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Adam Reborn: A Family Guide to Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury

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George Lucas Predicts/Imagines Our Brains Controlling Future Entertainment

Posted by on in TBI


Looking into their crystal ball, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg predicted the imminent arrival of a radically different entertainment landscape, including pricey movie tickets, a vast migration of content to video-on-demand and even programmable dreams.

But Spielberg, looking farther ahead, said he thinks the real shift will come when game controllers are obsolete and games are controlled by Kinect-like devices that completely immerse the player in the story. “I believe need to get rid of the proscenium,” Spielberg said. “We’re never going to be totally immersive as long as we’re looking at a square, whether it’s a movie screen or whether it’s a computer screen. We’ve got to get rid of that and we’ve got to put the player inside the experience, where no matter where you look you’re surrounded by a three-dimensional experience. That’s the future.”

The most out-there suggestion for the future of entertainment came from Lucas, who sees brain implants within the relatively near future. He noted such implants are already being used to control artificial limbs; they just haven’t been used for entertainment yet.

“The next step is to be able to control your dreams,” he said. “You’ll just tap into a different part of your brain. You’re just going to put a hat on or plug into the computer and create your own world. … We’ll be able to do the dream thing 10, 15 years from now. It’s not some pie-in-the-sky thing.”

( - 2013)

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Brutal Beating Leaves Man With Hope For TBI Recovery

Posted by on in TBI


A California jury has awarded nearly $58 million to a 43-year-old house painter left brain damaged and deformed after a security guard crushed his skull during a beating outside a Los Angeles-area bar.

"His skull is like a pie with 25% cut out of it," attorney Federico Sayre said at a news conference Monday.

Doctors had to removed part of Antonio Lopez Chaj's brain and skull after the April 2010 beating at La Barra Latina in Torrance. He can no longer speak, needs help walking and requires 24-hour care.

Sayre said an unlicensed, untrained security guard with DGSP Security and Patrol Service beat Chaj with a baton or metal bar, kicked him in the head eight times and bashed his skull on the pavement four times. Chaj was attacked after he tried to intervene in a fight between one of his two nephews and the bar manager.



 (Dear Friends, once again a horrific beating (as in Bryan Stow's case) has resulted in a physical tragedy. Hopefully, with therapy and the guidance of friends and faith, TBI recovey may come quickly. - Alex)


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Does the Brain Control Food Addiction?

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Have you ever craved a piece of chocolate? Or felt the lure of a hot slice of pizza? And been convinced that the force responsible wasn't your stomach hoping to quell hunger but your brain, desperately seeking to satisfy something more like an addiction?

A new study provides the strongest evidence yet that certain foods trigger addictive behavior just as drugs can.

Nicotine is addictive. So are drugs like cocaine and heroin. All can rewire the brain to crave the progressively elusive "high" or satisfaction that these agents produce. The desire is so strong that it overtakes all reason and need to satisfy it becomes an all-consuming mission, at the expense of your physical, emotional and social health.

Some would argue that certain foods hold the same power over people, monkeying with the brain's normal appetite system and resetting the satisfaction threshold so it's always just out of reach, meaning you can never eat enough.

"The concept of food addiction is very provocative and rightly so,"says Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Center at Boston Children's Hospital. "Unlike drugs of abuse, food is necessary for survival."

"Prior research has shown the tasty high calorie foods can trigger the pleasure center of the brain. That supports the idea of food addiction, but the significance of those studies has been challenged because they typically compare grossly different foods like cheesecake versus boiled vegetables," says Ludwig. "Yes, certain foods are tasty and enjoyable, but is that so different from a audiophile listening to beautiful music?"

( - Health - 2013)

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"Kill" Comments Back In the NFL - TBI Recovery Possible Concern

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Mario Williams is back-tracking on attributing "kill" as a word Buffalo Bills coordinator Mike Pettine has used in describing defensive philosophy with his players.

In a series of messages the defensive end posted on his Twitter account Friday afternoon, Williams clarified that he wasn't quoting Pettine directly.

"Just to clarify a choice of words I used: The phrase `kill them' has never been said by Coach Pet or any of my coaches/teammates," Williams wrote. "I said it as a figure of speech from my `perspective' not literally or any actual intention."

Williams' posts came a day after he raised eyebrows in describing Pettine's aggressive approach to defense.

"He usually says `Kill them or hurt them," Williams said, Thursday, following the final practice of the team's three-day mandatory minicamp.

Player safety has become a hot-button issue in the NFL. The league is facing concussion-related lawsuits filed by thousands of former players.

