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Navigation: SOS Sisson > Traumatic Injury Blog
Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
A hug is duct tape for the soul.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Military plans to test brain-injury therapy
We all know by now that Traumatic Brain Injury is the signature wound of the Iraq War. Explosions that would have killed soldiers in previous wars are now less often fatal, due to the improved protective qualities of military helmets. What happens, however, is that the brain is knocked around inside the skull, as the head forcibly hits the helmet during the explosion. The result is less fatalities, but more brain injuries. According to the Defense Department, more than 134,000 service men and women suffered traumatic brain injuries from 2003 through 2009. The military has planned clinical trials using pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber to determine if the technique can help brain-injury sufferers heal.
From The Associated Press:
The U.S. military plans clinical trials next year to see whether breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber might help thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Blood Test For Brain Injuries Gains Momentum
From ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2009) —
A blood test that can help predict the seriousness of a head injury and detect the status of the blood-brain barrier is a step closer to reality, according to two recently published studies involving University of Rochester Medical Center researchers.Read article.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Florida Takes Serious Look at Brain Injury
From the Tallahassee Democrat:
Unemployment, incarceration and divorce can all be experienced by those suffering from traumatic brain injury.We'll try to get a copy of the five-year-plan and let you know more about it when we do.
Thom DeLilla, bureau chief of the Florida Department of Health Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program, said a lack of knowledge about the injury is another important issue that needs to be solved by the five-year plan.Well, Jack has been saying that since the mid 1980s. In fact, there were little or no resources available when Jack had his TBI. Although increased awareness and treatment options are what Jack's been fighting for these many years, it's a bittersweet victory that positive change, however delayed, is now in sight.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Concussions No Longer Innocuous...or Invisible
Concussions confer tremendous brain damage," reports CNN. That's the latest finding from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), at the Boston University School of Medicine. From a Boston University press release:
Leading medical experts at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) reported today that nine-year NFL veteran, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Tom McHale was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by head trauma, when he died in 2008 at the age of 45. In addition, the CSTE has discovered early evidence of CTE in the youngest case to date, a recently deceased 18-year-old boy who suffered multiple concussions in high school football.Jack has argued for many years that concussions were more serious than popular opinion made them out to be. In fact, he was concerned enough to found a study at his prep school alma mater that administers neuropsychiatric tests to every incoming athlete. This serves as the baseline for future tests. Then, if a student athlete suffers a head injury, a subsequent test could presumably measure the extent, if any, of brain damage.
The discovery of the initial stages of CTE in an 18-year-old should move the discussion of football's concussion crisis toward youth football. The identity of the 18-year-old will not be revealed at the family's request. According to Cantu who wrote the first return-to-play guidelines, "Our efforts to educate athletes, coaches, and parents on the need to identify and rest concussions have only been moderately successful because people have been willing to look the other way when a child suffers a concussion. I hope the discovery of CTE in a child creates the urgency this issue needs. It is morally and ethically wrong to allow our children to voluntarily suffer this kind of brain trauma without taking the simple educational steps needed to protect them."By the way, Jack doesn't limit his concerns to athletes. He thinks everyone should be tested as part of routine medical care.
According to the results of the study:
McHale, a Cornell University graduate, former restaurateur, husband and father of three boys, is the sixth former NFL player to be diagnosed post-mortem with CTE since 2002. CTE, a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by repetitive trauma to the brain, is characterized by the build-up of a toxic protein called tau in the form of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and neuropil threads (NTs) throughout the brain. The abnormal protein initially impairs the normal functioning of the brain and eventually kills brain cells. Early on, CTE sufferers may display clinical symptoms such as memory impairment, emotional instability, erratic behavior, depression and problems with impulse control. However, CTE eventually progresses to full-blown dementia. McHale died due to a drug overdose after a multi-year battle with addiction. Expert consensus is that drug abuse of any kind would never cause the neuropathological findings of CTE seen in McHale.We encourage you to read the entire press release.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Still Hard to Find Proper Care for Brain Injury Victims
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, By ANDY MILLER, 11/20/07 --
Room 491, where Ben Fuller lives, has filled with family.
Fuller's parents and older brother are there. His son, Logan, romps about the Floyd Medical Center room, crawling under furniture and playing with an inflated medical glove.
Fuller is slow to react to the action. Sitting in a wheelchair, he stares out into space for long periods of time. His mother asks him occasional questions, and each answer seems a struggle.
The Fullers have spent three frustrating years searching for needed services for Ben, who suffered a traumatic brain injury at 24 that left him prone to profane and violent outbursts. At each turn, they seem to run into roadblocks. It's estimated that thousands of other Georgia families have encountered similar problems.A new report says Georgia lacks services for patients like Fuller, whose behavioral problems are linked to jarring blows to the head.
An estimated 187,000 Georgians have a disability related to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and up to 10 percent of those may need ongoing care for TBI-related behavioral problems, according to the report from the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission. Those problems can include physical aggression and an inability to communicate and control emotions.
Because of that, many of those TBI victims end up institutionalized: in jails, prisons, even the state's mental hospitals. Some become homeless.
The absence of a coordinated system of rehabilitative care for these brain injury victims is largely due to a lack of public and private funding, according to the report, which calls the situation "a crisis."
Money is scarce because of a lack of understanding by lawmakers and insurers, experts say. Private insurers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, "don't see these services as medically necessary," says Susan Johnson, director of brain injury services at Shepherd Center in Atlanta and a commission member.
The report calls for more training and support for caregivers, better screening of TBI-related behavioral problems and more funding for rehabilitation. Often, residential and community services for TBI patients are either too expensive or don't exist. The report also calls for the Georgia General Assembly to look into the state's deficiencies in dealing with traumatic brain injury.
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.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Are Brain Stents Brain Boosters?
Doctors say older people who had a stent put into the main artery of their brain to prevent strokes got a real bonus: improved mental function.The small study, which included 37 patients, found that 16 (43 percent) of them scored higher on a battery of 11 cognitive tests one year after the procedure, according to Dr. Rodney Raabe, chief of radiology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. Read the entire article here.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Some Brain-Damaged Patients Quit Smoking with Ease
Smokers with a damaged insula -- a region in the brain linked to emotion and feelings -- quit smoking easily and immediately, according to a study in Science.
The study provides direct evidence of smoking's grip on the brain. Here's a link to the whole story in Science Daily.
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