Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

Best Jobs For Those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posted in Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Publications, Resources, Soldiers, Veterans and Military Issues

Occasionally I am privileged to post a guest blog.  Folks contact me interested in my niche of law and medicine and ask me to review a potential post.  This one is from Julia Merrill discussing best jobs for victims of post traumatic stress disorder. I felt this article particularly useful.

My experience with traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder reveals employment potentiality can be significantly impaired.  Victims find, as they resume their place in their community of life, that work is far more difficult: it uses much more energy to do what one did previous to injury and creates fatigue. However many times this is accompanied by insomnia so sleep deprivation comes into play. Symptoms including, attention impairment, distractibility, irritability, impaired processing speed and accuracy, make the following statement relevant: It is not that an impaired individual cannot GET a job (they often make excellent first impressions in interviews), the problem is typically in RETAINING the job.  Consistency is typically lacking.  This causes future loss in earning capacity, sometimes for life.

Here is Julia’s guest blog post entitled The Best Flexible Jobs For PTSD Sufferers:Keyboard Job

The Best Flexible Jobs For PTSD Sufferers

by Julia Merrill 

Photo by Pixabay

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects many people who have survived stressful, life-impacting situations, including abuse, military combat, and injury accidents. The effects this disorder can have on sufferers vary widely, but for many, the thought of re-joining the workforce can be daunting.

One of the many issues PTSD sufferers face is the need for a flexible schedule; whether it’s because they need a job that offers limited interaction with others or because they don’t sleep well and need an overnight job, there are many factors to take into consideration when looking for employment. Here are some of the best jobs for anyone looking for a schedule that allows some freedom.


Working with animals can be hugely rewarding for any sufferer of PTSD, especially non-threatening dogs. Many pet owners around the country have a need for a caregiver who can come and let their dog out during the day while they’re at work, and is a great site for owners and potential employees to find one another. You can set up a profile, arrange meet-ups, and work out the financial end of things all in one spot, then work out a flexible schedule that will allow you to spend some time with a loving pet and earn cash at the same time. If you have more time to spend with your four-legged customers, you can also sign up to be a pet sitter.


While freelance writing can be a tricky business, it can also be a lucrative one if you know where to look and what to avoid. Many sites that claim to offer huge sums of money in exchange for blog posts likely aren’t as truthful as they seem, but there is still cash to be found for certain companies. If you have a flair for writing and are capable of working well on your own, there are plenty of news blogs that pay per article and allow you to work on your own time as long as you turn in a target number during a pay week.


Many office buildings, banks, and hotels keep varying hours and require a small cleaning staff — or even just one person — to come in during downtime and take care of the rooms. Often they may only need you one day a week, but depending on the business (and how much you’d like to work), you can get scheduled several hours during the week to accommodate your schedule. Check with local companies to see what their needs are, or you might contact local cleaning services to see if they’re hiring.

Nursing Aide

While different hospitals and nursing homes require varying levels of education, you may be able to find a part-time job as an aide. This is often a quiet position and can be a very flexible one, as well, depending on where you go. There is also the option of home health care, which varies in responsibility. is a great place to look for local needs, which can range from assisting an elderly patient with self-care to sitting with a terminally ill person.


Many companies require an employee with a good driving record who is capable of working well unsupervised to deliver or maintain merchandise in stores. Some, like Hallmark, offer competitive pay and reimburse for gas and mileage. Many of these companies offer flexible schedules, but some require that you be available around holidays, the busiest times for retail stores.


If you’re good with numbers or have an accounting certification, you may have luck finding work with tax firms or with private individuals who need help with their finances. Offering your services as an independent accountant around tax time can lead to quite a bit of income, and you can set your own schedule depending on how big your client load is.

It can be a bit overwhelming at first to begin a job search with personal needs related to PTSD in mind, but there are plenty of places to look when looking for employment that will be open to an unorthodox schedule.

Julia Merrill is a retired board-certified nurse practitioner. Over the course of her 30-year career, she strived to bridge the communication gap between those seeking the best medical care and those working to provide it. She created with the goal of sharing tips and insights into finding the right medical care, dealing with insurance companies, and ways for everyone to better maintain their own health and wellness.

