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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
A hug is duct tape for the soul.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
New Research Shows Music Benefits Brain
From Natural News:
Northwestern University scientists have pulled together a review of research into what music -- specifically, learning to play music -- does to humans. The result shows music training does far more than allow us to entertain ourselves and others by playing an instrument or singing. Instead, it actually changes our brains.
Read the entire article.
VA's "Emerging Consciousness" Programs See More Comatose Patients Awaken
From ABC News:
Army Ranger Cory Remsburg was thrown like a rag doll into an Afghanistan canal Oct. 1 by the blast from a 500-pound roadside bomb, the right side of his head caved in by shrapnel. After a medical evacuation and six surgeries at military hospitals in Afghanistan, Germany and Bethesda, Md., Remsburg arrived at [Tampa's] James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in November in a vegetative state.Read the entire article.
Pentagon investigates allegations of research misconduct in TBI clinical trial
From The Center for Public Integrity:
The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is reviewing allegations of research misconduct in a mild traumatic brain injury clinical trial with U.S. Marines in Iraq, according to documents and interviews.Read the entire article.
Monday, July 26, 2010
A New Book for Caregivers
The Caregiver's Path To Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can't
Viki Kind, 216 pages, Greenleaf Book Group (July 1, 2010)
Wouldn't it be a relief to know you are making the right decisions and doing right by the person in your care? Whether you have a loved one who can't make his or her own decisions or you are a healthcare professional, you know how difficult--even heartbreaking--it can be to make decisions for others. Feeling confident that you're made the right decision would be a welcome relief from the worry and guilt you may be feeling.Author Notes:
Viki Kind, MA, is a clinical bioethicist, medical educator, and hospice volunteer. She is a renowned lecturer, who inspires healthcare professionals throughout the United States to have integrity and compassion and teaches them techniques to improve communication about end-of-life care. She is the co-creator of the nationally distributed DVD, The Trusted Advisor: Relate, Respect and Respond, which focuses on improving the senior patient's medical experience. Patients, families, and healthcare professionals have come to rely on Viki's practical approach to dealing with challenging healthcare dilemmas.
Link to Amazon to buy this book. Or visit the publisher at Greenleaf Book Group LLC
Viki's Web site has lots more information on caregivers and ethics, plus many helpful resources. Definitely worth a look.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
TBI Warrior Wants to Make a Difference
Jack received a very nice note today from the wife of "TBI Warrior", a soldier who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury. She thanked Jack for his blog and for his advocacy on behalf of TBI survivors and their families.
Her husband, an Afghanistan Campaign Veteran and an Iraq Campaign Veteran, started a blog in April called TBI Warrior. He plans to chronicle his recovery process, and so far I think he's doing a very good job.
Thank you, TBI Warrior, for your courage and your sacrifice. I hope you don't mind our reproducing your first post here, so others might find your inspirational blog and benefit from it.
Hello everyone, my intention for making this blog is to make it informational and educational. Throughout my healing process I have had many obstacles on the way (which I will let you all know in the future days), it has not been easy. Eventually I will post helpful links to help others. I will like others to share their different experiences here, so we can bring the TBI community together as we facilitate resources and information.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
NFL shares results of helmet testing with players
From The Washington Post:
The NFL sent results of its concussion-related helmet testing to teams Friday, with instructions for the information to be shared with players.Read the entire article.
NFL Sets New Return-to-Play Standards to Beat Concussions
The NFL is serious about brain injuries and continues searching for ways to protect NFL players from concussions. From The Washington Post:
Last year, Commissioner Roger Goodell required a player who suffers a concussion to be cleared by an outside neurologist before participating in another game or practice. Goodell also notified teams that a player no longer could return to a game or a practice if he was showing any symptoms of a concussion.In addition to these changes, "the league and union are discussing a reduction in the number of offseason practices and restrictions on hitting in practices during training camp and the regular season." Also in the works is new helmet technology and the possible elimination of the three-point stance.
