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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

 

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.

The paper, just published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, is a compilation of research findings from scientists all over the world who used all kinds of research methods. The bottom line to all these studies: musical training has a profound impact on other skills including speech and language, memory and attention, and even the ability to convey emotions vocally.

So what is it that musical training does? According to the Northwestern scientists, the findings strongly indicate it adds new neural connections -- and that primes the brain for other forms of human communication.


Read the entire article.

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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.

More than three months after being pulled from the water of the canal, Remsburg, 27, had emerged into consciousness. On Jan. 13, doctors said he was officially awake. Remsburg's reawakening is one of several unexpected developments being documented at four special Department of Veterans Affairs "emerging consciousness" programs here and across the nation. Brain-damaged patients reduced to vegetative states by illness, accidents or wounds are waking up.

This is not the stuff of Hollywood movies, where a stricken soldier suddenly sits upright in bed and begins chatting with his family. For Remsburg and dozens like him, the emergence into consciousness takes place over painful, frustrating weeks and months.

Yet the VA reports nearly a 70 percent success rate at seeing once-comatose patients return to consciousness at the centers — here and in Minneapolis, Richmond, Va., and Palo Alto, Calif.

For decades, doctors have considered patients in a coma or a vegetative state to be among the most confounding medical challenges because science provided no proven treatments for helping them regain consciousness. Even more frustrating, a recent study has uncovered brain activity behind the veil of listlessness. But the question remained — how to tease it out?

War offered an answer. A massive infusion of medical research money bankrolled VA plans to concentrate more medical staffers, more time and more cutting-edge therapies on troops with these severe brain injuries. The awakenings have infused this narrow field of medicine with hope, says Joseph Giacino, director of rehabilitation neuropsychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

"They [the VA] are in an excellent position to further advance the science," Giacino says. He and others believe this will focus additional research on more effective ways of nursing damaged patients back to consciousness, with payoffs beyond the military.

The nearly 70 percent VA success rate "certainly is above the national norm in the private sector," says Jonathan Fellus, director of brain injury rehabilitation at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey.

A review of 11 studies in the private sector showed the highest recovery rate for comatose patients was 54 percent; in five of those, recovery rates were lower than 10 percent. Cifu and VA colleagues say they need time to understand the reasons behind their success, and the role of their concentrated focus on physical and communication therapies, drug stimulants and intense monitoring.
Read the entire article.

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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.

Mild traumatic brain injury has affected at least 137,000 members of the armed services who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some estimates put the number much higher. The often-devastating malady can cause vertigo, migraines, loss of balance, hearing loss, and other problems affecting memory and mental focus. Mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, is often caused by the blast wave associated with improvised explosive devices detonating near U.S. military vehicles.

A Pentagon source told the Center that the suspected research misconduct involves the use of a dietary supplement – N-acetylcysteine – a readily available, over the counter antioxidant. The source requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the review. There were “some questions about how it was being administered” during the clinical trial that took place December 2008 through December 2009, said the source.

N-acetylcysteine is used to treat a variety of ailments from helping to decongest lungs to counteracting carbon monoxide poisoning. Most mild traumatic brain injury victims suffer from a loss of hearing and balance – anti-oxidants like N-acetylcysteine might counteract these effects if service members are promptly treated after blast exposure, some medical experts believe.

An estimated 80 service members, mostly Marines, were treated with the supplement, the source said. So far, there is no indication of harmful side effects due to the use of the supplement, the source added.

Read the entire article.

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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.

The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making offers tools and techniques that will limit your frustration and fears and help you make informed, respectful decisions. Extremely practical, yet also heartfelt, the book offers:

  • Four adaptable tools that make decision making a simple, step-by-step process
  • Guidlines to help you determine if your loved one or patient can make decisions, who should make the decisions, and how to make better decisions
  • Questions to use in almost any medical or quality-of-life situation that will help you gather all of the information you need
  • Techniques for improving communication between patients, families and caregivers
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.

Viki provides bioethics consultation and support for many hospitals in the Los Angeles area. She is also a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Bioethics Committee and the Southern California Bioethics Committee Consortium. She holds a master's degree in bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin and a bachelor's degree in speech communication from California State University and Northridge. She also has specialized training in mediation and cultural negotiation from Pepperdine University and UCLA.

Viki resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Ed, and her cat, BooBoo.


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.

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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.

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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.
I am still treated on a neuro rehabilitation program. It is expected that I will be there for another 6 months or so.
It has been 9 months after the injury, and I still feel the aftermath of it.

TO ALL OF YOU SUFFERING FROM A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY, I TELL YOU IT IS NOT THE END!!! TAKE THE HEALING PROCESS AS ONE TO REDISCOVER YOURSELF!!!

Starting today I will share with you my daily struggles and experiences. Somedays I will retrospect to share past experiences during this healing time.

I don't want to close this first posting without thanking my wife, Roxana, for been an outstanding support. Thank you, Roxana, for the love, patience and joy you bring to my life everyday. Thank you for caring. I LOVE YOU!!!!

