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Navigation: SOS Sisson > Traumatic Injury Blog
Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
A hug is duct tape for the soul.
Monday, May 31, 2010
What happened to study on military's brain injury assessment tool?
GovernmentExecutive.com published an interesting article last week that raised some serious questions about how the military decides which assessment tool they're going to use in combat situations. Sounds to me like something funny was going on with their latest study (results have never been published); maybe they didn't like the results? Here's an excerpt:
Senior Defense Department officials have stressed repeatedly in public they are doing everything they can to provide the best care possible to U.S. troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that might not be the case for the tens of thousands of troops who have experienced some form of brain injury.Read the complete article here. (It's kind of long but quite interesting.) And whatever is, or was, going on with that study, I certainly hope that those in charge keep the welfare of our service men and women at the forefront of their decisions. Cost-cutting or favoritism deserve no place in selecting the best assessment tool possible. Our troops are giving a lot; they have earned the best medical care this country can provide.
Reduced Melatonin Associated With Sleep Disturbance in Traumatic Brain Injury
MedScape Today reports:
A new study using polysomnography confirms sleep disturbances in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), including increased wake after sleep onset (WASO) and reduced sleep efficiency, an average of 14 months after their injury compared with healthy control subjects.Read the complete article.
10 Things to Remember This Memorial Day
The war in Iraq is in its seventh year. The war in Afghanistan, in its ninth year, is the longest war in our history. Our thanks to AlterNet for the following information:
1. To date, there have been 90,955 documented U.S. troop casualties in the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
2. The Department of Defense last year warned that as many as 20 percent of veterans (360,000) may have suffered traumatic brain injury from IED blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
3. 508,152 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are patients in the VA system. Thousands more are waiting as much as a year for VA treatment for serious ailments including traumatic brain injury.
4. Every day, five U.S. soldiers attempt suicide, a 500 percent increase since 2001.
5. Every day 18 U.S. veterans attempt suicide, more than four times the national average.
6. Female veteran suicide is rising at a rate higher than male veteran suicides.
7. A 2004 study of veterans with PTSD reported that 71 percent of women seeking treatment said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving in the military.
8. The number of U.S. service men and women killed in Afghanistan has doubled in the first quarter of 2010. compared to the same quarter last year.
9. 2,052,405 service men and women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Over 40 percent of them have been deployed two or more times.
10. Estimates of civilian deaths from violence in Iraq alone range from a conservative 105,000 (Iraq Body Count project) to over 1.2 million (UK pollster Opinion Research Business), with estimates by Johns Hopkins at 655,000.
Read the entire article.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
After Head Injury, Woman Speaks with Foreign Accent
Here's something you don't read about every day. Can you imagine waking up and speaking with a foreign accent? An accent from a language you don't even know? I'd heard about this strange syndrome before, but never knew too much about it. I can certainly see how this could severely impact someone's life.
From The Washington Post:
Some people fall on their heads and wake up with their memories wiped out. A few revive with their personalities totally changed. Others die. Robin Jenks Vanderlip fell down a stairwell, smacked her head and woke up speaking with a Russian accent.Read the whole article.
What you talkin' about, Willis? Actor Gary Coleman Died Following a Brain Injury
Some sad news. According to L.A. Weekly Blogs:
Actor Gary Coleman died at a Provo, Utah hospital of a brain hemorrhage Friday, possibly after family members decided to take him off life support, according to various reports. He reportedly fell inside his home and hit his head Wednesday before being rushed to a hospital, where he remained. He was 42.Rest in peace, Gary Coleman.
Keep reading the article.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Lives Altered by Brain Injury
From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have drawn more attention to the plight of brain-injury survivors, as has the NFL's recent acknowledgment that some of its players are suffering neurological consequences from repeated concussions. But our health policies and treatment practices have yet to catch up to the staggering toll of this complex and insidious condition.
Five million Americans are living with disabilities from brain injuries. There are 80,000 to 90,000 new long-term disabilities from brain injuries each year, and a new traumatic brain injury is sustained every 23 seconds.
For all our lifesaving modern technology and medicine, we know little about brain-injury survivors' lives. How do they cope? How can they find new meaning and purpose in life? And how can we help them?
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Series of Articles on Traumatic Brain Injury Provide Good Overview
The Daily Times of Maryland is running a series of articles on Traumatic Brain Injury this month. The author, Paul Rendine, has this to say about them:
Several years ago, I wrote a series of articles about traumatic brain injuries. Surprisingly to me, I received one of the largest numbers of comments and questions -- more than 67 -- during the life of that series. I thought that this month might be the best time to both review those comments, while updating the current scientific, medical and rehabilitation programs that seem now to provide the best outlook or answers for this least understood but still highly prevalent disability.Just click on one of the dates below to link to that day's article.
