Brain Injury Alliance

Gavin Atwood of the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado sent this to me.  Click the link to see more about the event. 

President Obama's Brain Initiative

The President is behind the new BRAIN Initiative.

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. Long desired by researchers seeking new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, this picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought.

As part of the BRAIN Initiative, Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Massachusetts General Hospital are leading the effort to devise brain implants to help veterans overcome post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Roughly 2.8 million men and women have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s estimated that up to 20 percent of those individuals will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning home.

In light of this sobering statistic, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has embarked on a 5-year, $70 million project to develop electronic devices that can be implanted in brains to treat PTSD and other psychological problems faced by military personnel. The new devices would both monitor and stimulate specific neural circuits in order to train the brain to function correctly.

Costs of Crashes

The economic and societal harm from motor vehicle crashes amounted to a whopping $871 billion in a single year, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study examined the economic toll of car and truck crashes in 2010, when 32,999 people were killed, 3.9 million injured and 24 million vehicles damaged. Those deaths and injuries were similar to other recent years. Of the total price tag, $277 billion was attributed to economic costs -- nearly $900 for every person living in the U.S. that year. Harm from loss of life, pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries was pegged at $594 billion.

Feeling Dizzy?

Research shows that Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) helps pinpoint the part of the brain that makes us dizzy.  The brains of people who experience chronic dizziness and other symptoms after concussion show more white matter damage visible on MRI. The findings suggest that information provided by MRI can speed the onset of effective treatments for concussion patients.

Brain Injury Survey

The Craig Hospital Research Department is conducting an online study.

The link below will take you to a survey about advocacy. The survey is designed for people who have had a brain injury as well as for family members/close friends who help advocate for someone who has had a brain injury.

The survey is completely anonymous. We will have no way to link your responses to your email address. It will take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

Your participation will allow us to evaluate programs that empower people with the skills of self-advocacy after brain injury.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of people with brain injury!

Concussion in Athletes Doubles...Or Does it?

You have to live under a rock to not know about how Traumatic Brain Injury is affecting sports and athletes.  Football, Boxing, anything involving getting hit in the head by another person or object are all part of the group.

Concussion rates in US high-school athletes more than doubled between 2005 and 2012, according to a new national study using data on nine team sports.

Researchers suspect the upward trend in reported concussions reflects increased awareness. That's right.  The concussions were always there. We have just become better at recognizing them.

 Overall, the rate increased from .23 to .51 concussions per 1,000 athlete exposures. An athlete exposure is defined as one athlete participating in one competition or practice.

Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update June 2014

The Brain Injury Association of America notes the following legislative updates: Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2014 Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Congressman Butterfield (D-NC) introduced H.R. 4755, "Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2014'' on May 29, 2014.The bill allows Inpatient Rehab Facilities (IRFs) to count recreational therapy services toward satisfaction of the "three hour rule," giving physicians practicing in inpatient hospital rehabilitation settings greater flexibility to prescribe and provide the mix of therapies in the IRF setting that best meets each patient's needs, including individuals with brain injuries. BIAA played a major role in tailoring this legislation to better improve the care individuals with brain injury receive at IRFs. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. Please call your Representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor HR 4755 today! To find your Representatives contact information click here. Enter your zip code in the upper right hand corner and click "GO". This will take you to your Representatives contact information. Disability Advocates Call for Senate Action on Treaty Following Supreme Court Ruling in Bond Case On Monday, June 2, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Bond v. United States. The unanimous judgment supports what disability advocates and legal scholars had long contended: that the Bond case is not an obstacle to ratifying the Disability Treaty. The coalition of over 800 disability, veteran, and faith organizations working in support of the Treaty today call on the Senate to proceed promptly to ratification of the Disability Treaty. Opponents of the Disability Treaty have claimed that the Senate should not take up ratification until the Supreme Court had announced a decision in the Bond case. "The Supreme Court has spoken. Bond is no impediment to ratification of the Disability Treaty, and the Chief Justice has given the Senate a clear blueprint on how to ratify a treaty while preserving existing states' rights," said Marca Bristo, President of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities. "It's now time to restore American leadership on disability rights by moving forward immediately with ratification of the Disability Treaty. One billion people worldwide with disabilities have waited long enough." The Bond case involved a challenge to a federal statute implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was enacted after that Convention was ratified. However, the disability treaty is modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed by Congress long before the Disability Treaty was even ratified, and no new legislation is necessary for the US to comply with the treaty. This was confirmed in a declaration the Senate Foreign Relations Committee inserted into its proposed resolution of advice and consent in 2012, which states, "The Senate declares that, in view of the reservations to be included in the instrument of ratification, current United States law fulfills or exceeds the obligations of the Convention for the United States of America." In a November 2013 hearing on the disability treaty in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former White House Counsel Boyden Gray, testified that maintain the Federal-State balance could be addressed through appropriate Senate reservations. Also conservative international law scholars, Timothy Meyer of the University of Georgia and Curtis A. Bradley of Duke Law School agreed that appropriate reservations, understandings and declarations (RUDs) to the Treaty could achieve this goal. Such RUDs have been adopted for treaties ratified by Presidents of both parties throughout history and have never been challenged. The Supreme Court's Bond opinion highlights that when Congress is silent regarding the Federal - State balance, Federal Courts will resolve any ambiguities by assuming that the statute does not intrude upon traditional state jurisdiction - including a statute that implements a treaty. For the CRPD, the Senate will explicitly enact a reservation that maintains the Federal-State balance, which will reinforce this principle. It is obvious from today's decision that such a reservation will have the binding force of law and will be upheld by the Courts. The Senate can take this Supreme Court decision, and confidently draft Reservations that will uphold (as the Court put it) the "basic principles of federalism embodied in the Constitution." Call your Senators today to say it is time to pass the disability treaty! To find the contact information for your Senators click here. In the upper right hand corner click on the drop box function under "Find Your Senators" and click "GO". This will take you to your Senators contact information. To learn more about the disability treaty click here.

Epilepsy Caused by Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is a risk factor for epilepsy, though the relationship is not understood. A new study in mice, published in Cerebral Cortex, identifies increased levels of a specific neurotransmitter as a contributing factor connecting traumatic brain injury (TBI) to post-traumatic epilepsy. The findings suggest that damage to brain cells called interneurons disrupts neurotransmitter levels and plays a role in the development of epilepsy after a traumatic brain injury.

Gambling Addiction and the Brain

Since I am from Las Vegas, new gambling addiction research is interesting.

Researchers from Cambridge University believe hyperactivity in the brain's insula could lead to problem gambling; future treatments could focus on reducing this hyperactivity. Gambling is a widespread activity: 73% of people in the UK report some gambling involvement in the past year and around 50% play games other than the National Lottery. For a small proportion of players (around 1-5%), their gambling becomes excessive, resulting in features seen in addiction. Problem gambling is associated with both debt and family difficulties as well as other mental health problems like depression.

During gambling games, people often misperceive their chances of winning due to a number of errors of thinking called cognitive distortions. For example, 'near-misses' seem to encourage further play, even though they are no different from any other loss. In a random sequence like tossing a coin, a run of one event (heads) makes people think the other outcome (tails) is due next; this is known as the 'gambler's fallacy'.

There is increasing evidence that problem gamblers are particularly prone to these erroneous beliefs. In this study, the researchers examined the neurological basis of these beliefs in patients with injuries to different parts of the brain.

Brain Disease and Lack of Oxygen

Scientists and researchers have uncovered how inflammation and lack of oxygen work together to cause brain damage in conditions such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

The discovery, published today in Neuron, brings researchers a step closer to finding potential targets to treat neurodegenerative disorders.

Chronic inflammation and hypoxia, or oxygen deficiency, are hallmarks of several brain diseases, but little was known about how they contribute to symptoms such as memory loss.

Since the brain uses most of the oxygen it is usually damaged when there is hypoxia.

