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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

According to Science Daily,
While many people believe that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) amounts to feeling gloomy in the winter, a University of Rochester research review emphasizes that SAD is actually a subtype of major depression and should be treated as such.
As our regular readers know, this is a topic close to Jack's heart, since SAD was the reason he left his Jesuit training many years ago.
Lead author Stephen Lurie, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also noted that SAD is sometimes missed in the typical doctor's office setting.

"Like major depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder probably is under-diagnosed in primary care offices," Lurie said. "But with personalized and detailed attention to symptoms, most patients can be helped a great deal."
You can read the whole article here.

This week from Reuters:
Just a modest amount of mental stimulation can go a long way toward warding off Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers who created mice genetically modified to get a condition similar to it.

Researchers at the University of California-Irvine studied hundreds of mice altered to make them develop abnormalities known as plaques and tangles in brain tissue that are considered hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease in people.
And further:
"The remarkable thing was that just by learning infrequently, they still had a very dramatic effect on the Alzheimer's disease pathology," said Kim Green, one of the researchers.
Read the complete article here.

We thought it a good idea to remind our readers of just how many TBIs occur in the U.S. each year. Here are some stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

TBIs contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability annually.

Of the 1.4 million who sustain a TBI each year in the United States:

* 50,000 die;
* 235,000 are hospitalized; and
* 1.1 million are treated and released from an emergency department.1

Among children ages 0 to 14 years, TBI results in an estimated:

* 2,685 deaths;
* 37,000 hospitalizations; and
* 435,000 emergency department visits annually.1

The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown.

For a LOT more information about TBIs, follow this link.

According to their Web site, "Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS) has been servicing the nation with high-quality, specialized, post-acute traumatic brain injury rehabilitation services for over 25 years." The Centre has program locations in California and Texas. Their Web site offers a lot of information and resources about TBI. You can check it out here.

How dangerous is soccer? Does "heading the ball" cause brain injuries? The Orlando Sentinel ran a recent article that looks for the truth behind the controversy. You can read it here.

An injury to the brain can be devastating. When brain cells die, whether from head trauma, stroke or disease, a substance called glutamate floods the surrounding areas, overloading the cells in its path and setting off a chain reaction that damages whole swathes of tissue. Glutamate is always present in the brain, where it carries nerve impulses across the gaps between cells. But when this chemical is released by damaged or dying brain cells, the result is a flood that overexcites nearby cells and kills them.

A new method for ridding the brain of excess glutamate has been developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science. This method takes a completely new approach to the problem, compared with previous attempts based on drugs that must enter the brain to prevent the deleterious action of glutamate.

Read the rest of the article at Science Daily.

The commonly used anesthetic isoflurane can lead to the death of brain cells and the production of amyloid-beta plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, Harvard researchers report in the January 2007 Journal of Gerontology. Read what Medline Plus has to say.

Individuals who take in higher levels of the nutrient folate through both diet and supplements may have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the January 9th issue of Archives of Neurology. By the year 2047, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease is expected to quadruple, according to background information in the article. Delaying the onset of this neurodegenerative disease would significantly reduce the burden it causes. Read a synopsis of the article here.

Treatment with blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers appears to improve the severity of central sleep apnea in patients with chronic heart failure, according to study findings reported in the latest issue of the journal Chest. Central sleep apnea is one of Jack's 31 Conditions. Read more of the article here.

"While evidence-based medicine's emphasis on randomized controlled trials has many benefits, researchers and clinicians have found that this focus may be too limited for complex systems such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and other approaches to healing," said Wayne B. Jonas, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Samueli Institute and the guest editor for Integrative Cancer Therapies, January 2007 issue.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that Jack supports complementary and alternative medicines and credits them with much of his pain relief and increased mobility. Continue reading the article here.

Scientists last week reported the discovery of a new source of human stem cells that have the capability to develop into many different types of cells, including muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells. These stem cells, found in amniotic fluid, could one day lead to a readily available supply of stem cells that don't come with the ethical problems surrounding embryonic stem cells.

Continue reading this article here. Or switch to Jack's other blog to read more about embryonic stem cells and the ongoing controversy.

A drug used to treat epilepsy has been found to significantly improve tremors, motor fluctuations, and other involuntary movements, or dyskinesias, in patients with Parkinson disease, according to a study published in the January 2, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Continue reading the article here.

In a possible contradiction to common belief that a person's body mass index, immune responses and stressful life events are factors that may cause narcolepsy, a comprehensive review published in the January 1st issue of the journal SLEEP finds that, as with other diseases characterized by selective cell loss, narcolepsy may be caused by environmental exposures before the age of onset in genetically susceptible individuals. Continue reading the full article in "Sleep", January 1, 2007.

Two novel treatments -- a basic compound found in every cell in the body and an extract of green tea -- may prevent brain damage caused from stroke, according to two studies in rats led by a researcher at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Continue reading the full article here.

Low to moderate blood alcohol levels improve the chance of survival for people brought into emergency rooms with traumatic brain injuries, a Canadian study finds.The death rate among the 1,158 patients in the study was 24 percent lower for those with moderate blood alcohol levels than those with no alcohol in their blood. But the death rate for those with high levels was 73 percent higher than for those with no blood alcohol. Continue reading the full article here.

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

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