Links for Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our mailing list, to receive news updates. Learn more.


Links 61 - 80 of 180

By JANE ROSETT “WANT a piece of gum, Jane?” asked my friend Andrée. “What?” I asked her. “Gum!” I didn’t know what she was talking about. “It’s Trident.” It was delicious. That evening, I told my friend David about my day’s big discovery. “It’s called gum and you chew it and it’s fun and there’s this one kind that will let me blow bubbles!” “Yes, it’s called bubble gum, Jane,” he told me, patiently. Fifty-nine months ago, I was wearing my seat belt and my car was stopped when another vehicle hit me, causing my head to fracture the windshield. That damaged my right temporal lobe, one of my neurologists explained when he told me I had a traumatic brain injury. I lost my long-term memory, and have been a brain injury patient within Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals ever since. At 45, I was jolted into an entirely new existence. Memories that connected different parts of my life fragmented and vanished. It took 26 months before I was able to thread my way back unattended to the house I had lived in for 17 years. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15894 - Posted: 10.10.2011

Boston University researchers have found a degenerative disease linked to head trauma in the brain tissue of the late NHL great Rick Martin, the first 50-goal scorer for the Buffalo Sabres and a member of their famed French Connection line. Martin, who died in March of hypertensive heart disease at age 59, becomes the third former NHL player found by researchers to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a disease that causes cognitive decline, behavioural abnormalities and ultimately dementia. After his death, Martin's family donated his brain to the Centre for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, a collaboration between Boston University Medical School and the Sports Legacy Institute. All three former NHL players who agreed to have their brains studied post-mortem at the centre — Martin, Bob Probert and Reggie Fleming — have now been shown to have had CTE, but Martin is the first who did not play an enforcer role and regularly participate in on-ice fights, the centre says. Neurosurgeon Robert Cantu, who co-founded the institute and is co-director of the CTE centre, told CBC News the findings in Martin's case are alarming because he only suffered perhaps one concussion in his career, unrelated to fighting. "What I can tell you bothers me: The first two cases in the National Hockey League, Reggie Fleming and Bob Probert [were] renowned fighters, 400 recognized fights during their ice hockey career, God knows how many in bars," Cantu told CBC's Stephanie Jenzer in an documentary airing Wednesday on The National, in which CBC News was granted rare access to the brain centre's lab. © CBC 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15880 - Posted: 10.06.2011

By SAM BORDEN WASHINGTON — The N.F.L’s first attempt at a long-range study on the effects of concussions was riddled with problems from the manner in which data was collected to conflicts of interest for those overseeing it. After criticism from outside experts and even members of Congress, the study was shut down by the league in late 2009. Nearly two years later, however, the N.F.L.’s committee on concussion research is planning a considerably broader study — an effort that could begin gathering data as soon as next season, according to one of the doctors involved. The doctor, Mitchel S. Berger, the chairman of the neurological surgery department at the University of California San Francisco, said Monday that he and the N.F.L.’s subcommittee on former players and long-term effects of brain and spine injury had been holding conference calls regarding the study every two weeks with representatives from the players’ union. He added that he hoped to make a final presentation to the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell “in the near future.” Berger said he was aware of the issues surrounding the previous study, and said the latest model was completely different. “There was no science in that,” Berger said in reference to the study coordinated by Dr. Ira Casson, who was also the league’s primary voice in discrediting outside research on concussions. Asked if he might use any of the data from Casson’s work, Berger shook his head. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15872 - Posted: 10.04.2011

by Bob Holmes THE two men in the hospital ward had both hit their heads in car accidents, but that was where the similarities ended. One would spend weeks unconscious in critical care, near to death. The other had only a mild concussion; he never lost consciousness, but somehow didn't feel quite right. Yet months later their roles were reversed. "The one with the severe injury is almost back to normal function," says Douglas Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury Repair at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, "and the one with concussion can't go back to work, probably ever." Smith's two patients illustrate one of the frustrating paradoxes of head injuries: even seemingly mild impacts can have devastating long-term consequences. And we have no way of predicting who will fully recover and who will have lingering problems. Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury as doctors call it, has long been seen as a benign and temporary affliction. But over the past decade there has been growing realisation that longer-term symptoms can affect between 10 and 15 per cent of those diagnosed with it. These range from fuzzy thinking and memory lapses to, for the most unfortunate, serious neurological conditions such as premature Alzheimer's disease. In fact, concussion is thought to be the single biggest environmental cause of Alzheimer's. Even a mild impact can double the risk of developing early dementia, according to a massive study of older military veterans in the US, which was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in July (bit.ly/pDhlHJ). In that, the risk jumped from 7 to 15 per cent. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15806 - Posted: 09.15.2011