Athletes Report Recovery But Found To have Lasting Brain Injury

Posted in Books, Articles, and Literature, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Spine Injury, Back Injury, Neck Injury and Bone Injury, The Human Brain, Uncategorized

New research finds white matter changes in the brains of athletes six months after a concussion. The study will be presented at the Sports Concussion Conference in Chicago, July 2016, hosted by the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s leading authority on the diagnosis and management of sports-related concussion. The conference brings together leading experts in the field to present and discuss the latest scientific advances in diagnosing and treating sports-related concussion.

The study involved high school and college football players who experienced a sports-related concussion. Each underwent MRI brain scans and were assessed for concussion symptoms, balance problems, and cognitive impairment, or memory and thinking problems, at 24 hours, eight days and six months following the concussion. Researchers also assessed carefully matched athletes who had not experienced a concussion.

At all time points, each had advanced brain scans called diffusion tensor imaging and diffusion kurtosis tensor imaging to look for acute and chronic changes to the brain’s white matter. The scans are based on the movement of water molecules in brain tissue and measure microstructural changes in white matter, which connects different brain regions. Those who had concussions had less water movement, or diffusion, in the acute stages following concussion (24 hours, six days) compared to those who did not have concussions. These microstructural changes still persisted six months after the injury. Also, those who had more severe symptoms at the time of the concussion were more likely to have alterations in the brain’s white matter six months later.

Despite those findings, there was no difference between the group of athletes with and without concussion with regard to self-reported concussion symptoms, cognition, or balance at six months post-injury.

“In other words, athletes may still experience long-term brain changes even after they feel they have recovered from the injury. These findings have important implications for managing concussions and determining recovery in athletes who have experienced a sports-related concussion,” said study author Melissa Lancaster, PhD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “Additional research is needed to determine how these changes relate to long-term outcomes.”

To Read more Click here.

Schizophrenia Patients Get Promising Results from Imaging Study

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, Brain Injury News and Event Update, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Dynamic cerebral reorganization in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia: An MRI-derived cortical thickness study. Credit: Lena Palaniyappan

Increase in brain’s grey matter proof that brain has ability to rescue itself

A team of scientists from across the globe have shown that the brains of patients with schizophrenia have the capacity to reorganize and fight the illness. This is the first time that imaging data has been used to show that our brains may have the ability to reverse the effects of schizophrenia.

There is an overarching feeling that curing people with a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia is not possible.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation. People with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, major depressive illness or substance use disorder. Symptoms typically come on gradually, begin in young adulthood, and last a long time.

A new study using specialized MRI scans provides evidence that patients with schizophrenia actually possess the ability to reorganize and battle the mental illness . This is the first time that imaging scans have been employed to demonstrate the ability of the brain to actually reverse the devastating effects of schizophrenia.

Although schizophrenia is typically associated with a global reduction in the volume of brain tissue, recent evidence indicates that there is a also a small increase in tissue and volume that can also occur in specific areas of the brain.

The study, “Dynamic cerebral reorganization in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia: a MRI-derived cortical thickness study” was published online in Psychology Medicine.


Neurological Disease Act

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Soldiers, Veterans and Military Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Uncategorized

The Brain Injury Association of America updated its legislative progress on June 24, 2016.  

Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act Brain injury advocates have helped get the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act (S. 849) further than it has ever advanced in the United States Senate. This bill would establish a data collection system to track the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases including brain injury. Emerging therapies offer promise of cures for life-threatening diseases such as brain injury, Alzheimer’s, MS, cancer, Parkinson’s, and others. Our medical and research communities are on the cusp of personalized medicine that takes into account a patient’s unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. We must ensure research and regulatory institutions can keep pace. This pending legislation would streamline and modernize the biomedical research pipeline, and help bring new, safe and effective treatments and cures to Americans.

The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act would establish a data collection system to track the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases. This system will provide a foundation for evaluating and understanding aspects of neurological diseases on which we currently do not have a good grasp such as the geography of diagnoses, variances in gender and disease burden-also helping expedite our path to cures.

