Category Archives: memory

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“Brain injury survivors …”


“Brain injury survivors need to laugh at the things that happen. Even some of the most difficult times can be funny…at least when you reflect on what happened. Communication difficulty of various degrees occur with brain injury. This situation is an unfortunate communication barrier. I give details surrounding the situation so others can better understand what happens in the lives of brain injured survivors.” Edie, author, Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation

Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation

One of the resources that I have recently discovered is the “Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation” blog on WordPress! The blog is owned by Edie, a  Registered Nurse and member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses from Ohio, who is now a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivor.

Edie’s Story

Edie is a Rehabilitation Nurse that was assaulted at work. She eventually got treatment after nearly 20 years following her injury. She documented her journey through the American health care, legal, insurance, and Workers’ Compensation System showing what an ordinary American mother, spouse, nurse, and family had to go through before she had proper treatment.

She discusses how she restored her life through her determination and self rehabilitation. She indicates that she lives just 20 miles from world renowned healthcare facilities. After many twists and turns in her cold and complex case, and an ordeal that lasted for nearly 20 years, she finally got proper treatment 200 miles away from home!

Edie now shares her experience and educates survivors of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” (mTBI) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) about “Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation“. She speaks out to protect other nurses and healthcare workers, and advocates for patients through education.

Humor is Sometimes the Best Medicine!

Edie uses humor to maintain a level head even in dire circumstances. In a recent blog post titled, “Laughter as brain injury medicine – Permanent Hairdo? A Day in My Life. Keep Smiling!” she states:

“Brain injury survivors need to laugh at the things that happen. Even some of the most difficult times can be funny…at least when you reflect on what happened. Communication difficulty of various degrees occur with brain injury. This situation is an unfortunate communication barrier. I give details surrounding the situation so others can better understand what happens in the lives of brain injured survivors.”

I am already learning a lot from Edie’s posts on her “Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation” blog. I highly recommend that CTE, mTBI, and TBI survivors visit her blog to learn more. I will be reading her blog judiciously!

Read more: 

http://braininjuryselfrehabilitation.com/

There is Help for Battered Athletes and TBI patients!


A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain...

A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain injury

One of the doctors that has been at the forefront of the battle against traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is Dr. Daniel Amen. He has been working with athletes, military servicemen, and other brain trauma patients to provide a treatment regimen to help them to better cope with living with the effects of CTE and TBI — memory loss, dementia and depression. As Dr. Amen said recently, “My hope is that through increased awareness and education we can help these athletes before it’s too late.”

Since people with the CTE and TBI condition often do not have visible scars, it is hard for most people, including some physicians and other medical providers, to understand the extent to which short-term memory loss affects one’s ability to cope with daily living. Things that other people take for granted just takes much longer to do. Unless one is very organized, one can spend an inordinate amount of time looking for things that one needs on a daily basis. Just getting ready to leave the house for work or an appointment becomes a stressful  ordeal unless one has a routine that is not disturbed in any fashion.

Realization of the Consequences of Brain Trauma

It takes a while — maybe years for person with a CTE or TBI condition to fully understand that their brain no longer functions properly. Those that are lucky enough to have proper treatment may come to the realization sooner that those who do not receive treatment or worse still have to contend with skeptical or uncaring physicians and medical providers.

For instance, I have never had any neurological treatment or rehabilitation for the brain trauma that I sustained while working at Ameriprise Financial in July 2004. It took a number of years for me to realize that I had to take care of my own health rather than succumb to despair. I used my skills as a research analyst to search for articles on traumatic brain injuries so I could better understand what had happened to my brain and why I was experiencing short-term memory problems while my long-term memory was so crystal clear. In fact, I believe my creativity even increased as a result of the brain trauma resulting in a deluge of new and often very brilliant ideas. The only problem is that if I don’t write them down immediately,I would not be able to recall the  ideas after a short time. As I now sometimes joke that — my long-term memory is probably near genius level while my short term memory is significantly impaired. For someone that is particularly cerebral, with a background as a money market portfolio manager and an investment research analyst, one can only imagine my frustration with the situation. What I have essentially had to do is my own “self rehabilitation” using nutrition, naturopathic solutions, and coping mechanisms and systems that I have developed by myself which may not be the most efficient methods but nevertheless do work for me. Now I have the daunting task of going through an administrative hearing regarding the State of Washington‘s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I)‘s  premature termination of my medical benefits and I have to do it by myself, if I don’t get any legal help! A tall order for me but I am determined to go the distance to ensure that the State of Washington‘s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) ensures compliance with workplace safety standards and more importantly, that L&I changes the way it treats workplace traumatic brain injury cases. A traumatic brain injury is not tantamount to a broken limb and should not be treated as such!