Colorado's Brain Injury Alliance Event

Gavin Atwood has asked me to forward this Brain Injury Event on to my readers.  I have participated with the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado previously and recommend this event.

Summit County Conference Registration is Open

Lunch keynote speaker
Kevin Pearce, 'Love your Brain'
Click here to Register

Gavin Attwood
Executive Director


April 23rd Pueblo Conference
Space is Limited

Click here to Register Now.

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people with brain injuries by connecting survivors with resources to help navigate the path of rehabilitation.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Permanent Injury

Even the mildest form of a traumatic brain injury, better known as a concussion, can deal permanent, irreparable damage.

Now, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania is using mathematical modeling to better understand the mechanisms at play in this kind of injury, with an eye toward protecting the brain from its long-term consequences.

Their recent findings, published in the Biophysical Journal, shed new light on the mechanical properties of a critical brain protein and its role in the elasticity of axons, the long, tendril-like part of brain cells. This protein, known as tau, helps explain the apparent contradiction this elasticity presents. If axons are so stretchy, why do they break under the strain of a traumatic brain injury?

Tau's own elastic properties reveal why rapid impacts deal permanent damage to structures within axons, when applying the same force more slowly causes them to safely stretch. This understanding can now be used to make computer models of the brain more realistic and potentially can be applied toward tau-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

My friend, Gavin Atwood, asked me to share this event with my readers.  I have known Gavin for several years and am familiar with his work at the Colorado Brain Injury Alliance.

Space is Limited!
Pueblo Conference Presenters
Government Resources & Caregiver Support – Bill Levis, family member
ABC's of Behavior Management – Cheryl Catsoulis, CBIST 
Assisting Brain Injury Survivors to Navigate the New Legal Landscape - Brian Matise, Esq.
Collaborative Treatment for Vision Rehabilitation – Dr. Tom Wilson, OD & Terri Cassidy, OT

Click below to register

I look forward to seeing you in Pueblo!

Gavin Attwood


Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people with brain injuries by connecting survivors with resources to help navigate the path of rehabilitation.

The Crash Reel

The Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon has asked me to forward the event below to my readers.  I have participated and taught in programs for this group previously and recommend this event.


The Crash Reel

Crash Reel: The Ride of a Lifetime


Crash Reel:  The Ride of a Lifetime
The Kevin Pearce Story

Training to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Kevin suffered severe traumatic brain injury from a 2009 accident in Park City, Utah. His tight-knit Vermont family flew to his side, and together they began an intensive process of trying to rehabilitate him and help him rebuild his permanently damaged life. Kevin's determination and the tireless support of family and friends kept him focused on recovery. But when he insisted he wanted to return to the sport he loved, his family objected. As an elite athlete, Kevin was a professional risk taker, but as a brain-injury survivor, his skills were now impaired, and even a small blow to the head could kill him.


Limited number of tickets  can be purchased here.

April 26th, 7 pm

5th Ave Cinema

510 SW Hall St.

Portland, OR 97201

"It's all part of the perplexing question: what if the thing you love the most may kill you?"


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Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon


Sleep-Wake Cycles and Alzheimer's

Being awake at night and dozing during the day can be a distressing early symptom of Alzheimer's disease, but how the disease disrupts our biological clocks to cause these symptoms has remained elusive.

Now, scientists from Cambridge have discovered that in fruit flies with Alzheimer's the biological clock is still ticking but has become uncoupled from the sleep-wake cycle it usually regulates. The findings - published in Disease Models & Mechanisms - could help develop more effective ways to improve sleep patterns in people with the disease.

People with Alzheimer's often have poor biological rhythms, something that is a burden for both patients and their carers. Periods of sleep become shorter and more fragmented, resulting in periods of wakefulness at night and snoozing during the day. They can also become restless and agitated in the late afternoon and early evening, something known as 'sundowning'.

Biological clocks go hand in hand with life, and are found in everything from single celled organisms to fruit flies and humans. They are vital because they allow organisms to synchronise their biology to the day-night changes in their environments.