Dr. Iaccarino shares how suffering a spine injury as a teenager sparked her passion for helping others with brain injury using neurological rehabilitation and recovery, especially veterans and military service members.
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I got into neuro rehabilitation after suffering a spine injury as a teenager and myself being in an in-patient rehabilitation for neurological injury for months and years. I wanted to work with people who had neurological injuries and help them get back to functioning as normally as they possibly could, knowing that having been through it there was really ways that you could do that. And when I came to Harvard and Mass General, I met my mentor who was helping military service members and veterans and athletes with these sorts of injuries and became really inspired by them. And combined my own personal passions to work with military service members with neurological injuries and in neuro rehabilitation. From my own injury I really learned that you can function really well post-injury, even if it’s not how you were prior. You can still be highly successful; do the things you want to do. It may not be the way you did it before, but that’s okay. There are a lot of new and emerging treatments that can help with neuro recovery. So, where we once thought of things like brain and spine injuries as irreparable damage to a very sensitive organ, the brain, we now actually know that neuro recovery happens both naturally, and that with treatment we can enhance that. So, I think I had some firsthand knowledge of those things and was very excited to sort of bring that to other people who were experiencing maybe not the same injury I had, but who needed neurological recovery. BrainLine is powered in part by Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families.
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.