Posted by TBI Warrior

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© Copyright by LoGoThEqUe
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.

League officials said they considered the testing of 16 helmet models to be a first step toward improving helmet technology in an attempt to prevent players from suffering concussions. The study, which was conducted by two independent laboratories, was supported by the NFL Players Association, which prepared a written summary of the testing results jointly with the league.

"We thought there was a substantial reason to believe this was valuable data, and the players' association felt this was important and should be shared with the players," said Jeff Pash, the NFL's executive vice president of labor. But "this is not the final word or anything close to the final word on helmets."

Read the entire article.

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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.

Protections have been extended for "defenseless" players during games. A runner whose forward progress has been stopped and a receiver who has made a catch but hasn't yet gathered himself cannot be hit in the head by an opponent's head, shoulder or forearm. Another new rule ends any play immediately when a ball carrier loses his helmet.
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.

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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.

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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

Please visit our web site.

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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.

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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.

The investigations found that the center — regarded by experts as the nation’s leader in the use of positron emission tomography, or PET, for psychiatric research — repeatedly violated Food and Drug Administration regulations over a four-year period.

The office under fire, the Kreitchman PET Center, on West 168th Street in Manhattan, has attracted millions of dollars in research funds from the federal government and pharmaceutical companies to study drug actions and the biology of brain disorders, among other things.

Many of its studies focus on patients with disorders like schizophrenia and severe depression, who are especially vulnerable to poorly prepared imaging drugs because the compounds can act on brain receptors involved in their illness.
Read the entire article.

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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.

The study -- based on data from the massive Women's Health Initiative hormone trials -- is being described as the first to look at the effect of obesity on brain function in women. For every one point hike in body mass index, a woman's cognitive score dropped one point.

And the effect was strongest in pear-shaped women who carry the excess fat around their hips.
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.

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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.

Reference:
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.

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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.

“Our data suggests that the cerebral cortex (the brain's outer layer of grey matter surrounding the cerebrum) is capable of significant remodelling following injury, specific to neuronal type,’ she said.

Menzies’ PhD student, Ms Catherine Blizzard says,“Interestingly, our studies demonstrate that neurons in the adult brain have an unappreciated capacity for remodelling away from the actual injury, and that these neurons are attempting to rewire the brain following an injury.”
Read the entire article.

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From WISH-TV.com:
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.

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda aims to destigmatize psychological and neurological problems among war veterans and instead cast their mental ailments as badges of honor, said New York real-estate magnate Arnold Fisher. His Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund raised the money to build and equip the curvy, two-story, glass-and-concrete structure.

"The work that will be done here will remove the profound veil that has fallen over these afflictions," said Fisher, speaking from a stage with 21 brain-injured or psychologically damaged service members seated behind him.

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Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said studies indicate that more than 10 percent of returning troops have suffered concussions and at least 12 percent have exhibited symptoms of combat stress, depression or other mental problems that can mimic brain injuries.

DeGraba said one of the center's goals is to better distinguish the source of such symptoms and treat them accordingly.

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.

Read the entire article.

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From The Miami Herald:

Shari Lynn Beame was 17 years old in 1988, looking forward to graduating from high school and becoming a reporter.

But those dreams were shattered on Jan. 14 as she was driving to her intern job at The Boca Raton News and a speeding car slammed into her Volkswagen Rabbit.

The impact propelled Beame 35 feet into the air, slamming her head onto the street. The brain injury left her paralyzed. For the next two years, Beame had to relearn everything, including walking and talking.

"I was 17 years old wearing diapers,'' she said.

She turned to art to communicate.

"It gave me the outlet for all of my emotions. I was just so tense, [had] so much anger,'' she said. "After I painted a picture, I was feeling relieved.''

Her recovery ignited a love for therapy. Now Beame, 40, of Coral Springs, is a certified mental health therapist specializing in art therapy.

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Traces of the accident remain. Faint scars are etched on Beame's neck from her tracheotomy. She occasionally slurs her speech and stumbles. "I still walk funny,'' Beame said, laughing.

But it doesn't stop her from climbing on a chair at the library and taping posters on the walls that read "Communication through art'' and "Art heals.''


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From Helium:
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.

Common symptoms of concussion or MTBI include: brief loss of consciousness, loss of memory, headache, confusion, vertigo, blurred vision, loss of concentration, and mood changes. Injured persons may experience all or none of these symptoms. The presence of any of these symptoms indicates the need for a prompt visit to the doctor. If you have experienced any blow to the head, even when none of these symptoms are present, it is still advisable to see a doctor for evaluation.
Read the entire article.

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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.

All athletes enrolled in the study underwent pre-season testing on cognitive functioning and postural stability, as well as studies utilizing the BrainScope device and technology in development. During the study's football season, the certified athletic trainer present on the sideline identified athletes as having sustained a concussion immediately after injury according to the study's injury definition and standardized criteria. Injured athletes and matched controls then underwent follow-up assessments of symptoms, cognitive functioning and balance, along with measurements of brain electrical activity at several time points post injury. Twenty-eight (28) athletes were found to have sustained a concussion, 7% of the study population of 396 athletes.