The league is also sensitive to coaches or players using the words "kill" or "hurt" in the aftermath of the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal two years ago.

In a tape made by filmmaker Sean Pamphilon of Williams addressing Saints players, the coordinator was heard using metaphors such as, "kill the head and the body will die."

(  -  NFL 2013)

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Summer Alert - Part Two - TBI Recovery

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(Dear Friends, please watch out for loved ones this active summer season.  Any head injury or fall should be observed carefully and confirmed with medical treatment.  Above all!!!  Do not let your loved ones or friends "sleep it off."  Closed head injuries can be fatal! - Alex)


See a doctor immediately if the person experiences:


  • Increased drowsiness
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Loss of strength in the hands or feet
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Worsening headache 



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Summer Alert - Part One - TBI Recovery

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(Dear Friends, with summer quickly approaching...families are really on the go! This means vacations, sporting activities and kids out of school. Please, be careful with all sporting events, and make sure helmets are worn at all times! - Alex)

What are the Leading Causes of TBI?


The leading causes of TBI are:                                        new pie

  • Falls (35.2%);
  • Motor vehicle – traffic (17.3%);
  • Struck by/against events (16.5%); and                      
  • Assaults (10%).1


  • Falls continued to be the leading cause of TBI (35.2%) in the United States. Falls cause half (50%) of the TBIs among children aged 0 to 14 years and 61% of all TBIs among adults aged 65 years and older.

Motor Vehicle-Traffic Crashes1

  • Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes and traffic-related incidents were the second leading cause of TBI (17.3%) and resulted in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths (31.8%).

Struck By/Against Events1

  • Struck by/against events, which include colliding with a moving or stationary object, were the second leading cause of TBI among children aged 0 to 14 years, with 25%.


  • Assaults produced 10% of TBIs in the general population; they accounted for only 2.9% in children aged 0 to 14 years and 1% in adults aged 65 years old and older.

Who is at Risk?

  • Approximately 18% of all TBI-related emergency department visits involved children aged 0 to 4 years.
  • Approximately 22% of all TBI-related hospitalizations involved adults aged 75 years and older.
  • Males are more often diagnosed with a TBI (59%).

Blasts are a leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in war zones.2 CDC estimates of TBI do not include injuries seen at U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Veterans Health Administration Hospitals.



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More Baseball (MLB) Violence Leads to Possible TBI

Posted by on in TBI

new york yankees

A Yankees fan named Matt Fortese was assaulted at Oriole Park at Camden Yards during the Orioles-Nationals game last Wednesday, according to multiple reports. 

A woman attending the game with him told the Baltimore Sun, that two men had been heckling Fortese because he was wearing a Yankees hat. Fortese, 25, approached the hecklers after one of the men allegedly threw beer at the couple. Fortese then was punched in side of the head, police told the Sun. The punch sent Fortese over the railing, causing his head to hit the concrete approximately five feet below.

Nathan Steelman, an off-duty state trooper, was sitting a few sections away from where Fortese fell. He ran over to help Fortese, who was not breathing and bleeding badly from his head, according to CNN.

"I think instinct kind of kicked in," Steelman told CNN. He would later realize that the man he assisted was a childhood friend. "I didn't know it was Matt at the time."

The Sun reported on Saturday that Fortese suffered severe head trauma and a skull fracture and was in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police told ABC 2 News that the two men were arrested and charged with aggrivated assualt.



Dear Friends, why is it in this day and age that we can't have friendly sports competition? We all love our local/special teams.  Some of the fun in sports was/is joking and enjoying the game with the other team's fans. As Adam has just stated..."when did going to these extremes/actions occur? Is it only alchohol related? Is there no longer any respect in society for others?" This beating mirrors the highly publicized assault of Bryan Stow, paramedic, whose only fault for suffering a TBI, was wearing his local team SF Giants jersey, at a LA Dodgers home game. - Alex

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TBI Recovery/ Amusement Park Fun Rides

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May to September is prime time for fun at the amusement park. From frightening news reports to personal YouTube videos, there is no shortage of amusement-ride scares. But a new study has found that it's not always the biggest and fastest rides we should fear.

The study, in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, tracked injuries on all kinds of rides: 4,400 per year -- up to 20 a day. When researchers looked at emergency records on which the type of ride was recorded, roller coasters accounted for 10.1 percent, bumper cars 3.9 percent.

But carousels accounted for 20.9 percent -- which might explain why one third of kids injured were five or younger.

