Nearly 1 million veterans have pending applications for health care at VA — and a third may already be dead
The Washington Post / September 3, 2015
Despite promises for widespread reform, nearly 900,000 military veterans have pending applications to access health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the department’s inspector general said Wednesday in a scathing report which recommended a total overhaul of their record-keeping system that could take years. One-third of those veterans are thought to be dead, but problems with the data makes it tough to know how many former troops were still struggling to get care, the report says. VA has said it has no way to purge the list of dead applicants.
Could Pee-Wee Football Lead to Brain Injury?
Boston University Today / September 3, 2015
A new study by a team of researchers from the BU School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that former NFL players who started playing tackle football before the age of 12 had a higher risk of altered brain development compared to those who started the sport when they were older. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the first to show a link between early exposure to repetitive head impacts and structural brain changes later in life, the researchers said.
The Right Response to Youth Concussions
The New York Times / August 31, 2015
As the number of youngsters who participate in organized sports grows and reports of concussions rise, it’s vital for parents, athletes and coaches to know how these injuries are properly diagnosed and treated to avoid long-lasting consequences. While preventing an injury is always best, limited progress has been made in keeping youngsters free of concussions in sports with a high risk of head injuries.
Watch Will Smith Take on the NFL in the New Concussion Trailer
TIME / August 31, 2015
Ten days before the NFL begins its season, the trailer for Will Smith’s next movie, Concussion, has hit the Internet. Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the person who discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, or CTE, the neuro-degenerative disease caused by repeated head trauma, in the brains of two professional football players.
Miss America Contestant Is a Voice for TBI
The Huffington Post / August 31, 2015
Ali is a beautiful, smart, young woman who also happens to have an invisible injury that she struggles with every day -- a traumatic brain injury. Early September she will head to Atlantic City to compete in the Miss America Pageant. She is using her platform at the Miss America competition to bring a face and a voice to this debilitating injury.
Two Companies Close In on a Concussion Blood Test
MIT Technology Review / August 31, 2015
A blood test that could quickly detect a brain injury and measure the damage it has done could help doctors provide better care for the millions of people. The trick is identifying proteins that appear in the blood in elevated amounts only after a brain injury and then developing tests that can both detect those markers and determine medically relevant information from them. Two companies, Quanterix and Banyan Biomarkers, have identified promising biomarkers and are devising and evaluating diagnostic tests.
10 ways you can help a loved one cope with their traumatic brain injury
The Huffington Post / August 26, 2015
Many "outsiders" have no idea what kind of hell we are going through. They hear the word 'concussion' and think it's not big deal. Or they hear the term 'traumatic brain injury' and can only imagine the most severe (think coma, bed ridden, not able to speak or walk) and figure if we're walking and talking then we must be doing 'OK.' Neither of these scenarios are correct, and I beg of you to try to understand what we're going through. At the very least, I offer you some suggestions on how to help us cope with this stressful and frustrating time of our life.
VA hosting head injury conference in Washington
Military.com / August 25, 2015
Investing in research and treatment of traumatic brain injury can ward off future problems for veterans, including unemployment, homelessness and suicide, Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald said Monday during opening remarks of a two-day conference on head injury in Washington, D.C. Drawing more than 300 of the country's top TBI researchers, the VA's State of the Art Conference on traumatic brain injury aims to share cutting-edge approaches to detecting head injuries, treating them and solving related problems.
Concussions can occur in all youth sports
New York Times / August 24, 2015
Recent attention to long-term brain damage linked to multiple concussions among professional football players has prompted a much closer look at how children and adolescents who participate in sports can be protected from similar consequences. Many parents wonder if it is wise to let their children participate in sports like football and soccer, in which head injuries are most common.
Ex-NFL player shot himself as ex-wife blames 'suicide bid' on football head injury
Daily Mail / August 21, 2015
Former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer shot himself on Wednesday night in what police believe was a suicide attempt. The 50-year-old, who survived the shooting, had suffered from depression for years, according to his ex-wife. He is a very amazing man, a beautiful soul, but has suffered depression since he was with the Bears,' the player’s former wife, Marshawn Kramer, told NBC News. 'I can promise you he is not the same man I married.' Ms. Kramer believes that Kramer's depression is a direct result of his time in the NFL.