Read the entire article.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
My Journey Through The Maze of Head Injury
This post is by Mary Burgess-Smith, who has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Center for Humanistic Studies and is the mother of a child with a traumatic brain injury. She is the author of T and Me: Road Without a Map. Mary resides with her husband and daughter in Birmingham, Michigan. We welcome her to Jack's TBI Blog, and hope she'll be a frequent contributor.
My journey through the maze of my daughter’s head injury is a continuing process. In reflecting back through the years, we found the greatest lack to be in rehabilitation centers. The people who had the most interaction with my daughter Tania often were the ones expressing the least love and concern. All too often it was only a job for them. These aides often work for minimum wage and the turnover is tremendous. There is very little incentive to learn more about brain injury; nor are workshops usually offered.
On the other hand, these same rehabilitation centers bill the insurance companies a great deal of money. Obviously, the money goes to the top for people who have little interaction with their brain-injured clients. We found clients sitting around, with no interaction coming from anyone. The staff was chatting and selecting which television show they wanted to watch.
I saw a positive change with a recent physical therapy admission for Tania recently. This could be due to my request for her own staff.
I am thinking how my perception has changed over the long years. This has a great deal to do with my expectations. When she finally woke from her coma, it was long after the medical profession offered any hope for her. My thought was “just take good care of her”. This quickly changed to “she woke up; anything is possible.” For me there were now endless possibilities. Of course, this proved unrealistic. My elation about her waking from the coma caused me to think this way.
Sometimes there appears to be lacking a bit of common sense in the medical profession. Tania seems to need a lot of sleep. Her psychiatrist keeps “tweaking“ her medications trying to find a balance between Tania going to sleep at night and not being too sleepy during the day. When I let her sleep until she wakes up, I find she needs about twelve hours of sleep. Also, in my research I found that Vitamin D helps with chronic fatigue in the brain injured. I have added this supplement. In realizing what her body has gone through and continues to go through, this need for extra sleep is not surprising. When I see how much effort it takes for her to walk, it looks exhausting.
My thinking about Tania and spirituality has also changed. She attends a class called “Gems” on Sunday mornings. This is a special needs church class run by our friends who have a Downs Syndrome daughter. Their daughter Becca has become close with Tania, and they “hang out” at least once a month. Seeing Tania in Gems class is truly amazing. She looks up and seems transfixed. Her face is full of light and peace.
When I read to her from a novel of an Amish family, fear of death came up and Tania shook her head no. I remember that she had a near death experience following her accident. I also puzzle about her nine months in a coma, and I wonder what was going on within her.
I have recently been reminded of the changing nature of brain injury. Tania had a seizure, the only one she has had. Her motor skills are not as good as before, and her swallowing necessitates the use of thickening for liquids like the Diet Pepsi she so loves. I am wondering what the future holds in store for us. She is such a “trouper”. She retains her pleasant disposition in spite of her many limitations.
A constant for me having a brain-injured child is stress. It is part of the continuum and always there. It bombards the family who has a brain-injured child. I am sure I can speak for other mothers in this situation: we are usually more overwhelmed than are other family members. Stress is a fact of life for everyone, but our families are totally immersed in it and can’t get away from it. Anything we can do to manage stress is important. I have found simplifying, organizing, time-savers, and especially support networks are the most helpful.
Mary Burgess-Smith, PhD
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Sunday, July 18, 2010
TBI Support Groups in Florida
If you or someone close to you has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a TBI support group can offer invaluable assistance and support. The Brain Injury Association of Florida (BIAF) has a list of all Florida support groups on its web site. The site offers a lot of helpful information and resources, so I urge Florida residents to check it out.
If you live in another state, here's a list of links to Brain Injury Associations across the country. That's the best place to start your search for a support group near you. Thanks to the Brain Injury Association of America for keeping this up to date.
