Athletes who experience concussions aren’t allowed to compete again right away so the brain can recuperate. A concussion expert atWashington University School of Medicine in St. Louis cautions that children with concussions may not be ready to go back to the classroom right away, either. Read full article.
A high level of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in blood may lower the risk of small infarcts and other brain abnormalities that are linked to cognitive decline in the elderly, according to new research. The study of 3,660 people aged 65 and older, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, investigated the association between omega-3s and subclinical brain abnormalities on MRI that can cause loss of thinking skills, and are associated with increased risk of dementia and stroke. The study found that people who had a high omega-3 status had fewer changes in the white matter in their brains over the five year study period. Read full article.
Despite the daily suicides, the shootings, all the facts and figures that are now tragically cliché, our government institutions remain in a state of surreal paralysis. Soldiers do not have lobbyists. Expensive pieces of military hardware, pharmaceutical drugs — they have lobbyists. While less than half of soldiers and veterans are being helped by medications, the FDA, the VA and the DoD have been unwilling to try promising treatments even when the risk is low. Soldier mental health care calls for moral commitment and social justice — not just responsible scientific debate. Read full article.
NOTE: This is an excellent article by Steve Xenakis, MD, a retired Army Brigadier General and psychiatrist.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) during childhood can have long-term effects on cognitive and psychosocial functioning, including poor academic achievement. Pediatric TBI can cause significant deficits in working memory, as demonstrated in a study published in Journal of Neurotrauma. Read full article.
Football happens … along with soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.
Millions of children and young adults are playing these and other sports to the delight of their parents, other family members and friends cheering from the stands and along the sidelines. Sports are deeply ingrained into our culture, and for kids can offer valuable life lessons in leadership, teamwork, character development and sportsmanship as well as a pathway to lifelong fitness.
Of course, there are risks to playing sports, and one of them is a concussion injury. Concussions are serious injuries to the brain. The health implications associated with a mild traumatic brain injury is one of the most important issues in sports medicine today. While they occur more frequently in football and soccer, concussions occur in nearly every sport that kids and young adults play.
Higher blood levels of long-chain omega-3s, and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in particular, were associated with better reading and working memory performance, according to a new observational study conducted at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Lead researchers indicated that an increased dietary intake of omega-3s may be beneficial for healthy children aged 7 to 9 years who are underperforming in school. Read full article.
It is always a pleasure when I read the words of an author who eloquently articulates ideas I believe to be important. Even better when it is a patient’s family that leads me there. A couple of days ago, I was led to a brainline.org article published last year, “Fighting the “TBI Wars”: New Alternatives for TBI Survivors,” by Joel Goldstein, based on his book, No Stone Unturned: A Father’s Memoir of His Son’s Encounter with Traumatic Brain Injury. Goldstein expresses his hope that he can pass along lessons learned from his son’s tragic situation, most pointedly, evaluating and experiencing therapies alternative to conventional medicine.
Rather than trying wax poetic about this article, it is easier just to pull a few quotes:
“Conventional medicine only takes survivors of severe TBI so far, often ending at the nursing home door, or heavily medicated at home, facing long empty hours, and overwhelming family resources. Unconventional therapies are not merely a reasonable option, they are a necessity.”
“Should we accept the doctors’ verdict and wait, hope, and pray for the best?”
“Doctors generally offered an editorial opinion, too — suggesting that a therapy, though safe, was a waste of time and money. One trusty “devil’s advocate” was sure that all alternative therapies were bogus, admonishing that, “Not all who rave are divinely inspired.” But here we had the advantage — at least we knew we were ignorant. It seems a truism, but even the best-trained, most skilled, and well-intentioned professionals in the world often suffer a kind of tunnel vision, sticking to familiar, well-trod paths that pioneers once blazed. Before they eventually won universal acceptance, the practices of conducting heart-surgery or of treating peptic ulcers as infections were doggedly opposed and bitterly denounced by the medical establishment.”
Jumping to the bottom line, the Goldsteins put together an informal “board of advisors” to evaluate potential alternative therapies (defined as practices falling outside the standard of medical practice and not covered by health insurance). Through experimentation and experience, they eventually tried several alternative therapies, settling on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), Craniosacral, Bolles Sensory Learning, Novavison’s Vision Restoration (VRT), and nutritional supplementation. In Goldtein’s words, “Some successes were breathtaking.” Today, Bart is a “lively, charming young man, living nearly independently in his own apartment near Albany.”
We should be thankful that Joel Goldstein took the time to document his family’s long journey and has the talent to write a powerful story to share with the world.
July 29, 2013 — Diets lacking omega-3 fatty acids — found in foods like wild fish, some eggs, and grass-fed livestock — can have worsened effects over consecutive generations, especially affecting teens, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. Published in Biological Psychiatry, the Pitt team found that in a rodent model second-generation deficiencies of omega-3s caused elevated states of anxiety and hyperactivity in adolescents and affected the teens’ memory and cognition.
Pulitzer Prize winning writer Eric Newhouse has been looking into this. “I’ve been deeply troubled about the lack of TBI diagnoses. Five years ago, the Rand Corporation interviewed several thousand soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and predicted that 18 percent of them would return with PTSD.” Newhouse is on a lecture circuit speaking about Middle East war issues, and health care for Veterans, and he is disturbed that more isn’t being done to help our Veterans.
For instance, there are multiple Centers of Excellence, sponsored by tax dollars that conduct research on Veterans with TBI or TBI symptoms. But they lack a unified approach and don’t share findings… unless the sharing includes publishing a paper in a journal and a free trip to Hawaii to present the paper at a conference full of researchers going in different diagnostic and protocol directions. [emphasis added]
NOTE: I don’t normally include latest news in my blog, but this is a GREAT article, albeit very scary in its truthfulness. Research has become an employment agency rarely concerned with finding cures, lest the funding dry up because the problem has been solved. On a global scale as an example, the success of the Roll Back Malaria program in the 60’s and 70’s led to the elimination of funding due to its “success.” Subsequently, arthropod (mosquito)-borne diseases have skyrocketed over the past 20-30 years. It is almost impossible for a new researcher with a novel idea to get NIH funding. The system doesn’t prize original thinking; it values the known researcher with a lab that just pumps out regurgitated papers.