Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Brain Injury Fate
I do not know your name,
but I am very familiar with your fate.
It is a real waste of energy,
to spend much if any, time on the emotion hate.
Our brains were injured and we are all like brand new.
Wishing things were different is truly a real waste of time.
Do your best to re-learn the things important for self care.
Our life changed without warning, so for today we don't feel fine.
Once self care is somewhat mastered learn about things that interest you.
Be introspective and aware and figure out the things you do better today.
The internet is a brain injury tool like nothing I have ever seen.
I can learn about anything, as long as I am willing to devote my time as my pay.
Use the brain injury software, it is what helped me to re-learn a whole lot.
Don’t settle for mediocre, be the best you can be in the areas that interest you.
You have a brain injury but the brain is an amazing organ do not sell it short,
As the years go by, you will re-learn so much. You can again have a respected
point of view.
No one you meet will ever want to trade places with you and that is alright.
We were chosen to experience one of life’s harshest fees, but you will again call yourself “ME.”
You will again feel pride in yourself because of the things you will again be able to do.
On days that are especially hard know you are not alone, there are many of us with this point of view.
I heard someone else call brain injury a thief.
It is a tremendous thief that takes a long time to feel any relief.
A thief that comes in the day or in the night,
A thief that steals everything that we once called our life..
A thief that does not discriminate against age, race, religion or creed,
A thief that offends over and over, and possesses incredible greed.
A thief that appears discretionary, he can either steal a little or a lot.
A thief that makes its victims lose memory, abilities and simple thought.
A thief so very powerful he can and has, stolen all we ever earned.
A thief no matter how clever, isn't capable of stealing all that we are able to relearn.
Brain injury is the ultimate unexpected and dangerous thief.
With time, encouragement and perseverance, acceptance has a way of replacing our grief.
By: Debbie Wilson
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Why does a blow to the jaw cause?
While the symptom threshold has improved over the four years (i.e., I can do more activity before symptoms appear), it is still a problem and a normal level of physical activity is beyond me (i.e., sailing for 30 minutes in moderate winds results in a return of symptoms). I would like to know if this is a common problem, why this might be happening, and if there is anything I can be doing to improve my exercise tolerance.
The blow to the jaw might move the skull with enough force that the brain “bounces” off the walls inside the skull. This creates injuries on the outer surface of the brains where the brain has hit against the skull, but also injuries deeper in the brain tissue because of “pulling and pushing” of the long nerves inside the brain.
Elliot J. Roth, MD, Elliot Roth, MD is the Paul B. Magnuson Professor and chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
When Kevin Turner was 5 years old, he began his first season of organized football. Twenty-six seasons later at age 30, Kevin Turner would play his last season of organized football.
Turner, a former University of Alabama and NFL fullback, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease that attacks the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle action. The disease is better known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
For Turner, ALS has taken most of his ability to use his arms and hands.
“There’s very few things I can do with my hands,” Turner said. “I can’t eat by myself. I can’t take my pants off, can’t put them on. Can’t get dressed, can’t brush my teeth. It’s hard on someone who’s very independent.”
The rest of his body is slowly deteriorating. Speech continues to worsen and swallowing becomes more and more of a strenuous task. Until last August, Turner needed a ventilator to help him breathe. He underwent a surgical procedure on his diaphragm that allows him to breathe on his own for the next two to three years.
Although his feet and legs are fine for walking right now, there will come a point soon enough when he will lose that ability as well.
Eventually, the incurable disease will take Turner’s life.
(See also “University researchers find medical breakthrough“)
In August 2010, just three months after Turner’s diagnosis, researchers at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy linked ALS to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease of the brain that causes dementia, mood swings, memory loss and depression.
Research conducted by the CTSE showed that ALS is eight to 10 times more likely to be diagnosed in NFL players than it is in the average citizen, making CTE a plausible cause.
Dr. Ann McKee, a co-director of CTSE and the neuropathologist who has found CTE in the brains of more than 50 former athletes, made the connection when she found toxic proteins in the spines of three former athletes – two football players and one boxer – who had ALS and CTE. The proteins were an unusual find in that she had not seen them in earlier studies on non-ALS athletes who had CTE or average citizens who died of ALS with no signs of CTE.
“What we’re finding is people with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Some of them are suffering from the degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy that is causing their brain to essentially rot, even after they stop getting hit in the head for the rest of their lives,” said Chris Nowinski, one of the two other co-directors of CSTE and a former WWE wrestler.
