Traumatic Brain Injury Blog

head
September 12, 2022

Resveratrol: Another Promising Research Based Alternative Therapy To Supplement TBI Treatment

One of the most frequent questions I get from TBI clients in my Vermont law practice is: “Are there alternative therapies I can explore to help support my recovery from a traumatic brain injury without risking further harm?” Physicians practicing “integrative oncology” offer a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care for cancer that implements complementary therapies in collaboration with conventional treatment. Although TBI medicine is not as well organized, the peer reviewed TBI literature does support similar evidence-based complementary therapies for the treatment of TBI. Several have been featured in prior posts in this blog, including yoga and other mindfulness based therapies, exercise therapies, dietary therapies (especially foods rich in ‘polyphenols” found in many fruits and vegetables) and promising supplements including melatonin and curcumin (found in tumeric, curcumin reduces the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation.)

Another supplement receiving increasing attention in the literature is resveratrol, a “phytoalexin” produced by plants such as the red grape in response to various stresses, which promotes disease resistance. Read More

Tagged with: ,
July 7, 2022

Early Mental Health Intervention Improves TBI Outcomes

Victims of mild traumatic brain injury (“mTBI”) commonly report psychological distress, which is not surprising given the impact the injury can have on every aspect of everyday life including but not limited to balance, vision, sleeping, physical discomfort including headaches, and perhaps most significantly thinking clearly. Patients often report that they are not the same person and fear that person will never return.

We often recommend counseling support, but this has been based more on instinct and anecdotal information than on data. In prior posts we have reported on studies showing that depression is a common sequelae of mTBI that should be treated before it becomes disabling.  Read More

April 20, 2022

One in Four Children with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Suffer from Post-Concussive Symptoms

Israeli study finds that one in four children with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) suffer from persistent post-concussive symptoms

In a large multi-center retrospective matched cohort study, Israeli scientists recently found that one in four children (25.3%) who have been discharged from the emergency room after a mild head injury suffered from persistent post- concussive symptoms.

Among the chronic symptoms seen in these children were forgetfulness, memory problems, sensitivity to light and noise, ADHD and even psychological problems. Sadly, many of these children had been misdiagnosed as suffering from unrelated ADHD, sleep disorders, depression, etc.  This misdiagnosis, the researchers noted, leads to treatment that is not suited to the problem, thus causing the children prolonged suffering. Read More

March 1, 2022

Study published by the American Academy of Neurology Finds that Poor Cognitive Outcomes Following Concussion are more Common than Previously Thought

A new study published February 16, 2022 by the American Academy of Neurology in the Journal “Neurology” finds that the frequency of clinically meaningful poor cognitive outcomes one year after a concussion are more common than previously thought.  The results, says study author Raquel Gardner, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, “highlight the need to better understand the mechanisms underlying poor cognitive outcome, even after relatively mild brain injuries, to improve therapy for recovery.” Read More

December 21, 2021

New Research Offers Hope for Restoration of Memory Function after TBI

A small region of the brain called the anterior thalamus could hold the key for restoring memory function after a traumatic brain injury. Researchers in New Zealand and the University of Oxford in the UK have shown that targeted electrical stimulation of the anterior thalamus could help with memory restoration in patients with brain injury.

Given how complex the brain is, scientists do not fully understand the extent to which memory impairments following TBI or stroke are caused by irreversible tissue loss and are therefore not treatable or by treatable dysfunctions in the wider brain networks. The hypothesis tested in this study is that lost memory function may be in part due to network dysfunction that can be improved with targeted stimulation. The results of this study support this thesis and could ultimately revolutionize therapies for memory defects. Read More

Tagged with:
October 5, 2021

TBI and COVID: A Dangerous Combination

Earlier this year the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) issued an open letter encouraging all individuals with brain injury to get a COVID vaccine. The letter cites evidence from the American Academy of Neurology that anyone with a neurologic disorder such a brain injury is particularly vulnerable to diseases like influenza and COVID:

“When one is infected with COVID-19, the virus attacks the “weakest link” it finds in the body, which is why individuals with longstanding chronic medical conditions are at the greatest risk for infection, complications and even death,” explained BIAA National Medical Director Brent E. Masel, M.D. “Studies have shown that traumatic brain injury triggers an inflammatory process in the brain that causes an individual to experience chronic issues. This process places those individuals at far greater risk of developing complications from COVID-19, which itself is well known to cause chronic neuroinflammatory issues.”

Read More

July 2, 2021

Article debunks defense myth that the risk of injury in a “minor impact” collision is not greater than activities of daily living

Most personal injury lawyers have represented clients suffering from the chronic consequences of concussion and musculoskeletal injuries following a rear end collision that caused minimal damage to the vehicles involved. This blog has reported on countless scientific studies showing that in some patients concussions can have long-term, chronic consequences. The standard defense employed by insurers in minimal damage rear end collisions (which they call “MIST” cases) is to argue that any injury is improbable in these accidents because the forces involved are similar to the forces involved in many activities of daily living (ADLs) where injuries rarely occur (like sitting down in a chair or sneezing.

The insurers and their defense counsel typically have an “accident reconstruction” expert they routinely use (often retired police officers) who calculate the speed change in the crash (the “delta V”) and then compare it to the delta V involved in everyday activities. (The delta V calculations by these so-called experts is often inaccurate, but that is a different issue.) Experience shows that this testimony can be very compelling to a jury, faced with judging the credibility of an injury victim whose injury is not immediately apparent. Read More

June 29, 2021

Defense Department Study Finds that Targeted Treatment Improves Chronic Symptoms Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

A recent Defense Department/University of Pittsburgh study confirms three important points made in prior posts:

  1. So called “mild” traumatic brain injury (“mTBI”) can have long-term, disabling consequences (in both civilian and military populations);
  2. that this injury is heterogeneous in both presentation and clinical outcome (in other words, every injury is different); and
  3. that interventions targeted to the individual presentation of the injury (whether it is predominantly vestibular, cognitive, oculomotor, headache, sleep or mood related, or some combination) can reduce symptoms in otherwise intractable patients.

The message is that ignoring the symptoms and hoping that they will ultimately disappear – the approach often taken in the past – is not wise for either the individual or for society as a whole. Read More

June 10, 2021

Evidence supports DTI imaging as a reliable biomarker predicting the severity of cognitive decline following concussion

A research report from the University of Texas Medical School, just published in Frontiers in Neurology, finds a correlation between Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) findings and cognitive assessments in patients with chronic complaints after concussion, providing evidence that DTI imaging may be a reliable biomarker predicting the severity of cognitive decline following concussion. (DTI is an MRI technique that detects microstructural changes in white matter such as the changes that can occur as a result of “diffuse axonal injury” in brain injuries including concussion.) Read More

June 1, 2021

Emerging Evidence indicates that the Composition of the Gut Microbiome is Altered after a Traumatic Brain Injury

In the first systematic review on this topic, researchers at the University of Texas report on growing consistent evidence that traumatic brain injury (TBI) changes the gut microbiome. Evaluating these changes, they conclude, will be a fertile ground for new therapeutic interventions. Read More