"The findings from this study suggest that the period of time it takes for the brain to fully recover at a physiological level after a sport-related concussion may persist beyond the point at which symptoms and other functional difficulties have resolved," said Dr. McCrea. "This brings significant implications to clinicians faced with determining an athlete's level of recovery and readiness to safely return to competition after concussion."
Read the entire article.

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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.

Just as everyone knows that spilling hot liquid on one's lap will produce a burning sensation, everyone knows that tactile sensations convey information about the object or person being touched. The question is: How do we interpret this information? And what actions might we take in response?

Joshua M. Ackerman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sought to answer those questions through a series of psychological experiments. He concluded that an object's texture, hardness and weight influence our judgments and decisions.

Again, the obvious: Weight conveys importance ("weighty issues") and hardness is associated with rigidity. At last we understand the church pew.

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.

But might touching words on a printed page vs. reading them online also be relevant to one's comprehension and judgment? Are words consigned to tangible and tactually rewarding paper more likely to register in our minds than those that float on hard tablets subject to the blinkering life span of a battery or extinguishable by a bolt of lightning?

Admit it: You print out the stories you really want to study. Think, too, how differently we consider a handwritten letter vs. an e-mail. Even an e-mail printed out seems more important -- more concrete -- than what we view on the screen. It is, alas, more human.

Read the entire article.


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.

The Touch Research Institute is located at the Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Mami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami Florida.

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From PR-USA.net:
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).

Secondary brain injury is an indirect result of a sudden brain injury (hemorrhagic stroke or TBI) which can damage neurons that were unharmed in the primary injury. While sudden brain injury results from processes initiated directly by the stroke or TBI, secondary brain injury occurs in the hours and days following the primary injury and plays a large role in the ultimate extent of brain damage and deaths. In sudden brain injury, 80% to 90% of victims survive the initial injury, but almost half suffer secondary brain damage in the days to weeks after the event.

Current treatments to prevent secondary complications caused by sudden brain injury are limited and minimally effective, largely due to the inability to deliver adequate doses of protective drugs to the specific site of injury in the brain.

Edge Therapeutics is a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company located at the Enterprise Development Center Incubator on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ. The company was founded in 2009 and is supported by private investors, the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Edge Therapeutics seeks to revolutionize treatment to prevent secondary brain damage after hemorrhagic stroke or TBI, by taking today's minimally effective off-patent drugs and delivering them directly to the brain via proprietary sustained-release formulations. The most advanced product, NimoGel™, consists of the generic calcium channel blocker nimodipine formulated in a biodegradable polymer carrier composed of FDA-approved materials. NimoGel™ is designed to be placed directly next to brain arteries after ruptured brain aneurysms or TBI to prevent vasospasm, a type of secondary stroke, and thereby improve patient outcomes. For more information on Edge Therapeutics, please visit www.edgetherapeutics.com.
Read the entire article.

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From The Christian Science Monitor:

Today, more than 150,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been officially diagnosed with PTSD. The number likely is higher because of the stigma attached to the disorder and also because some service members have sought out private treatment rather than through the Defense Department or Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

While some false claims no doubt have been filed, critics and veterans groups say many vets with legitimate claims have been denied adequate treatment or compensation because officials demanded documented proof of a specific trauma-causing incident. The RAND Corp. estimates that 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans (some 20 percent of the total) have symptoms of PTSD or major depression.

In his radio address Saturday, President Obama announced that the VA will streamline the process for soldiers to seek help and file claims for what he called the “signature injuries of today’s wars,” PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Read the entire article.

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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.

Pilot derives its name from the riverboat pilots who were able to steer a "true course" around obstacles and challenging conditions.

The mission of Pilot International is to improve the quality of life in communities throughout the world.

The Pilot Club of Tallahassee spearheads efforts in the arenas of brain disorders, not limited to, but including, Alzheimer's disease. Many of our projects help to aid and fund research of this debilitating enemy. In addition to Alzheimer's projects, we also actively educate young children how to protect their brain through a puppet show program known as BrainMinders®. We work in the local community supporting Gretchen Everhart School, and the Salvation Army Sharing Tree, among other venues.

In addition, the Pilot Club of Tallahassee sponsors Anchor Clubs in 3 local schools: Leon High School, Maclay School, and Chiles High School.

Brain Minders is the signature project for Pilot International [and is] focused on traumatic brain injury and brain disorders. The project encompasses a public service campaign designed to promote brain awareness; prevention education programs for children and adults; workshop and speakers bureau materials; a partnership with Project Lifesaver, a tracking program; and support for brain-related programs. The award-winning BrainMinders™ programs feature safety tips for children and are presented by Pilot Clubs around the world.

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."

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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.

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