On January 23, 2014 the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center released new clinical recommendations with a standardized approach for concussion recovery. Included in the recommendations for managing concussion symptoms is a first of its kind five-stage approach for return to activity following a concussion. Detailed “do”s and “do not”s are specified for each stage. Movement from stage to stage is determined by scores on a simple twenty-two item “neurobehavioral symptom inventory” included in the recommendations. Read More
On June 4, 2013, Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill that imposes greater requirements on schools to protect student athletes from the potentially serious consequences of concussions in sports, especially from multiple concussions.
Under prior law, coaches were required to keep athletes who they had “reason to believe” had sustained a concussion out of play until cleared to return by a qualified health professional. The new law imposes a similar requirement on a coach or health care provider who “knows or should know” that the athlete has sustained a concussion. Read More
The topic of sexual dysfunction after a traumatic brain injury shouldn’t be taboo. Millions of people in the United States live with the physical, cognitive and emotional consequences traumatic brain injury (TBI). Sexuality is often impacted, but not often discussed or addressed. Failure to address this issue can compound the adverse effect of TBI symptoms on important relationships and self-esteem. NeuroRehabilitation: An International Journal recently published a critical review of fourteen studies on this topic. Read More
The human brain is complex. Every brain injury is unique. But nearly every person who suffers a brain injury experiences that frightening feeling of “I am not myself anymore.” In mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) cases, specifically, this feeling may recede over a period of weeks or months. But for others, it does not.
Whether the symptoms are permanent, improve, or get worse, the reasons for these differences are constantly researched—looking for ways to explain, prevent, and/or heal traumatic brain injuries. Several new studies on mild brain injury are examining factors ranging from genetic differences to differences in emotional make-up in order to understand why these differences exist. New research is leading to new approaches in treatment and rehabilitation, as well as prevention.
The “BRAIN” initiative, which stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, is already underway at the National Institute of Health (NIH). And, on April 2, 2013 President Obama announced that his 2014 budget will include $110 million in funding to advance the initiative, which supports human brain research that could be used to treat a range of neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injury (TBI).
I expect the additional funds to elevate the project’s urgency, as it would be a joint effort of the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation along with other private and public entities. If this initiative goes forward, it also promises to augment work already underway at other research centers throughout the country.