Coping with the Effects of Brain Trauma

Ultimately, one has to come to terms with the fact that the brain trauma has caused a fundamental change in one’s brain function. The best way to deal with the effects of the trauma is to accept it, the same way that one would accept the loss of a limb, and then find the best way to cope and live with it. It is not an easy journey coming to terms with the loss of brain function. High performance super athletes,  military servicemen, and intellectuals always like to perform at or above  a certain level of excellence.  It is very difficult and frightening for super-achievers that suffer a brain trauma to come to terms with the loss of a part or most of their  brain function. It is even more frustrating when one has to contend with all the pseudo-brain specialists that have never read a single pamphlet or sheet on brain science nor have any clue about the effects of CTE or TBI but think they know more than the brain specialists. Anabel Maya, a psychologist who is an expert on memory wrote an article titled “A Closer Look Into Memory” and she admits that she is fascinated by memory because of the amount of information that the human brain is able to store; however, she states that she does not completely understand memory — she is still learning about it!

Support of Family and Friends!

It is really important that people that have sustained brain trauma have support from their families and friends. Support also means understanding how the trauma affects the brain and how to help the person cope with the effects of the brain trauma. I am lucky to have the support of my family and close  friends and I will forever  be grateful to them. I would not have survived without their love and support! I have information on this blog that can help families to understand TBI and CTE and what role they can play to help their loved ones to cope and live with the condition.

You are not alone — there is lots of help!

Some people with a CTE or TBI condition receive treatment; however, there are a significant number of people like me that  receive little or no treatment and have to find ways to cope and live with the condition. The result of no treatment is despair and depression that eventually leads some to suicide! Some insurers like Zurich advise their clients to take precautionary steps to minimize workplace injuries, report injuries in a timely manner in order to start treatment soon after the injury occurs so that to that the employee recovers and returns to work resulting in lower worker compensation costs to the employer. Some employers don’t even bother to follow state mandated safety guidelines, do not report injury claims and time to ensure proper and timely treatment of their employees, and do not care what happens to the employee that has been injured due to their own negligence.  The only thing that matters to such employers is return to shareholders and management bonuses. The injured employee and their family be damned!They are much more interested in covering their tracks and paying the lowest premiums they can muster than doing the right thing!

However, there is help available.  Dave Duerson, Junior Seau and Ray Easterling did not need to take their own lives out of frustration, fear and despair! Most likely they could have been saved, if they had been under the care of physicians and other providers that specialize in the treatment of patients with CTE and TBI conditions.

Resources Available for Brain Injury Treatment

Amen Clinic: Dr. Daniel Amen of the Amen Clinic has a practice that focuses on helping former athletes,  servicemen and others that have sustained brain trauma. He has posted the article below on his blog to let people know that they need not commit suicide when there is lot of help available for them. You can visit his website to learn more and also for the contact information.

Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI): Dr. Bennett I. Omalu, the forensic pathologist that discovered the presence of “Tau Proteins” in the brains of Mike Webster and other dead athletes and who coined the term “chronic traumatic encephalopathy” (CTE), and his partner Dr. Julian E. Bailes established the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI)  to continue their research on CTE and also to treat people that have sustained brain trauma and brain injury from multiple concussions.You can contact them by visiting their website.

Federal Agencies: The Federal Government has established  a dedicated section on its HRSA website to provide information and guidance to doctors, patients, and schools on dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury . The Center for Diseases Control (CDC) also has a section on its website that is dedicated to traumatic brain injury.

Military servicemen and veterans are returning from war with high incident rates of brain trauma which used to be generally diagnosed as post-traumatic stress syndrome. Now the Federal Government is on top of it game and military servicemen and veterans are receiving state of the art diagnosis and treatment for traumatic brain injuries. The Defense Departments’ Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (CDoE) was established in November 2007 to integrate knowledge and identify, evaluate and disseminate evidence based practices and standards for the treatment of psychological health and TBI within the Defense Department. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) serves active duty military, their beneficiaries, and veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative clinical research initiatives and educational programs.

