Mary Alexis Iaccarino, MD: Misconceptions About Brain Injury

There are several misconceptions around brain injury and it is important to dispel them. One is that someone with a TBI cannot get better. Not true; in fact, many, many people with TBI who are engaged in treatment get better and return to full lives. The second issue is the wishful thinking that there is one pill or technology that can cure a TBI. Not true; rather engaging in a series of evidence-based treatments and sticking to one’s treatment regimen is what helps people heal.

Dr. Mary Alexis Iaccarino is director, Clinical TBI and Brain Health Services, Home Base.

For information about treatments for brain injury please visit The Treatment Hub.

There are many misconceptions out there, about these injuries. So, some of the ones we most commonly hear, is maybe that this can’t get better. Right? That this is irreparable damage. And that’s not the case. I think what we’ve learned at Home Base and as part of the Warrior Care Network, is that people do get better. There is a lot of hope out there. And while we sometimes see in the media, you know, the worst stories and the worst outcomes publicized, there are a lot of people who are engaging in treatment, who are feeling better, and who are getting back to their lives. And I think that that’s a very important message. Additionally there’s no magic pill. Everybody’s looking for a quick fix or maybe the next technology device. Going off into the jungle for a week and finding yourself. Right? What we see is that it’s a series of evidence-based treatments and a lot of hard work that get people where they want to be. So, focusing on those evidence-based treatments is very important. BrainLine is powered in part by Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families.

Posted on BrainLine September 29, 2021. Reviewed September 29, 2021.

About the author: Mary Alexis Iaccarino, MD

Mary Alexis Iaccarino, MD, is a board-certified physiatrist with sub-specialty training in brain injury medicine. Her clinical and research areas of interest include diagnostic and treatment strategies in mild traumatic brain injury including blast and sport-related concussion. Dr. Iaccarino joined the Home Base team in 2016 as a brain injury physiatrist for the Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) and outpatient TBI program. Her goal is to provide comprehensive, evidenced-based brain injury care to veterans through multidisciplinary collaboration with psychology, neuropsychology, physical therapy, psychiatry, and other specialists. She specializes in the treatment of physical, cognitive, and behavioral deficits that occur after brain injury including headaches, pain, dizziness and vision symptoms, sleep difficulties, fatigue, concentration, and memory problems.

Headshot of Dr. Mary Alexis Iaccarino in a salmon button-down shirt