Excerpt from May 2, 2010 article:
As I write this, traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem in America, especially among male adolescents and young adults ages 15-24, as well as among elderly people of both sexes 75 years and older. Children aged 5 and younger are also at high risk for TBI, vis-à-vis shaken baby syndrome, for example.
Excerpt from May 9, 2010 article:
Skull fractures can cause bruising of brain tissue called a contusion. A contusion is a distinct area of swollen brain tissue mixed with blood released from broken blood vessels. A contusion can also occur in response to shaking of the brain back and forth within the confines of the skull, an injury called contrecoup. This injury often occurs in car accidents after high-speed stops and in shaken baby syndrome, a severe form of head injury that occurs when a baby is shaken forcibly enough to cause the brain to bounce against the skull.
Excerpt from May 16, 2010 article:
Sometimes, health complications occur in the period immediately following a TBI. These complications are not types of TBI, but are distinct medical problems that arise as a result of the injury to the brain. Although complications are rare, the risk increases with the severity of the trauma.
Excerpt from May 23, 2010 article:
Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the patient. Some common disabilities include problems with cognition (thinking, memory and reasoning), sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell), communication (expression and understanding) and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out and social inappropriateness).
Veterans with Brain Injuries Still Fighting for Help
This article from The Miami Herald makes my blood boil. There is no excuse, after all this time, for the Veteran's Administration to continue dropping the ball like this.
Nearly 30,000 veterans have suffered some kind of traumatic brain injury in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, an estimated 2,000 of them severe enough to put the warriors into comas or leave them with severe disabilities. Yet more than eight years after the invasion of Afghanistan, testimony before Congress shows that veterans still suffer yawning gaps in coverage for what's become the conflicts' signature wound.
"For the average service member or family member that asks, 'Can we do this?' the automatic answer is no," he said. "Can we get that service locally? No. Can we go to an outside rehabilitation facility? No."It's especially reprehensible considering these injuries were received while the patients were serving our country in a war. Definitely worth calling or writing Congress about. Let them know that our vets deserve better, much better, than this!
Read the entire article.
After Warning Stroke, Bret Michaels Still Trying to Make "Celebrity Apprentice" Finale
This is a follow-up to our April 25th post on a brain hemorrhage suffered by Bret Michaels (front man for the rock band Poison, star of reality show Rock of Love, and a contestant on this season's Celebrity Apprentice) .
From People Magazine:
According to his doctor, Michaels was readmitted to the hospital this week after experiencing numbness on the left side of his body, particularly to his face and hands.Now, Bret is enroute to New York from Arizona, hoping to make it to the finale of "Celebrity Apprentice," where he is one of two finalists. Donald Trump is to announce a season's winner tonight.
His private jet left Arizona this morning, but made an unscheduled stop in Nashville because Michaels was "complaining of a headache, lower back pain and some cramping in his legs," sources at the airport told PEOPLE. Michaels reboarded the plane after a brief stop and was reported again on his way to New York.
It's too soon to tell whether this decision was too risky, and if Michaels put his health in serious jeopardy by flying across country so soon after a stroke. For now we wish him good luck and best wishes for a complete recovery.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Eastern Oregon Football Player Dies From Practice Head Injury
Another sports casualty, this one from college football.
The Huffington Post, May 10, 2010:
It was a difficult weekend for Eastern Oregon University. On Sunday, Dylan Steigers, a 21 year-old transfer from the University of Montana, passed away from injuries sustained during a spring football scrimmage.Read the entire article.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Safety Helmets Save Lives, Prevent Traumatic Brain Injury
WASHINGTON, May 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --
Emergency physicians are urging the public to put helmets on as outdoor activities increase and temperatures warm up. May is motorcycle safety month and a prime opportunity to remind the public about the importance of safety helmets. Helmets save lives and reduce the risk of brain injury, the nation's emergency physicians said today. They see firsthand the tragic consequences of people who don't wear them.Keep reading article.
Female Head Injuries on the Rise
From Norwich Bulletin:
Over the past 30 years, the number of women participating in team sports has steadily increased. Many now begin as young girls and continue through college and into the professional ranks. While this expanded involvement has been a positive step, the number of catastrophic injuries in women has also risen.Read article.
Obama Signs Bill to Improve Care for Military Vets with TBI
A congressional bill aimed at improving care for U.S. military veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injuries - considered the signature wounds of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts - was signed into law Wednesday in the White House by President Barack Obama.Keep reading article.
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