Nowinski said there’s no minimum amount of concussions – the most obvious example of brain trauma – that someone must have to get CTE; rather, longevity is what counts.
“The strongest correlations are length of career, especially with boxers,” he said. “There’s a lot of risk factors that we simply don’t understand, but what we’re confident of is that no one has ever gotten this disease who does not have a history of extraordinary brain trauma.”
Turner, who played fullback, said he believes that the brain trauma he received while playing football all those years is what ultimately caused his ALS. Both he and Nowinski believe he has CTE.
“If I knew I was going to have ALS when I was 40, I wouldn’t have played,” Turner said. “But if I would have been presented with all the facts, I think I would have not only played differently, but I would have probably retired two years earlier.”
A native of Prattville, Ala., and a current resident of Birmingham, Turner said he recalls two occasions during his days in the NFL with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles where he was knocked out with a concussion during a game but still finished playing in the game.
“When I was playing, we thought that when you kind of got yourself oriented that you’re fine. And you go ahead, keep playing,” he said. “I was ignorant to the seriousness of banging your head around just because we had helmets on and there’s no bleeding or pain. We thought we were fine.”
Turner said he estimates that, in total, he probably received between 25 to 30 concussions during his football career, with the possibility of up to 100. That doesn’t include sub-concussive hits, which is brain trauma that doesn’t rise to the level of causing concussion-like symptoms, thus making them impossible to diagnose on the sideline.
(See also “Lockout should not be NFL’s biggest concern“)
Turner started the Kevin Turner Foundation in December 2010 to raise awareness and money for ALS and, because of his involvement in research that links CTE to ALS, awareness about the seriousness of concussions and brain trauma across all sports at every level.
Since its inception, the foundation has raised around $500,000.
The money has played a small role in research conducted by CSTE, which is moving closer toward finding a way to diagnose CTE while a person is still living, among other things, Nowinski said.
Turner said he hopes to continue to make contributions with the $5 million settlement that he is set to receive from the NFL. He and nearly 4,500 other former NFL players sued the league for $765 million for allegedly concealing information regarding the dangers of concussions. The former players won the lawsuit on Aug. 29.
Turner said he realizes that one of the best methods for athletes fighting ALS is to avoid harm’s way in the first place. Along with receiving proper care in the event of a concussion, he said the game he so dearly loved playing as a boy should not be played until the ninth grade.
McKee said the developing brain goes through a multitude of changes between the ages of 6 and 14. Turner said this makes it an unsuitable time to play football with so much potential for brain trauma.
His son, Cole, is 10 and no longer allowed to play football until he reaches high school, while his oldest son, Nolan, 16, concluded his sophomore season at Vestavia Hills High School last fall.
Turner’s father, Raymond, said he wishes he would have known not to start Turner at such an early age.
“It’s a hard decision to make; we all love football,” Raymond said. “We’re not trying to kill football by no means, but we’d be a lot smarter about the things we do. If a kid gets knocked out, he’d come out and go back in. Little different from what they do now. They keep you out, check you over. You used to come out, and if you could see a couple of fingers, you’d be back in the game.
“I’d be a lot more observant now and see that he got taken care of a little better.”
Turner will donate his brain to CTSE after passing, where it will be studied by McKee and Nowinski, he said. Thousands of brains are needed to expand upon their findings.
As more cases are studied, Turner said he believes that, along with gene therapy and stem cells, a cure for ALS will be found by the end of this decade. It’s a day he hopes to live to see, he said.
Until then, he will use his hands in ways that remain unaffected by his disease.
“Hopefully, I’m still lending a hand to someone else who needs it,” he said.
Brain Injury Can...
Interrupt our memory, either a little or a lot.
Interrupt our recollection and meaning of life.
Interrupt our ability to identify who we are.
Interrupt our ability to reason and have judgement.
Interrupt our ability to have self insight.
Interrupt our ability to identify with others.
Interrupt our ability to find our self value again.
Interrupt our ability to find any peers again.
Interrupt our ability to plan for a new future.
Interrupt our ability to see anything other than
a world filled with obstacles.
An Interruption is temporary we will figure this brain injury out!
Debbie M. Wilson
Hospital Executive Amy Mansue tells the story of a child with TBI who only started to progress after she made a connection with a security guard who worked in the rehab hospital.