State Agencies: Your best bet is to start with your State’s Brain Injury Association  of  America(BIAA). You can contact your State BIA‘s office by visiting the Brain Injury Association  of  America(BIAA)‘s website and then click on the map to select your own State.

Web: The internet abounds with information on brain injuries. You can do your own research using Google to type in keywords. Please see the tags on this page for examples of keywords that you can use for your search..

Brain Health Resources Blog: This blog has lots of information and links to help you to quickly find the resources that are available. If you have a question for me, kindly leave a comment and I will revert to you to guide you to find the information that you need.

Disclaimer: Please consult your own doctor first for guidance on your brain injury condition and treatment options.

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There is Help for These Battered Athletes

Shock, dismay and grief descended upon family, friends, and fans when news broke that former 12-time pro bowl NFL linebacker, Junior Seau had taken his own life.  The news came as shock to all, even those that were close to him, but this tragic story is becoming far too common.

Just two weeks ago, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, 62, shot himself in Richmond, Va.  His wife, Mary Ann Easterling, told news reporters that her husband suffered from depression, insomnia and dementia after his football career.  Another ex-NFL player Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl safety, committed suicide nearly 15 months ago by shooting himself in the chest.  Duerson, 50, thought he suffered from dementia that fueled his depression. His suicide note included the request: “Please, see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank.”

Post-death exams of Duerson’s brain showed he suffered moderately advanced evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a progressive degenerative disease related to repeated concussive blows. The disease has been linked to at least 18 deceased NFL players.

I just wrote about how serious a problem CTE is for athletes in contact sports and returning soldiers in last week’s newsletter and here we are again dealing with another heartbreaking story.  Junior Seau was a legend, but even legends cannot escape the ravages of chronic brain damage.  There is help for these athletes and anyone suffering from chronic traumatic brain injuries, depression, and irritability and memory problems.

I began studying the effects of football on brain health in 1999 when Brent Boyd, a former NFL player, came to the Amen Clinics.  After Anthony Davis came to the clinic in 2007 our work with active and former NFL players really took off when we partnered with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Retired NFL Players Association to perform the world’s largest brain imaging/brain rehabilitation study.

As part of the rehabilitation study we scanned the brains of 116 NFL players and found that 113 suffered brain damage and the level of brain damage was just awful.  People who have chronic, traumatic brain injuries, which almost all football players have because they get hit in the head thousands of times in their careers; have a much higher incident of depression and suicidal ideas and suicidal behavior.  Thirty percent of the players we studied had issues with severe depression.  That is four times the rate of depression among the general population!  Even worse, linebackers, like Junior Seau, who lead with their heads on the field, suffer the most significant damage.  The study showed patterns in damage to the front part of the brain and temporal lobes, under the temples and behind the eyes, which manage memory, mood stability and impulse and temper control.

The good news is the brains of contact-sport players and soldiers can be rehabilitated.  We have conducted three clinical studies with 116 active and former players from the National Football League here at the Amen Clinics and each study shows that it’s not only possible, it’s likely, that with a brain-directed health protocol, significant improvement can be experienced in decision-making, reasoning, depression, mood and memory.

Our studies found significant evidence that, fortunately, there are treatment protocols that can often reverse many of the symptoms caused by brain damage and improve brain function.

The studies include:

  1. Effects of Elevated Body Mass in Professional American Football Players on rCBF and Cognitive Function, Transl Psychiatry (2012) 2, eK, doi:10.1038/tp.2011.67.
  2. Impact of Playing Professional American Football on Long Term Brain Function. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 23:1, Winter 2011, 98-106.
  3. Reversing Brain Damage in Former NFL Players: Implications for TBI and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43 (1), 2011 Online publication date: 08 April 2011.

Junior may have damaged his pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making.  Brain trauma symptoms can appear decades after the playing days and can include dementia, memory loss, violent behavior, obesity, mental illness and depression. And unfortunately, suicide is more common in people who have experienced brain trauma.