The U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously passed the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act in February. This June, S. 849 was filed as an amendment to the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate passed the NDAA on June 14 and it ultimately did not include S. 849. While BIAA would like to see the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act advance, the NDAA process offered very limited opportunity to strengthen the bill. BIAA will continue to work on opportunities to advance a strong Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act. This bill was included in the House of Representatives 21st Century Cures Act which was passed by the House. The Senate is still working to pass their version of 21st Century Cures, the Innovations Act.

VA Secretary Provides Relief for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald has granted equitable relief to more than 24,000 Veterans following a national review of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) medical examinations conducted in connection with disability compensation claims processed between 2007 and 2015.This action by the Secretary allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer new TBI examinations to Veterans whose initial examination for TBI was not conducted by one of four designated medical specialists and provides them with the opportunity to have their claims reprocessed.

Equitable relief is a unique legal remedy that allows the Secretary to correct an injustice to a claimant where VA is not otherwise authorized to do so within the scope of the law. To ensure that TBI is properly evaluated for disability compensation purposes, VA developed a policy in 2007 requiring that one of four specialists – a psychiatrist, physiatrist, neurosurgeon or neurologist – complete TBI exams when VA does not have a prior diagnosis.

Since 2007, medicine around TBI has been a rapidly evolving science. VA designated particular specialists to conduct initial TBI exams because they have the most experience with the symptoms and effects of TBI. As more research became available, VA issued a number of guidance documents that may have created confusion regarding the policy.

VA has confirmed that its TBI policy guidance is now clear and being followed. Secretary McDonald stated we have let these Veterans down, that is why we are taking every step necessary to grant equitable relief to those affected to ensure they receive the full benefits to which they are entitled. VA understands the importance of an accurate exam to support Veterans’ disability claims.

The Secretary’s decision to grant relief will enable VA to take action on any new examinations without requiring Veterans to submit new claims. If additional benefits are due, VA will award an effective date as early as the date of the initial TBI claim. The VA will contact Veterans identified as part of this national TBI review to offer them an opportunity to receive a new examination and have their claims reprocessed. More than 13,000 of these affected Veterans are already receiving service-connected compensation benefits for TBI at a 10-percent disability evaluation or higher, which means that the diagnosis has already been established.


© 2015 Brain Injury Association of America. All Rights Reserved

Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update June 2016

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Uncategorized
Quick Links

BIAA Government Affairs BIAA Home Page Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS)

Find BIAA in Your State Brain Injury Preferred Attorneys BIAA Career Center


BIAA Policy Corner

is a update on federal policy activity related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is published weekly when Congress is in session. The Brain Injury Association of America

is the country’s oldest and largest nationwide brain injury advocacy organization. Our mission is to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment and education and to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by brain injury. Through advocacy, we bring help, hope and healing to millions of individuals living with brain injury, their families and the professionals who serve them. The Brain Injury Association of America is grateful to its Corporate Sponsors for their support of our advocacy, awareness, information and education programs. Please visit their Web sites to learn more about their programs and services.


June 10, 2016

The Brain Injury Association of America asked me to post this latest legislative update:

 Congressional Brain Injury Task Force to Host Briefing on Women and Traumatic Brain Injury

Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Representative Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Dianna DeGette (D-CO) in association with the Brain Injury Association of America cordially invite you to attend:

Women and Traumatic Brain Injury: A Frontier Yet to be Explored

Congressional Briefing

 Tuesday, June 14, 2016

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

2456 Rayburn House Office Building


Joanne Finegan, MSA, CTRS, FDRT President and CEO of ReMed, US Community Behavioral and Embassy Management, LLC Member of the Business and Professional Council of the Brain Injury Association of America


  Briana Scurry

Retired Goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team

Olympic Gold Medalist

World Cup Champion


Yelena Goldin, PhD

Clinical and Research Neuropsychologist, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute

Clinical Assistant Professor, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Co-Chair of Girls and Women’s with Acquired Brain Injury Task Force, American College of Rehabilitation Medicine


