Neurosurgeon and PhD researcher Uzma Samadani is the cofounder of Oculogica, a neurodiagnostic company that specializes in using eye-tracking technology to detect concussions and other brain injuries that are invisible to radiologic scans. She shares her journey of discovery on the TEDMED 2014 stage.
"When you have an invisible disability, it’s easy for people to forget you’re disabled."
It happened when I took dinner over to my neighbors, who’d just brought their bundle of joy home from the hospital days before. As I held their daughter, the mom Jillian asked me: “So when are you going to start having kids?” I knew lots of people wondered. Dan and I had been married several years, and I wasn’t working. We looked to the world like a Mormon couple ready to start a family.
Introduced in the 1980s, the neurofunctional approach (NFA) is one of the few interventions designed primarily for clients with severe deficits following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Specifically the NFA was intended for those individuals who were limited in their ability to solve novel problems or generalize skills from one setting to another and whose lack of insight limited their engagement in the rehabilitative process.
The NFA is a client-centered, goal-driven approach that incorporates the principles of skill learning and promotes the development of routines and competencies in practical activities required for everyday living. Programmes based on the NFA are developed specifically to meet each client’s unique needs, using a range of evidence-based interventions.
Recently the NFA has been found to be more effective than cognitive-retraining for some individuals with moderate-to-severe TBI who have deficits in activities of daily living. This paper aims to define the core features of the NFA, outline the theoretical basis on which it is founded and consider implications of the findings for rehabilitation after TBI in general. The NFA is highly relevant for clients living in the community who require a case manager to direct an integrated, rehabilitation programme or provide structured input for the long-term maintenance of skills.
Harry Carson wasn’t surprised when he heard the news this week that a top NFL official, for the first time, acknowledged a link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease. Such a common sense remark was long overdue, given the evidence suggesting that such a link exists — from the fact that the brains of 90 of 94 NFL players examined post-mortem by a Boston University neuropathologist were found to have CTE, to the many stories of NFL players descending into the depression and behavioral changes that the disease can cause, with some even committing suicide. Carson, a Hall of Fame linebacker for the New York Giants from 1976 to 1988, felt relief but, above all, vindication. He was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome back in 1990. Long before football’s concussion crisis became a public health issue in mid to late-2000s, he had argued that head contact from football contributed to his condition.
Cognitive impairment following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common, often adversely affecting quality of life for those 1.7 million Americans who experience a TBI each year. Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas have identified complex brain connectivity patterns in individuals with chronic phases of traumatic brain injury which may explain long term higher order cognitive function deficits.
Today's warfighters are outfitted with body armor strong enough to withstand shrapnel from a bomb or other explosive device. One debilitating threat from a blast, however, is a force they can't see—the explosive shock wave itself. "Shock waves travel faster than the speed of sound," said Dr. Timothy Bentley, a program manager in the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Warfighter Performance Department. "Warfighters physically well protected from shrapnel aren't protected from shock waves. This wave of energy can cause subtle yet damaging effects on the brain."
To examine memory skills, at acute, 6- and 12-monthly stages, following childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI). Research design : Prospective, longitudinal, between-group design, comparing pre-injury and postinjury intellectual and memory measures, across three levels of injury severity.
Investigation of memory skills in a group of 76 children who had sustained a mild, moderate or severe TBI. Specific tests were used to measure immediate and short-term memory, and more complex multi-trial learning.
The severe TBI group exhibited greater deficits on memory tasks, irrespective of modality, in the acute, 6- and 12-month post-injury stages, in comparison to mild and moderate TBI groups. Performance was dependent on both injury severity and task demands.
Memory difficulties are present during the acute, 6- and 12-months following childhood TBI. With a clearer understanding of the memory deficits following TBI, appropriate strategies can be taught and interventions implemented for these children.
Repeated impacts to the heads of high school football players cause measurable changes in their brains, even when no concussion occurs, according to research from UT Southwestern Medical Center's Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Disruptions to executive function (EF) may occur as a result of traumatic brain injury (TBI), in the context of direct damage to frontal regions or in association with disruption of connections between these areas and other brain regions. Little investigation of EF has occurred following TBI during childhood and there is little evidence of possible recovery trajectories in the years post-injury. The present study aimed to (i) examine whether a dose-response relationship exists between injury severity and EF; (ii) document recovery of EF in the 2 years post-injury and (iii) determine any additional predictors of outcome in the domain of EF.
The study examined EF in a group of 69 children who had sustained a mild, moderate or severe TBI. Four components of EF were assessed: (i) attentional control; (ii) planning, goal setting and problem solving; (iii) cognitive flexibility; and (iv) abstract reasoning.
Children sustaining severe TBI at a young age are particularly vulnerable to impairments in EF. While these difficulties do show some recovery with time since injury, long-term deficits remain and may impact on ongoing development.
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