Concussion Deal Is Challenged in Court as Insufficient
New York Times / August 21, 2015
According to a friend-of-the-court brief filed Thursday, the settlement between the N.F.L. and the 5,000 retired players who accused the league of hiding the dangers of concussions is flawed because it does not cover the full range of physical and psychiatric disorders linked to brain trauma. “The settlement neither recognizes nor compensates the majority of players suffering long-term consequences of brain trauma, but merely rewards certain small, discrete groups,” Shana De Caro and Michael Kaplen, lawyers for the Brain Injury Association of America, wrote in their brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. “The vast majority of retired football players experiencing physical, emotional and behavioral impairments following repetitive concussions remain excluded and uncompensated under settlement terms.”
Fort Detrick doctors expect advances in traumatic brain injury research
The Frederick News-Post / August 21, 2015
Medical doctors at Fort Detrick are expecting “major advances” in the field of traumatic brain injury in the next few years. Col. Todd Rasmussen is director of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program at Fort Detrick. Rasmussen joined Col. Dallas Hack and physicians from the Department of Defense and national athletic programs in a media roundtable Wednesday at the Military Health System Research Symposium. The topic of the day was traumatic brain injury research, which Hack has dedicated his retired life to.
Medical experts to meet, propose standard guidelines for treating concussions
ESPN / August 19, 2015
Nearly 30 leading, independent concussion clinicians and researchers from around the United States will convene at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on Oct. 15-16 to propose standard guidelines on the best practices, protocols and active therapies for treating concussions today. Their findings will be published in a medical journal and shared nationwide.
After son's accident, mom brings 'No Helmet, No Ride' message to kids
St. Paul Pioneer Press / August 18, 2015
After her 14-year-old son almost died in 2014 from a simple fall off a longboard (a longer, faster type of skateboard), Mary Barsness has made it her mission in life to get kids -- especially skateboarders -- to wear their helmets.
Acquired brain injury: survivor tells of challenges and struggles while rehabilitating
ABC News (AU) / August 18, 2015
Each time Adam Houston meets new people, he waits for their usual response — a puzzled look, a slump of shoulders and a slowing of speech as they realize he has an acquired brain injury. It has been 11 years since Mr Houston crashed his trail bike into a tree, but the response never changes, and the moment still stings. Mr Houston has spent the time since his accident, in August 2004, trying to reclaim the life he once lived.
Oklahoma scientist shows potential link between ALS and traumatic brain injury
News OK / August 18, 2015
Whether on the battlefield or playing field, trauma to the head has increasingly been shown to cause long-term damage to the brain. Now, an Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist has completed a research project examining how traumatic brain injury (TBI) relates to degenerative brain disease.
High school student who suffered traumatic brain injury sells $5 helmets
Deseret News / August 17, 2015
After falling 30 feet from a cherry picker in his school auditorium preparing for a drama production, Pete Benda's long road to recovery has included a community service event to raise awareness about traumatic brain injury. On Saturday, Benda joined family members to offer helmets for $5 each outside a local grocery store.
Color-changing helmet would indicate possible brain injuries of users following crash or trauma
Tech Times / August 17, 2015
A bomb blast or a rough tackle can inflict brain damage that destroys lives. Yet at the time of impact, these injuries are often invisible. To detect head trauma immediately, a team of researchers has developed a polymer-based material that changes colors depending on how hard it is hit. The goal is to someday incorporate this material into protective headgear, providing an obvious indication of injury.
Hidden damage revealed in veterans' brains from IED blasts
Fox News / August 15, 2015
A research team at John Hopkins University says they have found a unique honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers in brains of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who survived improvised explosive device (IED) blasts, but later died of other causes. In doing so, the team says they may have found the signature of "shell shock" - a problem that has afflicted many soldiers since World War One warfare.