Alison Cernich, PhD

Director, National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research

National Institutes of Health


Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, PhD, ABN, ABPP-RP

Director& Neuropsychologist, Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey at The RSM Psychology Center

Adjunct Professor in Clinical Psychology, Widener University


Navy Captain (Dr.) Mike Colston

Director, Defense Centers on Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury


Spasticity Awareness Week to Launch Next Week

BIAA, along with other patient advocacy organizations, has launched the first annual Spasticity Awareness Week, June 13-17. Spasticity Awareness Week aims to build awareness and educate consumers about spasticity and the individual’s spasticity impacts. The Spasticity Awareness website will be a live site throughout the year.

After a brain injury, some individuals may experience spasticity. Spasticity is a condition that causes stiff, tight muscles, especially in the arms and legs. Individuals with spasticity are often unable to relax their muscles. As a result, movements are stiff, jerky or uncontrollable. Spasticity may also mask potential movement in the individual and it often occurs in individuals with brain injury.

To learn more about brain injury and spasticity, visit BIAA’s website, and download The Road to Rehabilitation 7, Traveling Toward Relief Dealing with Spasticity in Brain Injury for a small donation.



Mopping Up the Mess – Brain Cleaning

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Spine Injury, Back Injury, Neck Injury and Bone Injury, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Uncategorized

When brain cells, neurons, die, their debris need to be quickly and efficiently removed for the surrounding brain tissue to continue to function properly. Elimination of the dead neuron corpses, is accomplished through phagocytosis (Phagocytosis is a specific form of endocytosis by which cells engulf and internalize solid matter). Phagocytosis is carried out by highly specialized cells in the brain called microglia (Microglia are a type of glial cell located throughout the brain and spinal cord. Microglia account for 10–15% of all cells found within the brain. As the resident macrophage cells, they act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system). These small cells have many ramifications that are in constant motion and are specially equipped to detect and destroy any foreign element, including dead neurons. Or so it was thought until now.

A new study, published May 26, 2016 in PLOS Biology, investigates, for the first time, the process of neuronal death and microglial phagocytosis in the diseased brain. To this end, scientists collected brain samples from epilepsy patients and from epileptic mice.

It is known that during epilepsy-associated seizures, neurons die. However, contrary to what happens in the healthy brain, during epilepsy, microglia seem to be “blind” and unable to find the dead neurons and to destroy them. Their behavior is abnormal. Therefore, dead neurons cannot be eliminated and accumulate, spreading the damage to neighboring neurons and triggering an inflammatory response that worsens the brain injury.

This discovery opens a new avenue to explore therapies that could alleviate the effects of brain diseases. In fact, the research group that undertook these studies is currently developing drugs, hoping to boost this cleaning process -phagocytosis- and help in the treatment of epilepsy.

Brain Injury Legislative Update May 2016

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Spine Injury, Back Injury, Neck Injury and Bone Injury, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Uncategorized

This is from the Brain Injury Association of America’s latest legislative update.  Note Dr. O’Shanick, Medical Director of the Center for Neurorehabilitation Services, spoke to Congress.

  •  House Committee Holds Hearing on Youth Sports Concussion Act

Dr. Gregory O’Shanick, President and Medical Director of the Center for Neurorehabilitation Services in Richmond, Virginia and the Medical Director Emeritus of the Brain Injury Association of America testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade on Tuesday, May 24 to discuss the Youth Sports Concussion Act, H.R. 4460. The hearing, Legislative Hearing on 17 FTC Bills, covered a variety of legislation that will impact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade is chaired by Congressman Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and the ranking member is Congresswoman Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) passed the Youth Sports Concussion Act, S. 2508 out of the committee on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. The Youth Sports Concussion Act is sponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and in the House of Representatives, Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.), co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act expressed the sense of Congress that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should review the National Academies’ report on sports-related concussions and future research in such area for any matter that may impact products under the CPSC’s jurisdiction or inform the FTC’s efforts to protect consumers.