The most common kind of accident was falling.

(  - News)


(Dear Friends, I don't think many of us anticipate an injury occuring on a carousel. The kids are laughing and giggling and riding their favorite animals. But they lean over to wave to parents or grandparents wanting to take their photo. And the kids buck up back and forth while going up and down. If they are not properly strapped in, they could go sailing/falling off and hit their heads. Carousels do not provide helmets. Please, make sure your child is properly secured and sits up straight.  - Alex)


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Detroit Lions - Titus Young's Brain Injury Leads To Multiple Arrests

Posted by on in TBI


Titus Young is on a downward spiral with his recent spate of arrests. His father is speaking out now out of concern for his son.

Richard Young told the Detroit News that Titus is suffering from a disorder caused by his brain being compressed into the front of his skull. Richard also said his son hasn’t been the same since a concussion suffered during his rookie season, however the Detroit Lions never reported such an injury.

“His mind is not capable enough to go out and deal with society because of this situation,” Richard Young said.

This comes on the heels of Titus’ latest incident last Friday, when he drove off from his parents’ house in Los Angeles and was later arrested after allegedly breaking into a home in San Clemente.

“We knew that something had happened to him or he was locked up again,” Richard Young said.

Titus Young has apparently been prescribed medication for his health issues, but he hasn’t been taking it regularly.

“He’s not dealing with it the way he should be,” Richard Young said. “If the judge gives him a court order, then maybe he’ll get the help he needs.”

(MSN.FoxSports/Laces Out)

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High School Athletes Ignore Concussion Symptoms - "Don't Want To Look Weak"

Posted by on in TBI


Concussions continue to be a major concern in athletics. However, a recent study shows many local high school athletes ignore concussion symptoms.

The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center interviewed 120 local high school football players in the summer of 2012. The report showed that the majority would continue to play despite having symptoms of a concussion.

The study found over 90% of these athletes are educated and know the consequences of continuing to play through a concussion, but the problem is that over 50% responded that they continue to play with a headache sustained from an injury.

Moeller senior Shane Jones is no stranger to hard hits on the football field. Next year, he's continuing his career at Michigan State. Luckily for him, he's avoided any concussions during his career he says mainly because he listens to his coaches.

"You might only miss one play but it's just good enough to come off the field and get checked out," said Jones.

The recent study shows that only 54% of players indicated they would "always or sometimes report symptoms of a concussion to their coach. Jones says he's not completely surprised to hear this.

"I think it's just the feeling of being out there and being with your teammates and wanting to fight through because you don't want to seem as some people say soft by saying you're coming off the field by saying your hurt in some way," said Jones.

( Athletes)

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Not A Runny Nose - But Leaking Brain Fluid

Posted by on in TBI


One Arizona man thought he had year-round allergies when his nose continued to run. He was shocked to find out after years of suffering, his runny nose was actually his brain leaking fluid, FOX 10 reported. 

Joe Nagy first noticed it when he sat up to get out of bed.

"Brooop! This clear liquid dribbled out of my nose like tears out of your eyes. I go what is this?," he told the TV station.

And, he added, the symptom continued to worsen over time.

Nagy tried allergy medicine, which didn't help. He said he had tissues on-hand all the time. 

He still remembers the embarrassing moments when he couldn't get to the tissues in time, like when he was picking up blueprints for his model airplanes.

Fed up, Nagy went to a specialist, who tested the fluid that was dripping out of his nose. That's how he discovered it was actually brain fluid.

"I was scared to death if you want to know the truth," he said.

The membrane surrounding Nagy's brain had a hole in it, causing the brain fluid to leak.

"You don't really think about it, but our brains are really just above our noses all of the time," said Dr. Peter Nakaji, a neurosurgeon at  Barrow Neurological Institute.

Nagy was ready to have brain surgery to fix the leak, but then he developed a near-deadly case of meningitis and the fluid became infected.

Eventually, Nagy's infection cleared up, and he was able to have the surgery. Nakaji explained to FOX 10 how the surgery is done: A needle is inserted through the nose and a bit of glue patches the hole. There is no cutting involved.

Nagy said he's planning on starting a new hobby: Building a sailboat called the Great Pelican. He's confident it won't leak.

 ( Health 2013)
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Our Brains Help Control Love

Posted by on in TBI


Falling in love can wreak havoc on your body. Your heart races, your tummy gets tied up in knots, and you're on an emotional roller coaster, feeling deliriously happy one minute and anxious and desperate the next.

Research shows that these intense, romantic feelings come from the brain.

