews
Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
Brain Blog
Brain Blogger
SoapBlox/Chicago: Protecting Our Troops
Head Injury Survival Journal
Losing the Physical Self

Tower of Hanoi: Instructions for this popular puzzle can be viewed simply by clicking the Instructions button on that page.

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