The bill makes it unlawful to sell or offer for sale in interstate commerce, or import into the United States for such purposes, athletic sporting equipment for which the seller or importer makes any deceptive claim with respect to the safety benefits of such an item. Violations shall be treated as unfair or deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The bill sets forth the enforcement authority of the FTC. States may bring civil actions in federal court to obtain injunctive relief on behalf of state residents unless a civil or administrative action has already been instituted by the FTC. The FTC may intervene and appeal in state actions.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act is an important piece of legislation because it will protect our nation’s youth who participate in sports related activities from concussions and other injuries by discouraging false advertising claims regarding protective equipment used in competitive sports. BIAA and NASHIA recently spearheaded a letter of support to the House Energy and Commerce Committee to include the Youth Sports Concussion Act in the next executive session. Thirty six organizations signed on in support of moving this important legislation through the committee process. BIAA thanks Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) for moving this important legislation through the committee process.

  • Congressional Report Finds NFL Improperly Attempted to Influence NIH on Brain Injury Research
    On May 23, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released a report concluding that the National Football League (NFL) improperly attempted to influence the grant review process for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) brain injury study that the NFL had agreed to fund as part of a $30 million donation. The report states that the integrity of NIH’s grant review process was preserved. The report also concludes the Foundation of NIH (FNIH), a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to direct funding from public and private donors to NIH projects, did not adequately fulfill its role of serving as an intermediary between NIH and the NFL. You can read the full report here.


  • Pediatric Trauma Caucus Launched
    House Energy and Commerce Committee members Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) officially launched the Pediatric Trauma Caucus on Tuesday, May 24. NASCAR Team Owner, Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee, and Co-Founder of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, Richard Childress led the briefing discussion. Other panelist included Bob Gfeller, Executive Director, Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, Dr. Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., Chief, Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Dr. David Adelson, Director, Barrow Neurological Institute, Chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery/Children’s Neurosciences, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Diana Fendya, R.N., Trauma/Acute Care Specialist, EMSC National Resource Center, Children’s National Medical Center, Dr. Barbara A. Gaines, Clinical Director, Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Dr. John Petty, Director, Pediatric Trauma Program, Brenner Children’s Hospital/Wake Forest Baptist Health. BIAA thanks Reps. Hudson and Butterfield for taking the lead on this important issue.


Congress will be in recess next week in honor of Memorial Day, Monday, May 30 therefore the next Policy Corner will be released on Friday, June 10.
© 2015 Brain Injury Association of America.
All Rights Reserved

BIAA December Update

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Uncategorized

On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, Congress released the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, the fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill *, which totals $1.15 trillion in discretionary spending in compliance with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The bill appropriates $1.067 trillion in base discretionary budget authority, pursuant to the two-year budget agreement enacted in November 2015, including: $548.091 billion in base defense spending; and $518.491 billion in base non-defense spending. The bill funds the government through September 30, 2016.

Today the House and Senate passed the omnibus appropriations bill and sent it to the President. Congress already passed a continuing resolution (CR) which funds the federal government through December 22, 2015.

Congress is also working on a massive $680 billion permanent tax extenders bill, which is also being referred to as a tax cuts package. This bill was released on December 16 and was passed by the House on December 17, by a vote of 318 to 109, with 241 Republicans voting in favor. The Senate passed the tax package today.

Funding for Traumatic Brain Injury Federal programs are listed below:

TBI Act: $9.321 million. This is level funding from Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The bill also includes specific language to move the program’s funding from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Injury Prevention Center, TBI: $6.75 million. This is an increase from FY 15’s $6.548 million.
  • BRAIN Research Initiative: $150 million. This is an increase of $85 million from FY 15.
  • Defense Health Program TBI/Psychological Health: $125 million. This is the same funding level as FY 15. The initial Defense Appropriations bill that the House considered earlier this year cut funding for this program to $100 million. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force successfully passed an amendment restoring the funding to $125 million.

*An omnibus spending bill is a type of bill that packages the 12 smaller appropriations bills into one large single bill that could be passed with only one vote in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. There are 12 appropriations bills that need to be passed each year to fund the federal government and avoid a government shutdown, an omnibus spending bill combines these bills into a single bill.