In one small study, researchers looked at magnetic resonance images of the brains of 10 women and seven men who claimed to be deeply in love. The length of their relationships ranged from one month to less than two years. Participants were shown photographs of their beloved, and photos of a similar-looking person.

The brains of the smitten participants reacted to photos of their sweethearts, producing emotional responses in the same parts of the brain normally involved with motivation and reward.

"Intense passionate love uses the same system in the brain that gets activated when a person is addicted to drugs," said study co-author Arthur Aron, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

In other words, you start to crave the person you're in love with like a drug.


Romantic love is a primitive response

Experts have said that romantic love is one of the most powerful emotions a person can have. Humans' brains have been wired to choose a mate, and we humans become motivated to win over that mate, sometimes going to extremes to get their attention and affection.

"You can feel happy when you're in love, but you can also feel anxious," said Aron's co-author, Lucy Brown, a neuroscientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "The other person becomes a goal in life," essentially, a prize.

Brown said that the reward part of the brain, also dubbed the pleasure center, is an essential part of the brain needed to survive.

"It helps us recognize when something feels good," she said.

The drive to feel good around your intended mate may even be more powerful thanthe drive for sex, Brown said.

( - 2012)

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Environment Promotes Infant Brain Development

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geek babies wallpaper

An infant's environment provides the infant with the stimulation that helps his brain develop synapses that become the foundation for future social and emotional growth. Any type of stimulation that an infant experiences from his environment, regardless of whether the stimulation is nurturing or traumatic, can affect the infant's brain development.


Positive Environment

Synapses that receive the most stimulation become a stronger part of the brain while synapses that receive less stimulation weaken and fail. Exposing a child to an environment of positive, nurturing experiences strengthens synapses associated with these experiences. Infants  learn about their world and themselves by interacting with others. Interactions that are supportive, nurturing and predictable can help provide an infant with the feeling of love and security that she will need to continue learning and interacting with others throughout life. Stimulation should help build an infant's feeling of self-confidence, curiosity and creativity in order to develop synapses for social, emotional and intellectual growth.

Stress and Trauma

Stressful situations or events can create synapses in the brain that can be detrimental to an infant's brain development. An ongoing environment of stress, neglect or abuse can condition the infant to a habit of danger, which can overstimulate and oversensitize parts of the brain such as the limbic system that respond to stress, according to Quolkids.



An infant's strong emotions indicate a desire to communicate and should be met quickly and sympathetically by a caregiver. Communicate with an infant in a nurturing manner to encourage the development of speech and language skills. Use the infant's name and keep your face close to hers when speaking. Even repeating an infant's attempts at speech in a nurturing way helps her understand how conversation works, according to Baby Development News.

 ( Passas)
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Do Men And Women Have Different Brains?

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Research indicates that men and women do in fact have different structures and wiring in the brain, and men and women may also use their brains differently. In some cases, this may explain some of the stereotypes that we may not like to acknowledge about the genders. For example, men do score better at tasks that involve orienting objects in space, while women do better at language tests. From there, it's but a quick jump to the conclusions that men are better at reading maps and women talk too much.

Men also have approximately 6.5 times more gray matter in the brain than women, but before the heads of all the men out there start to swell, listen to this: Women have about 10 times more white matter than men do. This difference may account for differences in how men and women think. Men seem to think with their gray matter, which is full of active neurons. Women think with the white matter, which consists more of connections between the neurons. In this way, a woman's brain is a bit more complicated in setup, but those connections may allow a woman's brain to work faster than a man's.

If there are differences in people's brains, it might be due to how society has shaped a person, with neurons and synapses pruned away as the brain deemed them unnecessary.

For example, depression and chronic anxiety are diagnosed far more often in women; this may have to do with differences in the chemical composition of the brain, as one study has shown that women produce only about half as much serotonin (a neurotransmitter linked to depression) as men and have fewer transporters to recycle it. Or, it may have to do with how the various sides of the female brain respond to emotions and pain. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be diagnosed with autism, dyslexia and schizophrenia, to name a few.



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Kyle Turley, One Time NFL Warrior, Worries About TBI - "Crazyland"

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Former NFL offensive tackle Kyle Turley was one of the fiercest players at his position during his ten pro seasons from 1999 to 2007. While his career seemed like it was played with no fear, the 37-year-old’s current life off the field hasn’t been so fortunate.

Turley described the suicidal impulses and other troubling thoughts he’s had since retiring, some of which led him to call a 24-hour confidential support service dedicated to helping retired and current NFL players in trouble.

