|Blogs||Articles||Organizations||Biography||Jack's Book||Contact Information||Links|
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.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
On Stem Cells and Brain Injuries - Not that Unrelated at All
It's been a busy few weeks. We usually write about embryonic stem cells on the Beginning of Human Life blog, but since the research could benefit those suffering from traumatic brain injuries, I'm including those news items here as well. First, a recap on the embryonic stem cell issue:
The Moral Imperative to Relieve Suffering: Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Then traumatic brain injury was all over the news this week for a sad story. The lovely, talented actress Natasha Richardson, married to actor Liam Neeson and the daughter of Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave, fell on a beginner's ski slope in Canada, felt and acted fine after the accident, began having headaches about an hour later, lapsed into a coma, her brain ceased to function, she was removed from life support and died within hours. Broadway, Hollywood, and the rest of the country were shocked. She was so talented. She was so beautiful. By all accounts, she was so funny, and loving, and giving. She was only 45. How could a simple fall in which she ran into nothing or no one cause her to die?
Richardson Died From Clot That Compressed Brain Natasha Richardson, the British actress who fell during a ski lesson on Monday and later in the day lapsed into a coma, died of a large blood clot compressing her brain, New York City's medical examiner said yesterday.The bleeding that led to the clot was caused by "blunt impact to the head," according to the official report, which also labeled the death an accident.And then there's this final disgusting note:
Anti-gay church plans protest of Richardson funeral
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Vets & Brain-Injured Read the Small Print
This morning I found an interesting site, Spot-On.com, which is, according to the site's About Us page, "a web-based syndication service offering a range of independent, intelligent and insightful looks at politics and current events." One post, by admitted liberal writer Christopher Brauchli, definitely merits sharing with our readers:
In his last State of the Union message, Mr. Bush received great applause when he said: "Our military families also sacrifice for America. . . . We have a responsibility to provide for them. So I ask you to join me in expanding their access to child care. . . and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children. Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them." One week later he submitted his 2009 budget and dissed the veterans. No funds were included for transferring education benefits.Visit Spot-On.com to read the complete post.
Just the kind of duplicitous doublespeak we've come to associate with this administration, but it's especially troubling when those being hurt by it are our returning military, for heaven's sake, as well as some of our most vulnerable citizens. It's a disgraceful situation that should get tons of press, but I wonder how many of the Republican Party's faithful are even aware that the country's vets are being treated this way. My guess is not many. As I've said before, "Support our Troops" takes more than a magnet slapped on the rear of your SUV.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Florida to be Site of Brain Injury Research
St. Petersburg Times, By William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer, February 12, 2008 --
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wounded Veterans Struggle to Adapt and Get Care: One town's story
The Buffalo News, by Lou Michel, Wednesday, December 19, 2007 --
You can see the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in their empty shirt sleeves, the scars on their heads, in their eyes so weary from sleepless nights.
They return to their homes, trying to fit in again. Most will. Too many will not.
At least 25 local soldiers, four Marines and one sailor have been killed overseas since the war on terror began. Less known are the local veterans returning home with broken bodies or troubled souls.
Some 30,434 men and women in uniform have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Pentagon does not say where they are from, so it’s unclear exactly how many of the wounded hail from Western New York.
Almost 1,700 of those veterans have sought medical treatment at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Buffalo since 2003, with a majority seeking help for war-related injuries.
There are probably many more local veterans seeking medical treatment who are not counted in VA enrollment figures because of their status as citizen soldiers. Reservists and National Guard members often have access to private health insurance provided by from their civilian employers, according to VA officials in Washington, D.C.
But for the veterans who are trying to adjust while under the care of the local VA, the navigation of a sometimes unresponsive bureaucracy adds to the pain of life beyond the combat zone.
More than 600 of the 1,659 veterans treated here sought assistance for posttraumatic stress and other psychological readjustment troubles, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“It is a full-time job working on getting whole, getting medical treatment and benefits,” said Bill Biondolillo, who served two combat tours in Iraq for a total of 14 months.
“We go and do the dirty work and we have to carry that, while the rest of the country goes on with life,” said Biondolillo, a major in the Reserves.
The list of injuries local veterans seek treatment for is frightening:
• Exposure to Russian-made bullets with depleted uranium in the shell casings. This can cause tumors, skin ailments and respiratory problems.
• Traumatic brain injuries and concussions from blasts, as well as shrapnel from explosive devices.
• Damage to the neck, back and hips from carrying as much as 100 extra pounds of body armor, ammo and other equipment.
• Irritable bowel syndrome and gastric illnesses caused by stress and living in unsanitary conditions.
Former Brain-injured Patient Now a Nurse
Nurse.com, by Kurt Butzbach,RN, Monday December 17, 2007 -- I am a nurse on the brain injury unit at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). This job means a lot to me because at one time I was the patient.