Playing football is a brain damaging sport and for those that are going to play it, my message would be to get your brain examined before you play and after you stop as well as any time you get a concussion.  The best way to prevent tragedies like these from happening aside from avoiding the things that are harmful to the brain, are early detection and treatment.  My hope is that through increased awareness and education we can help these athletes before it’s too late.

Source: http://70.32.73.82/blog/5758/there-is-help-for-these-battered-athletes/

AP ENTERPRISE: Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, other ex-players suing NFL, describe negligence


By Associated Press, Published: February 2

The helmet-to-helmet shot knocked Tony Dorsett out cold in the second quarter of a 1984 Cowboys-Eagles game, the hardest hit he ever took during his Hall of Fame NFL career.“It was like a freight train hitting a Volkswagen,” Dorsett says now.

( Martha Irvine / Associated Press ) – In this image take from video shot on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, Tony Dorsett, a retired Hall of Fame running back for the Dallas Cowboys, listens to a reporters question in his home in suburban Dallas. Dorsett, 57, is one of at least 300 former players suing the National Football League, claiming the NFL pressured them to play with concussions and other injuries and then failed to help them pay for health care in retirement to deal with those injuries.

 “Did they know it was a concussion?” he asks rhetorically during an interview with The Associated Press. “They thought I was half-dead.”
And yet, he says, after being examined in the locker room — a light shined in his eyes; queries such as who sat next to him on the Cowboys’ bus ride to the stadium — Dorsett returned to the field and gained 99 yards in the second half. Mainly, he says, by running plays the wrong way, because he couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do.“That ain’t the first time I was knocked out or been dazed over the course of my career, and now I’m suffering for it,” the 57-year-old former tailback says. “And the NFL is trying to deny it.”Dorsett traces several health problems to concussions during a career that lasted from 1977-88, and he has joined more than 300 former players — including three other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and at least 32 first- or second-team All-Pro selections — in suing the NFL, its teams and, in some cases, helmet maker Riddell. More should have been done in the past to warn about the dangers of concussions, their lawyers argue, and more can be done now and in the future to help retired players deal with mental and physical problems they attribute to their days in the NFL.In interviews conducted by the AP over the past two months with a dozen plaintiffs, what emerged was, at best, a depiction of a culture of indifference on the part of the league and its teams toward concussions and other injuries. At worst, there was a strong sense of a willful disregard for players’ well-being.“It’s not about whether players understood you could get a concussion playing football. It’s about the negligence of care, post-concussion, that occurred,” says Kyle Turley, an offensive lineman for the Saints, Rams and Chiefs who was the No. 7 overall pick in the 1998 draft and an All-Pro in 2000.

Players complain that they carried owners to their profits, in an industry that now has more than $9 billion in annual revenues, without the safety nets of guaranteed contracts or lifetime medical insurance.

“Yeah, I understand you paid me to do this, but still yet, I put my life on the line for you, I put my health on the line,” Dorsett says. “And yet when the time comes, you turn your back on me? That’s not right. That’s not the American way.”

Head injuries are a major topic of conversation every day of the NFL season. With the Super Bowl as a global stage, the NFL will air a one-minute TV commercial during Sunday’s game highlighting rules changes through the years that have made the sport safer.

The owners of the teams playing for the Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis — Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots and John Mara of the New York Giants — acknowledge the issue’s significance.

Brain Tour


The Alzheimer’s Association takes us on a “Tour Inside the Human Brain“!

1. Three pounds, three parts PREVIOUSNEXT
Illustration of Human Brain and Head Your brain is your most powerful organ, yet weighs only about three pounds. It has a texture similar to firm jelly.It has three main parts:

  1. The cerebrum fills up most of your skull. It is involved in remembering, problem solving, thinking, and feeling. It also controls movement.
  2. The cerebellum sits at the back of your head, under the cerebrum. It controls coordination and balance.
  3. The brain stem sits beneath your cerebrum in front of your cerebellum. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure.
NEXT

Read more:

Source: http://www.alz.org/braintour/3_main_parts.asp

Brain Injury – Memory


Brain Injury (journal)

Brain Injury (journal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Dr. Glen JohnsonClinical Neuropsychologist

MEMORY

Impaired memory is one of the universal problems of people with head injury. All of my patients have complained about memory problems following their injury. Most people think of memory as being “good or bad.” As we get older, we recognize that our memory isn’t as good as it used to be. It’s more complicated than that. There are several different types of memory . Let’s take a look at them.