“I've got young kids,” said Turley, a father of a 2-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. “It's scary as hell. It keeps me up at night. It's something that weighs on me heavily.”

“No one in my family has ever gone crazy and killed themselves or thought about that,” Turley said. “I have. It's not a thought that is fleeting. It's a thought that goes away when I'm on my medication, and the thought of doing a lot of crazy things as well and making unbelievable decisions.”

“I've got as good of a chance as anybody of going down that road into Crazy Land or into Super Crazy Disease Land,” Turley said. “I've got every opportunity to probably be in the same boat in the future, and I don't know how far in the future. It's very, very disturbing, very frustrating, very stressful to deal with, especially having kids.”

He has chosen to donate his brain to medical research, a process that will reveal whether he has evidence of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

( Union Tribune)


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Foods That Help Heal the Brain

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Many disorders of the brain---Alzheimer's disease, depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, Parkinson's disease, mood swings and cognitive disorders---can be treated with proper nutrition. Dr. Hyman, founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, believes that healing the brain with food is so effective that psychiatric treatment and medication will become a thing of the past.


McLean Hospital researchers have confirmed that foods containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, sardines, walnuts) and uridine (sugar beets and molasses) have antidepressant effects and can be used alone or together.


Eating protein, high-quality grains and vegetables at every meal will help with anxiety. Small (4 oz.) servings of protein at every meal, preferably five or six small meals a day, will keep insulin stable, energy levels high and enable the neurons to fire properly. The carbohydrates from vegetables and whole grains help the brain to manufacture serotonin, which regulates the mood, sleep cycles and the ability to both concentrate and relax. Selenium is a mineral that is found in green leafy vegetables, eggs, whole grains, tuna and asparagus. A selenium deficit can create feelings of anxiety due to improper neurotransmitter function. Eating a balanced diet of organic meats, vegetables and grains products that is full of variety is a simple way to ensure that your brain will be nourished and, as a result, happy and healthy.


Dr. Tim Johnson (ABC News) is one of many doctors that recognize the connection between cholesterol levels and brain health as it relates specifically to memory.  Good food sources of HDL are olive oil, ground flaxseeds, soy products, walnuts and green leafy vegetables.

( - Foods)

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Stress/Fear/Anxiety Can Overtake Brain Functions

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Fear short circuits the brain, especially when it hits close to home, experts say— making coping with events like the bombings at the Boston Marathon especially tricky.

“When people are terrorized, the smartest parts of our brain tend to shut down,” says Dr. Bruce Perry, Senior Fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy.

When the brain is under severe threat, it immediately changes the way it processes information, and starts to prioritize rapid responses. “The normal long pathways through the orbitofrontal cortex, where people evaluate situations in a logical and conscious fashion and [consider] the risks and benefits of different behaviors— that gets short circuited,” says Dr. Eric Hollander, professor of psychiatry at Montefiore/Albert EinsteinSchool of Medicine in New York.  Instead, he says, “You have sensory input right through the sensory [regions] and into the amygdala or limbic system.”

Traumatic events typically evoke a whole suite of brain responses, such as making people faster to startle, increasing their reaction time and producing hypervigilance to any type of sensation that might be linked with the threatening experience.

And this warping of perspective is exactly what terrorists aim to achieve.  “Terrorists are trying to induce fear and panic,” says Hollander, noting that media coverage that repeats the sounds and images of the events maximizes their impact. The coverage keeps the threat alive and real in people’s minds, and sustains the threat response, despite the fact that the immediate danger has passed. The marathon attacks were particularly damaging, he says, because “All of sudden, there’s trauma associated with what had been a meaningful, communal event.”

(  - 2013)
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Music and Its Effects On the Brain

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Whether you are rocking out to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in your car or reading with Bach in your bedroom, music has a special ability to pump us up or calm us down.

Scientists are still trying to figure out what's going on in our brains when we listen to music and how it produces such potent effects on the psyche.

"We're using music to better understand brain function in general," said Daniel Levitin, a prominent psychologist who studies the neuroscience of music at McGill University in Montreal.

Three studies published this month explore how the brain responds to music. The quest to dissect exactly what chemical processes occur when we put our headphones on is far from over, but scientists have come across some clues.

Listening to music feels good, but can that translate into physiological benefit? Levitin and colleagues published a meta-analysis of 400 studies in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, suggesting the answer is yes.

