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Navigation: SOS Sisson > Traumatic Injury Blog
Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
A hug is duct tape for the soul.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Can Computer Calisthenics Delay Mental Decline?
NY Times, August 26, 2007 --
WHEN Charline and Dan Truitt of Irvine, Calif., owners of a company that audits mortgage lenders, started misplacing their keys and blanking on names, they made all the usual jokes about senior moments. But it was no laughing matter when Mrs. Truitt, 62, started forgetting client appointments.But on the other hand...
“The scientific evidence for those commercial products is still very weak,” said Timothy A. Salthouse, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. “Manufacturers and companies have jumped into this without doing the research” to prove that their products enhance cognitive function or delay mental decline, he said.Keep reading.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Let's Really Support Our Troops -- Bring Them Safely Home
It's hard to believe that, at this late date, certain people still accuse those of us opposed to the Iraq War of not supporting our troops. How in the world can they construe supporting our troops to mean sending them back into that escalating quagmire for repeated (and extended) tours of duty where over 3,700 have died and approximately 1,800 have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)?
According to the Washington Post, "...neurologists worry that hundreds of thousands more -- at least 30 percent of the troops who've engaged in active combat for four months or longer in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are at risk of potentially disabling neurological disorders from the blast waves of IEDs and mortars, all without suffering a scratch." A study by researchers at Harvard and Columbia predict that brain injuries from the Iraq war will cost the government at least $14 billion over the next 20 years.
Here's one more recent story:
CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah (ABC 4News)- A voluntary assignment to help the people of Afghanistan develop new agriculture skills turned into a life long sentence for a Utah man, who joins an increasing list of returning soldiers who suffer from traumatic brain injuries caused by roadside bombs.Continue reading.
The photo accompanying this post was honored in The Best of PhotoJournalism 2007. Go here to see this picture and other winners.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Can a TBI Create Genius?
The Murfreesboro Post By Dr. MARK KESTNER
A savant is a rare individual that possesses an extraordinary ability to perform mental tasks that seem superhuman. Savants are typically autistic people that are limited in some aspects of intellectual capacity, but perform like a genius in others. The most widely known example of a savant is the real person that inspired the movie, “Rainman.”( Click here to watch a short documentary on Kim Peek. If the link doesn't work, just go to www.youtube.com and type Kim Peek in the Search bar.)
Darold A. Treffert, a leading medical expert on autism, states that savants tend to have exceptional abilities in one of five areas: music, art, lightning calculations, calendar calculating and mechanical or spatial skills. Savants may be able to play a complete symphony after hearing it only once or draw an exact rendering of a city skyline with only a brief glance to record the vision.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Not Going It Alone
Dealing with a traumatic brain injury is difficult enough without dealing with one all by yourself. An obvious question, then, is "What support groups or online communities are there to help me cope?" And the answers are often obvious enough, too: Check with your local hospitals. Ask your doctor or other healthcare professional. Contact your local social-services organization for leads. And, of course, consult Google.
But there's one possibility you may have overlooked.
Meetup.com first achieved significant notice during the 2004 US Presidential campaign, particularly when Joe Trippi so brilliantly led Howard Dean's Democratic primary campaign straight to the people via the Worldwide Web. But it -- Meetup -- isn't and never was primarily a political tool; it just lent itself handily to that use. The idea is simple, on the face of it (from the "About Meetup" page at their site):
Meetup.com helps people find others who share their interest or cause, and form lasting, influential, local community groups that regularly meet face-to-face. We believe that the world will be a better place when everyone has access to a people-powered local Meetup Group. That's our goal.In general, Meetup provides a software and networking framework which makes it easy for people sharing similar interests to find one another. Of course, there are plenty of online fora, bulletin boards, newsgroups, and similar resources which serve as gathering places for like-minded groups. But importantly, the gathering places for meetups are off-line: in homes, meeting and conference rooms, schools... All that Meetup itself provides is a simple means to organize the gatherings.
After you've browsed around Meetup.com for even a few minutes, it becomes obvious how and why it's become a popular tool for this purpose; it becomes especially obvious how diverse are the interest groups that have come to depend on it.
So maybe it's not too surprising then to find that there are a lot of TBI-related meetups, not just in the United States but around the world.
Now, don't expect to find hundreds of participants in your city. You may find tens, or even less. (Here in our city, currently only a single person is seeking a meetup.) But such things always start small. And sharing with -- and supporting -- one another (to say nothing of not getting lost in a crowd) is a heck of a lot easier with smaller numbers anyway.
If your locale does not yet have a TBI meetup group of its own, consider starting one. Be patient. Someone out there, just a few miles away, is likewise hoping to meet you.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
"I don’t read books, but I still buy them like crazy"
The New York Times has established a "wall" around some of its content, requiring that you pay a fee in order to see that content. This brief article is behind the TimesSelect wall, but if you can get to it, it's an interesting illustration of how suddenly, unexpectedly, and, well, weirdly TBI can strike.
[A decade ago,] Philip Vanaria had gone for a walk in Greenwich Village, where he had lived most of his adult life. A friend wanted ideas for his birthday, which was coming up. At the corner of Hudson and Morton Streets, he called her from a pay phone.Lest you think a TBI comes just from obvious trauma: a gunshot wound; an automobile crash; the explosion of an IED beneath your armored car on a lonely road outside Baghdad... No, it can come at you just from the simple act of picking up a telephone receiver.
TBI and War (Today's Edition)
More on TBI and the military...
...is mandatory for all active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers, from the highest to lowest levels in the chain of command.
KELLAR: "Depression, anxiety and all the rest of that stuff. It's bad. They give you Zoloft and they try to monitor it. And all the rest of that."
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
TBI Can Cause Disruptive Behavior, Hampering Care
Jack can certainly speak on this topic. If you've read the beginning of his book, posted here online, you'll remember that, after his TBI, Jack was "fired" by his first doctor because of his behavior -- behavior he couldn't help.
From a recent article:
The council's study centers on the disruptive behaviors and emotional problems that brain-injury patients often exhibit and ways to help them, said Paul Aravich, a neuroscientist at Eastern Virginia Medical School and the council's past chairman.Read the whole article.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Pacemaker wakes man with severe brain injuries
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A man with severe brain injuries who spent six years in a near-vegetative state can now chew his food, watch a movie and talk with family thanks to a brain pacemaker that may change the way such patients are treated, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
The 38-year-old man is the first person in a minimally conscious state to be treated with deep-brain stimulation, a treatment that uses a pacemaker and two electrodes to send impulses into a part of the brain regulating consciousness.
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