Brain Effects Holiday Choices

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Uncategorized
Model Skull

If you’re pondering whether to buy a Windows Phone or an iPhone this holiday season, (I am a Windows Guy), a part of the brain called the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex might  ultimately determine your choice. Results of a new study suggest that this region of the brain plays a critical role in making choices.

A New Brain Study by Avinash Vaidya and Dr. Lesley Fellows, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), suggest that this region of the brain,  dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, plays a critical role in making choices.

Dr. Fellows stated recently “A big question is how and where value information is represented in the brain, and what goes into that representation.”  Dr. Fellows is  a neurologist and researcher in the expanding field of decision neuroscience. “Our research confirmed what savvy marketers already know: the longer you look at one of two objects, the more likely you’ll choose that object even if you initially valued the other one more. But we went further and identified a region of the frontal lobe that is crucially involved in this phenomenon.”

The study involved 60 participants, half of whom had suffered localized injury to the frontal lobes due to a stroke or tumor. Participants looked at hundreds of different pieces of art and rated their desire for each of them. This provided an estimate of the subjective value that each piece held. In a later test, the participants chose between pairs of these artworks. Participants were inclined to select the artwork that they examined longer even if in the earlier test they gave a higher value rating to the other object. Participants behaved as though the value of an option increased the longer it was observed.  Seeing is believing!

Participants with damage to a particular sector of the frontal lobe, the dorsomedial PFC, showed an exaggerated tendency to be drawn to the object at hand. The study shows that the dorsomedial PFC plays a critical role in mediating the balance between prior value assessment and an object’s immediate appeal.

So as you shop this Holiday, remember there is more to your choices than meets the eye.

Brain Injury Association of America Survey

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

BIAA Survey

The Brain Injury Association of America has asked me to forward this message on to my reader

Affordable Care Act Consumer Survey

The Brain Injury Association of America is conducting a survey to better understand whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is meeting the needs of individuals with brain injuries. If you have health care coverage through private insurance provided by your employer or by one of the health care marketplaces or “exchanges,” please take a moment to fill out the survey here. The survey is also under news and announcements on BIAA’s website,

 BIAA Comments On NIH Research Priorities

BIAA, along with the Disability Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC) submitted comments on the proposed research priorities of the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR). Through basic, translational, and clinical research, the NCMRR aims to foster development of scientific knowledge needed to enhance the health, productivity, independence, and quality-of-life of people with physical disabilities. The NCMRR supports research on the following topics: pathophysiology and management of chronically injured nervous and musculoskeletal systems (including stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and orthopedic conditions); repair and recovery of motor and cognitive function; functional plasticity, adaptation, and windows of opportunity for rehabilitative interventions; rehabilitative strategies involving pharmaceutical, stimulation, and neuroengineering approaches, exercise, motor training, and behavioral modifications; pediatric rehabilitation; secondary conditions associated with chronic disabilities; improved diagnosis, assessment, and outcome measures; and development of orthotics, prosthetics, and other assistive technologies and devices. The comments will be posted to BIAA’s website soon under Legislative Priorities, Research.

BIAA Meets With CDC To Discuss TBI Research
BIAA met with leadership from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention this week as follow up from a letter BIAA sent CDC regarding research priorities which did not include Tier I Research for TBI. BIAA is concerned that the Injury Center is shifting away from research on secondary and tertiary prevention of traumatic brain injury (TBI), as reflected in the Injury Center’s Research Priorities for the next 3-5 years.

In the letter, Susan Connors, president/CEO of BIAA noted that Tier 1 priorities, identified in the CDC Injury Research Agenda 2009-2018, reflect, “the most immediate TBI-related research needs and those that should be supported first as resources become available.”

These include:

Improving identification, assessment, and management of TBI;
Developing and applying methods for calculating population-based estimates of the incidence, costs, and long-term consequences of TBI;
Identifying methods and strategies to ensure that persons with TBI receive needed services; and
Developing and evaluating interventions for reducing TBI-related disability.