TYPES OF MEMORY

First, we’ll look at the different types of memory. For example, we all have memory for music. We can be listening to a song on the radio and have a very distinct feeling associated with that music. The brain processes music and puts that information in one part of the brain. We also have memories for taste and smell. We know the taste of chocolate. We know the smell of burning rubber. We have memories for the things we feel (physical). We can remember the difference between the feel of silk and the feel of sand paper. Each type of memory has a different site in the brain. Two of the more important types of memory are vision and hearing (in this case, words). Visual things are the things we see, such as a familiar place or where we’ve left our car. We also have memory for language, including things that we’ve heard or read (things we’ve read we translate into language). Verbal information is stored in the left hemisphere with visual information stored in the right hemisphere of the brain.

IMMEDIATE MEMORY

Information going into the brain is processed at several stages. I’m going to simplify at this point and discuss what I call immediate memory. Immediate memory really doesn’t last very long–perhaps minutes. When do you use immediate memory? When you call information for a phone number, the operator will tell you a seven digit number. If you’re pretty good, you can remember those seven digits long enough to dial the phone. That’s immediate memory–information that is briefly saved. With people who have a head injury, immediate memory can be “good” or it can be “bad.” The problem for most head-injured people, however, is with short-term memory.

SHORT-TERM MEMORY

There’s some variation in how people define short-term memory. I define it as the ability to remember something after 30 minutes. In a head injury, someone’s immediate memory may be good, yet they may still have problems with short-term memory. For example, a nurse in the hospital asked a head-injured patient to get up and take a shower and get breakfast. The patient said that he would, but the nurse came back 30 minutes later and the patient was still sitting in bed. When the nurse asked him why he didn’t get up and take a shower, he said that the nurse never told him. So immediate memory is something you quickly “spit back”, but the problem rests more with short-term memory. For example, someone may tell you to go to the store and get some milk, some eggs, a newspaper, and some dish soap. By the time you get to the store, all that you remember is the milk. In head injury, impaired short-term memory is a very significant problem.

LONG-TERM MEMORY

Long-term memory is information that we recall after a day, two weeks, or ten years. For most head-injured people, their long-term memory tends to be good. One patient told me “I can tell you what happened 10 years ago with great detail; I just can’t tell you what happened 10 minutes ago.” After you get a head injury, short-term memory isn’t working, so information has a hard time getting to long-term memory. For example, head-injured people may double or triple their usual study time in preparing for a test the next day. By the time they get to the exam, they are completely blank on the material. People with head injuries have also told me “you know, time just seems to fly by.” The little events of the day are sometimes forgotten, making life “fly by” when you look back at events that have happened since the injury.

Read more: http://www.tbiguide.com/memory.html

Source: TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY SURVIVAL GUIDE

By Dr. Glen Johnson, Clinical Neuropsychologist
Website http://www.tbiguide.com/

Copyright ©2010 Dr. Glen Johnson. All Rights Reserved.

Fructose on the brain


High Fructose Corn Syrup has had such bad publicity lately. Turns out that there is a very valid basis for the concern. In this article, Dr. Daniel Amen discusses the effect of high amounts of fructose on the brain and liver.

Fructose on the brain

For some time now, I have been writing about high fructose corn syrup and how it contributes to obesity. Thanks to a fascinating new brain imaging study, we can see what fructose does in the brain that could be part of the problem.

Let me back up a bit first. Fructose is the sugar found in fruits and vegetables. It’s natural, so what could be bad about that? Well, when you eat fruits and vegetables, you get a small amount of fructose. For example, a small peach has about 2 grams of fructose. Small amounts of fructose are processed by the liver. No problem.

Things start to go bad when you consume huge loads of fructose in one sitting, like the 33 grams of fructose you get from a 20-ounce soda. The liver just can’t process the glut of fructose fast enough. This sets off a cascade of problems, which can result in excess fat on the body.

This new study in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism is so cool because it shows what fructose does in the brain that could be adding to the problem. And how fructose behaves differently in the brain than glucose, which is another type of sugar that provides energy.