More than 22 years ago, I had an accident while working in a steel fabrication shop. I fell more than 15 feet from a ladder to the floor. While one coworker called 911, another coworker held my unresponsive body. I started to turn blue, so while he waited for help, he put me in a bear hug and squeezed me, "the way they do on TV," he said. I started breathing again, but to his surprise blood started gushing out through my left ear. He didn't know if he had saved me or helped kill me.
He had ruptured my ear drum, which allowed the blood and cerebral fluid that was building pressure in my head to escape, quite possibly saving my life. I had suffered a traumatic brain injury, caused by a basal skull fracture, in addition to a separated shoulder.
My short-term memory and speech were affected, and I suffered some left-sided paralysis. So, following my hospital stay, I started rehabilitation through outpatient therapy. I participated in cognitive therapy and physical and occupational therapies and admired the therapists and nurses who helped me find my way back.
After I was released from the hospital and went through ongoing rehabilitation, I was able to fine-tune some of the more creative skills I hadn't been using for a while, such as carving, woodworking, and music.
I started a small wood shop in my garage, and I started playing my guitar more, which was an escape from the daily challenges of recovering from a brain injury.
Continue reading the article.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Football + Brain Injury = O.J.
Ever since O.J. Simpson almost assuredly got away with murder, Jack has wondered if all of those years of football contributed to brain injury. We know that brain injury alone doesn't necessarily make one violent, but coupled with existing mental illness and/or child abuse, you end up fitting the model for one of Jonathan H. Pincus's violent killers.
Pincus and his colleague Dr. Dorothy Lewis, a child psychiatrist, developed the view that murderers, and especially the most notorious kind, such as serial killers, are the product of the combination of child abuse with neurological damage and psychiatric illness. The three factors interact, as childhood abuse creates enormous anger, while neurologic and psychiatric diseases of the brain damage the capacity to stop urges to violence. A supplementary disinhibiting factor is the abuse of alcohol and drugs, involved in an estimated 70 percent of violent crimes.You can read more here.
So, with all of that in mind, here's an article from "Slate" that explores the same question -- could football have contributed to O.J.'s behavior?
Slate by Chadwick Matlin, Sept. 21, 2007 -- With the murder trial, the "hypothetical" outline of how he would have killed his ex-wife, and now his "sting operation" in a Las Vegas hotel room, it's hard to remember that O.J. Simpson used to play football. He was actually pretty good at it, running away with the Heisman Trophy in 1968 and making the Pro Bowl five times in his NFL career. As a pro, Simpson carried the ball more than 2,400 times. As the evidence mounts that football can cause massive head trauma, it's worth wondering: Could O.J.'s erratic behavior have something to do with taking too many gridiron collisions?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.
Monday, April 23, 2007
By Any Other Name...
I love the CBS television show Without a Trace. There's the dramatic tension you might expect from a one-hour program about a search for a different missing person every week. But the writing is superb, the acting exceptional, and, as my wife could tell you, I often end up sniffling by the time the hour is up. Alas, this season, since they moved the show to Sunday nights -- where its airtime is frequently, unpredictably bumped by sports events -- I don't see it much anymore.
But I did for some reason catch the episode ("Crash and Burn") originally aired last Sunday, April 15. (Trailer here, on the ever-valuable YouTube.)
I won't detail the plot here, spoiling it for any of you who'd like to see it. But I can tell you that the plot hinged on a brain injury suffered by a veteran of the US Marines -- not in combat, but in a trail-bike accident.
Two items of interest about this episode:
I believe one reason traumatic brain injury is not more widely recognized is that it has no name, or rather, too many names. Think about it – concussion, closed head injury, coma, shaken baby syndrome, diffuse axonal injury, second impact syndrome, coup countrecoup injury, contusion -- all refer to brain injury and are often used interchangeably with TBI...
Acquired brain injuries (ABIs) further complicate matters... many experts and organizations refer to all brain injuries as ABIs, with TBI being just one type of ABI. Confused? You should be.
It can be surprising to find TBI referenced in popular culture. More, it can be astonishing to find it referenced as TBI; I kind of wish one of my favorite show's writers had latched onto the term.
If you're interested in the episode, again, the episode title is "Crash and Burn." It will no doubt be re-broadcast sometime between now and the start of next season; you might also watch for it on the TNT cable channel, which shows Without a Trace reruns.
LinksTBI Film Reviews
TBI Book Reviews
Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
SoapBlox/Chicago: Protecting Our Troops
Head Injury Survival Journal
Losing the Physical Self
Tower of Hanoi: Instructions for this popular puzzle can be viewed simply by clicking the Instructions button on that page.
May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 January 2009 March 2009 April 2009 December 2009 April 2010