Doctors using virtual reality using to protect teens from concussions in the real world
ABC Action News / August 14, 2015
Students are heading back to school and athletes back onto fields to compete. Doctors in Pasco County, Florida, are using cutting edge technology to protect teens from concussions.
NFL gives 2.5M to launch UW center to study concussions
The Seattle Times / August 13, 2015
A $2.5 million donation from the NFL will kick off the newly formed University of Washington Medicine Sports Health and Safety Institute aimed at advancing research, education and advocacy to prevent sports-related concussions. The center, announced Wednesday, will also bring together experts from across the Seattle campus to share insights about ways to make sports safer and healthier for people of all ages. It has a larger fundraising goal of $10.5 million.
Ex-NFL star to pen concussion memoir
The Hollywood Reporter / August 13, 2015
Former NFL player Ben Utecht is penning his memoir, Counting the Days Until My Mind Slips Away: A Love Letter to My Family, Simon & Schuster imprint Howard Books announced on Wednesday. Inspired by a letter Utecht wrote to his wife and four daughters as he worried about how his declining health would impact them, the book will contain his reflections about the importance of family and faith in the face of declining neural functioning.
'A part of me died’ says Paul, now helping others after brain injury
The Yorkshire Post / August 13, 2015
In 2012 Paul Spence was left with severe head injuries by an unprovoked attack. Now he helps other victims rebuild their lives. “I was unlucky that it happened to me but lucky that I survived. The old Paul is gone, but I am now determined to make the most of my life and to help others cope with a brain injury as I have been helped by family and friends during my recovery over the last three years.” Paul has now started his own eponymous charity, raising money, awareness and supporting people with brain injuries.
Report obscures extent of combat-related TBI
Military.com / August 12, 2015
A Congressional Research Service report on casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars notes how many died, were wounded, suffered major amputations or were diagnosed with PTSD. But the document is unable to say how many of the roughly 305,000 people who incurred a TBI over the last 14 years suffered the damage in the combat theater.
Study: Should tramadol be used for patients with TBI?
MD Magazine / August 12, 2015
Tramadol is more likely to cause seizures in patients who have had a history of head injury or seizures. Why, then, is tramadol still one of the most commonly used drugs in the management of patients with TBI? That’s a question asked by a retrospective observational study in the Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology. It evaluated the clinical needs of continuing to use tramadol for patients with TBI versus complications of tramadol use among intubated patients with TBI.
Family violence: Three women hospitalised per week with traumatic brain injuries, advocate says
ABC News (AU) / August 12, 2015
Rebecca Sciroli lives with the torment of an acquired brain injury. But it did not happen on the sporting field or in a car accident; it happened in her own home. Her attacker was her stepfather. Brain Injury Australia executive officer Nick Rushworth, a leading advocate for victims of brain injury, says three women are hospitalized each week with brain injuries caused by family violence.
Retiring colonel working to address TBI in service members and athletes
The Frederick News-Post / August 12, 2015
Army Col. Dallas Hack's efforts to establish “unprecedented” partnerships among the government, universities, NCAA and NFL have contributed greatly to the field, says Dr. Crystal Hill-Pryor, who worked with Hack under the Combat Casualty Care Research Program. “His dedication and service to [traumatic brain injury] has led to the advancement in the field of research and will improve the lives of many living with [traumatic brain injury].”
Is football worth the brain-injury risk? For some, the answer is no
NPR / August 10, 2015
Scientific studies have shown that the kind of repeated hits NFL players take is linked to degenerative brain disease leading some players to rethink their careers. Parents are also weighing the risks. So when someone like Mike Ditka talks, they listen. When host Bryant Gumbel asked Ditka on HBO's Real Sports earlier this year whether, if he had an 8-year-old now, he would want him to play football. "No," he answered. "That's sad. I wouldn't, and my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward."