In one study reviewed, researchers studied patients who were about to undergo surgery. Participants were randomly assigned to either listen to music or take anti-anxiety drugs. Scientists tracked patient's ratings of their own anxiety, as well as the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The results: The patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than people who took drugs. Levitin cautioned that this is only one study, and more research needs to be done to confirm the results, but it points toward a powerful medicinal use for music.

"The promise here is that music is arguably less expensive than drugs, and it's easier on the body and it doesn't have side effects," Levitin said.

Levitin and colleagues also highlighted evidence that music is associated with immunoglobin A, an antibody linked to immunity, as well as higher counts of cells that fight germs and bacteria.


The next frontier in the neuroscience of music is to look more carefully at which chemicals in the brain are involved in music listening and performing, Levitin said, and in which parts of the brain are they active.

Any given neurochemical can have different function depending on its area of the brain, he said. For instance, dopamine helps increase attention in the frontal lobes, but in the limbic system it is associated with pleasure.

By using music as a window into the function of a healthy brain, researchers may gain insights into a slew of neurological and psychiatric problems, he said.

"Knowing better how the brain is organized, how it functions, what chemical messengers are working and how they're working -- that will allow us to formulate treatments for people with brain injury, or to combat diseases or disorders or even psychiatric problems," Levitin said.

( - Health - 2013)

(Dear friends, when Adam was in his TBI Recovery mode at the various hospitals, environmental recordings/CD's were played of the many sounds of nature - from waterfalls, to wind through the trees and the sounds of waves breaking against the shore. These recordings were recommended as to present a soothing environment for recovering patients. - Alex)

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Woman Wakes From Coma and Wants To Kiss Bob Seger

Posted by on in TBI

Evie Branon               Bob Seger



 One Mid-Michigan woman is turning her misfortune into opportunity after waking from a comatose state -- she's doing the first thing that sprang to mind after coming out of the coma -- going to a Bob Seger show!

"Well, I don't know anything about what happened to me, only that I had a stroke and I didn't remember anything for five-and-a-half years," explained 79-year-old Evie Branan.

Then a bump of the head miraculously brought her back, and she just had one request -- to see Bob Seger in concert. Now that wish is coming true.

Branan is counting down the hours until she's swept off to the Palace of Auburn Hills in a limousine to see Seger on April 11, a pretty astounding feat considering the time she spent in a coma. "I didn't communicate with anybody; they said all I did was lay and stare," said Branan.

Then in May 2011, for the first time in years, she tried to get out of bed by herself to head for the ladies room, where she slipped and bumped her head.

"My memory started coming back, not all at once, just gradually," explains Branan. "But they said when I woke up one morning, the first words out of my mouth [were], 'I want to go to a Bob Seger concert,' and what made me say that I still can't figure out why."

Now this isn't Branan's first time seeing Seger in concert -- she's actually seen him on several occasions -- however, this time she's hoping for a little bit more than just a good show.

"I'm learning  how to stand so I can hug him, and I'm going to hug him and give him a great big smooch!" Branan says.

( - 2013)

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Gabby Giffords Journey to TBI Recovery

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Tucson, Arizona (CNN) -- What is most shocking about Gabby Giffords now is how much she looks like her old self. Her golden locks are back; so is the sparkle in her eyes and her broad smile. Gone is the short hair and thin frame we saw at the beginning of her recovery.

Yet she knows she will never be the same.

"Stronger. Stronger, better, tougher. Stronger, better, tougher." That's how Giffords describes herself.

The former Arizona congresswoman makes that declaration with determination and gusto. But it still takes a considerable amount of energy and concentration to articulate that, or anything else.

Being with Giffords, who was shot in the head two years ago during an appearance in front of an Arizona supermarket, it is obvious that she understands and absorbs everything around her. She follows conversation, reacts, engages and offers unsolicited ideas -- usually in the form of a single word or gesture that makes clear what she means.

She has go-to phrases that indicate how she feels, often saying "good stuff" to express encouragement and "whoa" to show something excites her or makes her happy.

The right-handed Giffords still has no use of that hand and that arm is paralyzed. She generally wears a sling to keep it from flopping around.

Her right leg is also paralyzed. She wears a large brace and literally drags her right leg with her good, left leg to walk. Still, she walks remarkably well.

Giffords has limited sight in both eyes, no peripheral vision to the right.

Kelly jokes that when he wants to sneak up on her he will come around the right so she can't see him coming.

That makes Giffords giggle.

It is clear watching the couple interact that humor helps keep her spirits up and eases the pressure of their intense daily struggle.

(CNN-2013 News)

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