Studies Halted at Columbia University Brain Lab
According to The New York Times:
Columbia University has quietly suspended research at a nationally prominent brain-imaging center and reassigned its top managers after federal investigators found that it had routinely injected mental patients with drugs that contained potentially dangerous impurities.Read the entire article.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Bad News for Women: Obesity impairs brain
From the Winnipeg Free Press:
Obesity isn't just bad for the heart. It's also bad for the brain. New research shows the heavier a woman, the worse her brain and memory function.Until now, we've always been told that "weight gain in the area around the waist (apple type) is more dangerous than weight gained around the hips and flank area (pear type). " Now it seems like our only answer is to lose weight, no matter what our body type.
"Overall, obesity appears to be directly associated with cognitive function in post-menopausal older women," researchers report in a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.Okay, ladies. Sounds like it's time for us to hit the gym!
Read the entire article.
Get a PhD in Traumatic Brain Injury in Dublin, Ireland
Employer: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Type: PhD Studentship
Posted: July 15, 2010
Expires: September 13, 2010
A Ph.D. Studentship in the laboratory of Prof. Nikolaus Plesnila and funded through a Science Foundation Ireland Principle Investigator award is available for commencement in October. The stipend for this position is €18,000 per annum.
We are interested in hearing from highly-motivated and enthusiastic science graduates who wish to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in biomedical sciences and imaging, with a strong translational medical research basis.
Project title: In vivo imaging characterisation of inflammatory response following TBI
Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) consists of two phases: an immediate phase in which damage is caused as a direct result of the mechanical impact; and a late phase of altered biochemical events that results in delayed tissue damage during which therapeutic intervention is possible. Amongst other factors, a strong inflammatory reaction takes place which may contribute to the secondary brain damage.
Objective: The first part of the project will be to evaluate the time course and number of inflammatory cells adhering to the cerebrovascular endothelium in deep brain vessels after traumatic brain injury. This will be investigated in vivo by multi-photon microscopy. In the second part of the project the student will a) monitor the effect of various drugs on leukocyte-endothelial interaction in vivo and b) determine their effect on secondary brain damage via histology and functional outcome.
Schwarzmaier SM, Kim SW, Trabold R, Plesnila N. Temporal profile of thrombogenesis in the cerebral microcirculation after traumatic brain injury in mice. Neurotrauma. 2010 Jan;27(1):121-30.
Interested candidates are invited to send a C.V., a brief cover letter indicating their specific interests, and a list of up to three references, prior to the 2nd August 2010 via e-mail.
Visit NatureJobs.com to submit an application.
Studies demonstrate novel neuronal response to traumatic brain injury
The Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania recently published a study in the international neuroscience journal Cerebral Cortex describing how nerve cells change their structure in response to the trauma.
Menzies’ Senior Research Fellow, Dr Tracey Dickson, says that accumulating evidence indicates that damage to the adult brain causes an array of cellular responses and that the brain may retain a capacity for structural changes and some degree of healing.Read the entire article.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Dept. of Defense Opens Brain Injury Center in Maryland
The Defense Department opened a $65 million medical center [a few weeks ago] to serve as a research and treatment hub for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, the unseen "signature wounds" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.According to their Web site,
the National Intrepid Center for Excellence (NICoE) is a 72,000 square foot, two-story facility located on the Navy campus at Bethesda, Maryland, adjacent to the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, with close access to the Uniformed Services University, the National Institutes of Health, and the Veterans Health Administration. NICoE is designed to provide the most advanced services for advanced diagnostics, initial treatment plan and family education, introduction to therapeutic modalities, referral and reintegration support for military personnel and veterans with TBI, post traumatic stress, and/or complex psychological health issues. Further, NICoE will conduct research, test new protocols and provide comprehensive training and education to patients, providers and families while maintaining ongoing telehealth follow-up care across the country and throughout the world.