When study participants were given an infusion of fructose, activity was inhibited in the cortical brain control areas, including areas thought to be important in determining how we respond to food taste, smells, and pictures. When these same participants were given glucose, these areas were activated.

So not only are high concentrations of fructose assaulting the liver, they are also changing the way the brain functions, which could create the “perfect storm” that makes people pack on the pounds.

To keep your liver and your brain healthy, avoid high fructose corn syrup and other larges doses of fructose. Stick to fruit when you need a “sugar fix.”

Found this article useful or interesting? Share it with others!

This entry was written by Dr. Amen, posted on April 19, 2011 at 9:00 am, filed under Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Brain Injury Awareness Month


March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a critical time when we can all help to  raise awareness about this important public health problem. Please scroll down to read the entire page and then visit the Center for Diseases Control (CDC)’s Brian Injury website.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a debilitating and often degenerative condition. People that have suffered TBI often appear normal outwardly while they are facing tremendous turmoil, and mental and physical challenges due to the effects of TBI.

Veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with TBI sustained from bomb and other attacks. This has tremendously increased the TBI epidemic in the US.

New Frontier: Neuroscience or brain science and brain function is still very much a new frontier. Doctors and scientists are still learning and making new discoveries about the human brain and how it functions. Researchers at Allen Institute for Brain Science, Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI)Stanford University, John Hopkins University,  and other universities and research institutions are working hard to map the human brain so they can more thoroughly understand how the human brain functions.

Research undertaken by Dr. Bennet Omalu, the renowned neurology forensic pathologist,  led to diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) arising from excessive levels of tau protein in the brains of NFL players that had sustained multiple concussions. This discovery led to a US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing in February 2010; and literally forced the NFL to change its policy and protocol on assessment of concussions and the return of football players to play following concussions, and compensation of players that had suffered multiple concussions and TBI.

Dr. Omalu, now the pathologist for San Joaquin County, CA,  and Dr. Julian Bailes, the chairman of the neurosurgery department at West Virginia University and a leading concussion researcher. co-founded the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI), and have published the results of the examination of the autopsy of the brain tissues of fourteen professional athletes and three high school football players after unexpected deaths in the February 2011 edition of Neurosurgery. Dr. Omalu is also collaborating with neurologist  Dr. Daniel Amen on further study and treatment of NFL players.

Recent research on TBI has also led the CDC to focus more attention on TBI. CDC now provides information on TBI through its website. CDC has also developed guidelines for medical practitioners; coaches, athletes, and parents;  and school administrators, teachers and nurses on proper handling of concussion and TBI cases.

If you know someone that has suffered a traumatic brain injury, please reach out to support and help them by sharing this blog and information with them.  Don’t assume that you have all the answers because even top scientists and doctors are still learning.The best gift that you can give a person suffering from TBI is compassion and understanding.

Also, you can help by sharing this blog with your doctor, your children’s school teachers, nurses and administrators, and friends and family members. You will never know when TBI may impact you or someone close to you.

Learn TBI Signs, Symptoms and How to Respond

Bringing Attention to Brain Injury:

Photo: MRI filmHave you ever hit your head as a result of a fall, a car crash, or other type of activity that left you feeling “just not right” afterwards? After a few days you returned to your normal activities, however, you kept getting a headache, were sensitive to noise, and had more trouble than usual concentrating or remembering things. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be one of the millions of people who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.

This March, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, CDC and our partners are working together to spread the word and raise awareness about TBI prevention, recognition, and response to help address this important public health problem.

CDC estimates that 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI, including concussions, each year. Of those individuals, 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized, and 1.4 million are treated and released from an emergency department.

Photo: A mother fastening a helmet on her son.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This sudden movement can literally cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, damaging brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.

Learning the Signs and Symptoms:

Most people with a TBI recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. And in severe cases, a TBI can lead to coma and even death. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a TBI in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another TBI.

Symptoms of TBI usually fall into four categories:

TBI symptoms thinking icon.gif Thinking/
Remembering
TBI symptoms physical icon.gifPhysical TBI symptoms emotional icon.gifEmotional/
Mood
TBI symptoms sleep icon.gifSleep
Difficulty thinking clearly Headache
Fuzzy or blurry vision
Irritability Sleeping more than usual
Feeling slowed down Nausea or vomiting
(early on)
Dizziness
Sadness Sleep less than usual
Difficulty concentrating Sensitivity to noise or light
Balance problems
More emotional Trouble falling asleep
Difficulty remembering new information Feeling tired, having no energy Nervousness or anxiety

Some of these symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days or months after the injury, or until the person starts resuming their everyday life and more demands are placed upon them.

