Differences in a Single Gene May Influence Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury
Fox News / March 7, 2014
After an individual suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a stroke or concussion, the subsequent treatment can be highly variable depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms. Now, new research has revealed that differences in a single gene may predict how well a person recovers from a TBI, compared to others with similar injuries. In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers focused on the role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene and how it related to the post-TBI recovery process.
Two Months After Michael Schumacher's Ski Accident, Hopes for His Recovery Dim
The New York Times / March 4, 2014
The hubbub of jostling reporters and television crews is a memory now, nearly two months after the helicopter carrying Michael Schumacher, the most successful Grand Prix driver in racing history, landed at University Hospital Center in this old Roman city after traveling from a rocky slope at the Méribel ski resort 45 miles away by air. Outside the nine-story hospital, only a solitary, weather-stained banner remains to indicate that Schumacher is still a patient, deeply comatose and in critical condition, in the fifth-floor neurological intensive care unit
Sideline Concussion Test Gets a New Thumbs-Up
The Los Angeles Times / February 27, 2014
A screening test for concussion that can be performed quickly on the sidelines was able to detect mild traumatic brain injury in about 4 in 5 college athletes who had sustained a concussion, a forthcoming study has found. The King-Devick test capitalizes on a subtle but important symptom of brain injury: a disruption in the eyes' ability to travel smoothly across a page, and to shift direction upon the brain's command. In a new study conducted on male and female athletes at the University of Florida, most subjects who took the King-Devick test soon after suffering a concussion showed reductions in speed and accuracy that were marked enough to reveal mild traumatic brain injury.
Brain Trauma Extends to the Soccer Field
The New York Times / February 27, 2014
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head, has been found posthumously in a 29-year-old former soccer player, the strongest indication yet that the condition is not limited to athletes who played sports known for violent collisions, like football and boxing. Researchers at Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System, who have diagnosed scores of cases of C.T.E., said the player, Patrick Grange of Albuquerque, was the first named soccer player found to have C.T.E. On a four-point scale of severity, his disease was considered Stage 2. Soccer is a physical game but rarely a violent one. Players sometimes collide or fall to the ground, but the most repeated blows to the head may come from the act of heading an airborne ball — to redirect it purposely — in games and practices.
Su Meck: "I Forgot to Remember"
National Public Radio / February 26, 2014
"I Forgot to Remember" is a memoir about one woman's journey after a traumatic brain injury erased all memories of her previous life. Diane Rehm talks to Su Meck about her remarkable experience.
Kevin Pearce Film Shines Light on Head Injuries
ESPN / February 24, 2014
Traumatic brain injury can happen in an instant, but it changes lives forever. In compelling fashion, Lucy Walker's 2013 documentary "The Crash Reel" delivers that message as it meticulously chronicles the rise and recovery of elite snowboarder Kevin Pearce following a head injury he sustained while training for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The film introduces us to Kevin at the top of his game, expected to be a gold medal contender for the United States in the men's halfpipe, until he suffers the injury that would leave him in a coma for weeks. We then follow Kevin's path to recovery from the moments immediately after his injury when he is helicoptered from the mountain to the hospital and through every painstaking stage of rehabilitation and re-evaluation over the next three years.
Effectiveness of a State's Youth-Concussion Law Studied
Education Week / February 20, 2014
Now that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed his state's youth-concussion legislation into law, every state has some form of youth-concussion legislation. Are those laws actually changing behaviors? That's what a new paper published online earlier this month in The American Journal of Sports Medicine sought to determine. For the paper, the authors surveyed 270 public high school football, girls' soccer, and boys' soccer coaches in Washington state—the first state to implement youth-concussion legislation (the Zackery Lystedt Law)—from 2012 to 2013. They asked coaches about the amount of required concussion education for coaches, parents, and athletes, and also evaluated the coaches' knowledge of concussions.
American Legion Seeking Vets' Input for PTSD, TBI Survey
Marine Corps Times / February 20, 2014
The American Legion is seeking veterans with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder to participate in an online survey to learn more about their injuries, treatment and care. Through Feb. 28, the Legion is soliciting veterans from all eras to take part in its survey to better understand what treatments they have sought at the Veterans Health Administration, Defense Department or in the private sector and the effects of those treatments on their recovery. The assessment is a follow-up to the American Legion’s 2013 report, “The War Within,” a study on traumatic brain injuries that concluded the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments were not doing enough to provide varying treatments for the conditions.