American Legion conducting new survey on veterans' TBI care
Military.com / August 10, 2015
The American Legion is conducting a new national survey of veterans and their families to assess the care they are receiving from the Veterans Affairs Department for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The survey is the Legion's second dealing with TBI and PTSD. Last June its survey of 3,100 veterans found that 59 percent of respondents reported feeling no improvement or feeling worse after undergoing TBI and PTSD treatment. It also found that 30 percent of respondents ended their treatment before it was completed.
Common medications could delay brain injury recovery
University of East Anglia / August 10, 2015
Drugs used to treat common complaints could delay the recovery of brain injury patients according to research led by University of East Anglia (UEA) scientists working with other UK universities including Aston and the NHS, published today in Brain Injury.
Awareness, not fear: Neurologist urges athletes to respect concussion
The Pantagraph / August 10, 2015
Dr. Edward Pegg, a neurologist who has treated thousands of concussions during his more than 25 years of practice in Bloomington-Normal has a message for people who participate in contact sports, including football: Don't fear concussion. Be aware.
New NFL rule gives concussion spotters power to stop games
CBS Sports / August 10, 2015
During the 2015 season, NFL concussion spotters will hold more power than ever. The NFL has tweaked its rules regarding concussions and, now, concussion spotters who are not on the sidelines but are watching from the press box will be able to stop the game when they spot a player showing concussion-like symptoms.
UNC's Guskiewicz talks about concussion
The News& Observer / August 7, 2015
Kevin Guskiewicz has researched, treated and worked with injured and concussed athletes at all levels, from high schools to the NFL. He is also well-versed in the stories and increased anxiety concerning chronic traumatic encephalopathy. While it may come as a surprise given his line of work, his three sons all have played football.
Unqualified doctors performed brain injury exams at Mpls VA Medical Center
KARE 11 News / August 6, 2015
Letters are going out to hundreds of Minneapolis area veterans informing them they are entitled to new examinations. Those exams ultimately could give some veterans benefits which had been improperly denied.
Plasma tau levels increased post-TBI
Medpage Today / August 6, 2015
Military personnel who reported three or more traumatic brain injuries showed high total tau protein concentrations in plasma, in some cases long after the injuries had occurred, an observational study indicated. These findings suggest that accumulations of the plasma biomarker, tau, may contribute to chronic neurological symptoms following TBI.
BIA Utah recieves grant to educate caregivers
Deseret News / August 6, 2015
he Brain Injury Alliance of Utah has been awarded a grant by the Interagency Outreach Initiative. The initiative is a collaboration between the Centers for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University Center, along with state disabilities service agencies and private organizations that focus on helping improve the lives of people with disabilities.
The ingenious way that those with TBI are getting back on their feet
NationSwell / August 5, 2015
At the Go Baby Go coffee stand, the aroma of freshly ground espresso beans hovers in the air as employees hand out single and double scoops of vanilla, butter pecan and black raspberry ice cream. The only thing setting it apart from java bars at other college campuses? Its harness system, which enables adults with brain injuries to get vocational rehabilitation.
Mother discover's 'love does win' after son's devastating brain injury
Today / August 5, 2015
A mother describes what it's been like caring for her adult son after a 2012 accident left him with a brain injury.
Trauma experiences change the brain even in those without PTSD
Medical Xpress / August 5, 2015
Trauma may cause distinct and long-lasting effects even in people who do not develop PTSD, according to research by scientists working at the University of Oxford's Department of Psychiatry. It is already known that stress affects brain function and may lead to PTSD, but until now the underlying brain networks have proven elusive.
The top brain-training apps to keep your mind sharp
The Telegraph / August 4, 2015
As an app released this week claims to improve the memory of patients with schizophrenia, The Telegraph has taken a look at the best apps for training your brain.
Research to assess impact of blast exposure on Australian and US soldiers
ABC News (AU) / August 4, 2015
Newcastle researchers are playing a role in a large scale brain study looking at the impact of blast exposure on Australian and American soldiers. Program Director and former Newcastle academic Professor Carolyn Mountford said the project is focusing on blast injuries and post traumatic stress disorder.