Visit the National Intrepid Center of Excellence Web site.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Brain injury ignites passion for art therapy
From The Miami Herald:
Concussions *Are* Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Concussion can occur as the result of many types of injuries: car accidents, falls, participation in high-speed sports, and others. Concussion may be described as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) because its consequences are not usually life-threatening, but it is the same type of injury as severe traumatic brain injury, and it must be taken seriously.Read the entire article.
Concussion Findings in High School and College Football Players Released
From PR Newswire:
BrainScope Company, Inc. today announced the release of clinical research findings resulting from a 2008-2009 football concussion study of high school and college athletes it supported. The results, published in a special edition "Biomarkers in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury" of the peer-reviewed Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, support the potential utility of the BrainScope device in development as a marker of recovery after sport-related concussion.Read the entire article.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
We're Still Learning About the Human Touch
Last week, Kathleen Parker wrote a column The Washington Post headlined "What's behind the human touch?" If you've read this blog for a while, you already know that Jack is a big believer in the healing qualities of touch. While Parker's article doesn't delve into touch's healing aspects, it does ponder some other "weighty" issues:
Sometimes it takes a scientific study to reveal the obvious. The latest discovery -- that touch influences how we perceive things -- is something like the warning on a steaming cup of coffee.Parker then muses on the tactile experience of reading and considers why reading on a computer is less satisfying.
Holding a book compares to nothing short of a baby's contact with his favorite blankie. Consistent with Ackerman's findings, a hardback is superior to a paperback precisely because it is more solid, weightier and, therefore, more permanent, more important, better.
Florida's Touch Research Institute:
was the first center in the world devoted solely to the study of touch and its application in science and medicine. The TRI distinguished team of researchers, representing Duke, Harvard, Maryland, and other universities, strive to better define touch as it promotes health and contributes to the treatment of disease. Research efforts that began in 1982 and continue today have shown that touch therapy has numerous beneficial effects on health and well-being.
More Funding for Preventive Treatments for Secondary Brain Damage
Edge Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that it has received $100,000 in financing from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to supplement an Edison Innovation R&D Grant of $500,000 awarded to Edge in November 2009. Edge will use the funding for further development of its novel treatments to prevent secondary brain damage that often occurs after hemorrhagic stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI).Read the entire article.
Finding Help Will be Easier for Vets with PTSD & TBI
From The Christian Science Monitor:
Read the entire article.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Pilot International Wants to "Protect Your Brain for Life"
According to their Web site, "Pilot International is an innovative volunteer service organization that does more than just have meetings and provide networking opportunities with friends and associates. Pilot members take an active part in making communities a better place to live ... today and tomorrow. The service focus of Pilot International is brain-related disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, chemical dependency, traumatic brain injuries, developmental, emotional, and mental disabilities."
There is also a foundation, the Pilot International Foundation, that supports Emergency Response Projects, research, and scholarship programs. Some of this support is in the form of matching grants.
Headquartered in Macon, GA, there are currently over 10,000 members in established clubs, in at least five countries. Locally, we have the Pilot Club of Tallahassee, Inc, although their Web site doesn't seem to be up to date. From the site:
The Pilot Club of Tallahassee is a part of Pilot International, a worldwide service organization founded in 1921. The Tallahassee club was chartered in 1935 and is still going strong.To find a Pilot Club near you, visit the Pilot International site, click on "Pilot" for a drop-down menu, and then click on "Find a club."
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Exploring & Healing Through Creative Expression
University of Washington's Traumatic Brain Injury Model System's and the Brain Injury Association of Washington second multimedia art exhibit, Recreating Me: Exploring & Healing Through Creative Expression, brings the experiences of brain injury survivors, family, and friends to life through drawing, music, painting, photography, poetry, sculpture, spoken word, and stories.
The 2nd Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Artist Showcase runs July 6 through July 11, 2010 at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. A 2010 show program will be published on the official website, available here.
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
The painting (above right) is from The Burke Museum site and is titled Composition #3 by Hillary Bassett Ross.
If you'd like to read an article about one of the artists and see some of his work, go here.
LinksTBI Film Reviews
TBI Book Reviews
Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
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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