Commonly Used Football Helmets Do Little to Protect Against Traumatic Brain Injury
CBS, Philadelphia / February 18, 2014
A new study has some disturbing information about football helmets. The research, which was released Monday, reveals that the helmets currently used on the field may do little to protect against hits to the side of the head, which can cause brain injuries and encephalopathy. Researchers say they modified the standard drop test system approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, which tests impacts and helmet safety. A crash test dummy head and neck were used to simulate impact, and sensors were placed on the dummy’s head to measure linear and rotation responses to repeated 12 mph impacts.
Snowboarder Sarka Pancochova Splits Helmet After Nasty Crash on Slopestyle Course
Marie Claire / February 11, 2014
Over the weekend, snowboarder Sarka Pancochova of the Czech Republic was poised to medal in women's slopestyle, the first year the tournament appeared at the Olympics. As she took her final run, she suffered one of the worst falls seen on the Sochi slopestyle course, which caused her helmet to crack in half and the snowboarder to fall like a rag doll down part of the mountain. She lay still for a few seconds before sitting up as medics ran to her assistance. She eventually stood on her board and rode down the rest of the course, but was unable to complete her rotation. She appeared to be somewhat woozy when she reached her fellow competitors at the bottom of the mountain. She placed fifth in the competition.
The Toughest Woman at the Olympics
Cosmopolitan / February 11, 2014
Two years ago, Meghan Duggan was lying nearly comatose at her parents' house in Danvers, Mass. The All-American ice hockey forward had recently been sidelined with a major concussion. "I couldn't talk or eat," Duggan says. "I just sat at home in the dark, day after day, month after month." She had been named the best female hockey player in the country in March 2011, but just nine months later, it was unclear if she'd ever return to the ice. "I just kept trying to be patient," Duggan says. "Obviously with an injury like that, you can't really force it." She spent a lot of time alone in her room with the shades drawn. (Concussion symptoms typically include headaches, dizziness, and trouble concentrating.) Reading, watching television, and even walking in the neighborhood were too painful. “It’s hard to explain if you have never had a concussion, but you don’t feel like yourself — something feels wrong.”
For Military Couples, It's a Long Recovery 'When We Get Home'
National Public Radio / February 11, 2014
Kayla Williams and Brian McGough met in Iraq in 2003, when they were serving in the 101st Airborne Division. She was an Arabic linguist; he was a staff sergeant who had earned a Bronze Star. In October of that year, at a time when they were becoming close but not yet seeing each other, McGough was on a bus in a military convoy when an IED went off, blowing out the front door and window. "Essentially a piece of shrapnel went through the back of my head, burrowed the skull from the back of my head past my ear, out through where my eye is, and while doing this it also ripped some brain matter out," McGough tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Once Olympic-Bound Athlete and Traumatic Brain Injury Sufferer Is Out to Make the World of Youth Athletic Sports
Digital Journal / February 11, 2014
Post-Concussion Syndrome and Traumatic Brain Injury aren't just ailments of modern day sports gladiators, such as NFL players Junior Seau and Ryan Freel. The story that does not necessarily make headlines is that every day more and more youth athletes are suffering from the irrevocable life changing injuries that a little education and a little time out could have prevented. Jenna’s Law enacted in Oregon on January 1, 2014 is setting out to rewrite that story, see takingitheadon.com to read the story. In the midst of the 22nd Winter Olympics, Jenna Sneva, an aspiring Olympic downhill skier and national gold medalist, can’t quite wrap her head around the thought that she will never ski again. Her doctors, including SuperBowl Champions Seattle Seahawk’s team physician Dr. Stan Herring and OHSU’s Dr. James Chesnutt, who specializes in Concussion Management, told Jenna if she were to hit her head again she could be paralyzed, and maybe even die.
How Our Brain Networks: Research Reveals White Matter 'Scaffold' of Human Brain
Medical Xpress / February 11, 2014
For the first time, neuroscientists have systematically identified the white matter "scaffold" of the human brain, the critical communications network that supports brain function. Their work, published Feb. 11 in the open-source journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has major implications for understanding brain injury and disease. By detailing the connections that have the greatest influence over all other connections, the researchers offer not only a landmark first map of core white matter pathways, but also show which connections may be most vulnerable to damage. "We coined the term white matter 'scaffold' because this network defines the information architecture which supports brain function," said senior author John Darrell Van Horn of the USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics and the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at USC.