See When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention, to learn about dangers signs to watch for in adults and children.

Getting Help:

People with a TBI need to be seen by a health care professional. If you think you or someone you know has a TBI, contact your health care professional. Your health care professional can refer you to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, or specialist in rehabilitation (such as a speech pathologist). Getting help soon after the injury by trained specialists may speed recovery.

Getting Better:

Rest is very important after a TBI because it helps the brain to heal. Ignoring your symptoms and trying to “tough it out” often makes symptoms worse. Be patient because healing takes time. Only when your symptoms have reduced significantly, in consultation with your health care professional, should you slowly and gradually return to your daily activities, such as work or school. If your symptoms come back or you get new symptoms as you become more active, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard. Stop these activities and take more time to rest and recover. As the days go by, you can expect to gradually feel better.

See Getting Better, for tips to help aid recovery from a TBI.

Reaching Out:

Several groups help people and their families deal with concussion and more serious TBIs. They provide information and put people in touch with local resources, such as support groups, rehabilitation services, and a variety of health care professionals.

See Finding Support for more information, including contacting support groups in your area.

Learn more information about TBI in the militaryExternal Web Site Icon, including an interactive website for service members, veterans, and families and caregivers.

The annual celebration of National Public Health WeekExternal Web Site Icon is scheduled for April 4-10, 2011.  This year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) will continue its broad vision to make America the healthiest nation in one generation by raising awareness of the importance of preventing violence and injuries, such as TBI, through the theme Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-free.

Improving Research:

Research and data are critical to understand traumatic brain injury as an important public health problem. CDC collects and reports TBI data to help inform prevention strategies, identify research and education priorities, and support the need for services among those living with a TBI.

See TBI statistics and who is at risk to download reports, get national and state TBI estimates, and learn about the leading causes of TBI in the United States.

Helping Spread the Word:

To help improve prevention, recognition, and response to TBI, including concussions, CDC developed the “Heads Up” educational initiatives to offer information to health care professionals, school professionals, sports coaches, parents, athletes, and others.

See “Heads Up” educational initiatives to download or order the “Heads Up” resources and to learn how you can get involved.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/BrainInjury/

Welcome!


Welcome to Brain Health Resources. I created this blog to provide links to articles, information, research, resources and websites pertaining to the human brain.

My interest in brain science stems from the challenges arising from an injury.  The insight into how memory works, the way the human brain functions, and how the brain adapts to injury has helped to erase the fear and anxiety that typically comes from facing the unknown. It also helps to me determine how best to cope with the challenges that it presents.

What I have found along the way is that brain science is still a relatively new frontier with new discoveries being uncovered while there is still a significant gap in knowledge about how the brain truly functions.

Different parts of the brain perform different functions so the ramifications of traumatic brain injury (TBI) differ from person to person depending on which part of the brain was affected by the trauma or injury. Robert P. Lehr Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine,
Southern Illinois University, has provided a map of the human brain with a simplified explanation of the functions of each part of the brain and how the brain’s function is affected by trauma and other problems.

Researchers at various universities worldwide are undertaking research to gain a better understanding of how the brain functions . For instance, a team of scientists at  the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR) at the Stanford University School of Medicine  is undertaking research that will improve the lives and well-being of individuals with disorders of the brain.

My goal is to help demystify the brain by making information on brain science more accessible to ordinary people. I will highlight the researchers that are at the cutting edge of brain science and will provide links to resources and information that will enable people that are facing TBI and other brain-related challenges to better understand the way their brain functions and how they can better cope with the disruptions to brain function that arises from aging, tumors and injury.

For seniors and baby boomers who are facing challenges with declining brain function from aging, I hope that you will find information that will enable to improve your health and enjoy a more fulfilling and enjoyable life through the sunset years.

I will also provide links to  information on nutrition and exercises that  help to improve brain function, wellness and vitality. I will add articles, videos and links over time so please check in from time to time to find out what is new.

Thanks for stopping by!

Warm regards, Audrey