Ed Pilkington Dave Duerson had so much going for him. A former professional American football player, he still carried himself with the bearing of a star. In Chicago, he was feted as a member of the legendary 1985 Bears that won the Super Bowl, thrashing the New England Patriots 46-10. In New York, too, he was fondly remembered as a member of the Giants team that took the Super Bowl championship five years later, squeaking to victory over the Buffalo Bills by just one point. He had friends throughout the sport, acquired over an 11-year career with the National Football League (NFL) and many years subsequently helping younger and less fortunate players find their way. He had a loving family with three sons and a daughter and a former wife, Alicia, who kept in regular touch, as well as a girlfriend to whom he had recently become engaged. He lived in a condominium that he owned on Sunny Isles Beach in Florida, a barrier island close to Miami dubbed the Venice of America. He was smart, charming, as kind and gentle off the field as he had been aggressive and ruthless on it. But he knew that he had a problem. There were the outward signs of difficulties – the collapse of his business, the breakup of his marriage, the debts. But there were also the internal changes. The lapses in memory, the mood swings, the piercing headaches on the left side of his head, the difficulty spelling simple words, the blurred eyesight. And hanging over it all was his fear that both his material and physical decline might not be coincidental, that they might have been caused by injuries to his brain suffered playing the game he loved so much – football. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15612 - Posted: 07.28.2011

by Greg Miller According to some estimates, more than 300,000 United States troops have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these injuries have resulted from blasts from roadside bombs and other explosives planted by insurgents. The lack of knowledge about how an explosive blast injures the brain has hampered efforts to treat these injuries. Now, two studies offer a potentially important insight, pointing to a mechanism that hadn't been considered before. The lead author of the studies, Harvard University bioengineer Kevin Kit Parker, says he had a vested interest in the research. Parker shifted his focus from cardiac to brain research after two tours in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army infantry officer. "I kept seeing buddies of mine get hit and thought, 'All right, I'll take a look at this and see if I can get an angle on it.' " Back at Harvard, Parker and his lab devised a blast simulator for cells. In one study, published today in PLoS ONE, the researchers grew rat neurons in a culture dish and then attached them to a sheet of stretchy polymer. A high-precision motor gave a carefully calibrated tug to the sheet to subject the neurons to mechanical forces Parker calculated to be comparable to those produced by an explosion. Through a microscope, the researchers saw that the "blast" caused swelling, breakage, and other signs of injuries to the neurons' spindly axons and dendrites, which send and receive signals from other neurons. © 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 15591 - Posted: 07.25.2011

By KEN BELSON The Ivy League will announce on Wednesday that, in an effort to minimize head injuries among its football players, it will sharply reduce the number of allowable full-contact practices teams can hold. The changes, to be implemented this season, go well beyond the rules set by the N.C.A.A. and are believed to be more stringent than those of any other conference. The league will also review the rules governing men’s and women’s hockey, lacrosse and soccer to determine if there are ways to reduce hits to the head and concussions in those sports. The new rules will be introduced as a growing amount of research suggests that limiting full-contact practices may be among the most practical ways of reducing brain trauma among football players. According to a study of three Division I college teams published last year in the Journal of Athletic Training, college players sustain more total hits to the head in practices than in games. “Because of the seriousness of the potential consequences, the presidents determined the league needed to take proactive steps in protecting the welfare of our student-athletes,” said Robin Harris, the executive director of the Ivy League. According to the new rules, teams will be able to hold only two full-contact practices per week during the season, compared with a maximum of five under N.C.A.A. guidelines. On the other days of the week, practices cannot include contact or live tackles, and no player may be “taken to the ground.” © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15588 - Posted: 07.21.2011

By Linda Carroll Two new studies — one in veterans and the other in retired football players — add to the mounting evidence linking head injuries to an increased the risk of dementia Veterans who had been diagnosed with a brain injury, anything from a concussion to a severe head wound, were more than twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those with no injury to the brain, researchers reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association’ International Conference in Paris. The results were even more striking in a study of retired football players: 35 percent of the former National Football League players had signs of dementia, which compares to a 13 percent Alzheimer’s rate in the general population. For the veterans study, researchers reviewed the medical records of 281,540 military personnel age 55 and older who received care at Veterans Administration hospitals from 1997 to 2000 and who had at least one follow-up visit from 2001 to 2007. None of the veterans in the study were diagnosed with dementia at the beginning of the seven year study. Almost 5,000 of the veterans had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their risk of developing dementia by the end of the study was 15.3 percent. That’s compared to 6.8 percent of those with no TBI diagnosis. The football player study is a follow-up of earlier research that included a survey of nearly 4,000 retired NFL players in 2001. In 2008, new surveys were sent to the 905 players who were over 50 years old. © 2011 msnbc.com.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15579 - Posted: 07.19.2011

By DENISE GRADY A new study may help explain why some military personnel exposed to blasts have symptoms of brain injury even though their CT and M.R.I. scans look normal. Using a highly sensitive type of magnetic resonance imaging, researchers studied 63 servicemen wounded by explosions in Iraq or Afghanistan and found evidence of brain injuries in some that were too subtle to be detected by standard scans. All the men already had a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury (synonymous with concussion), based on symptoms like having lost consciousness in the blast, having no memory of it or feeling dazed immediately afterward. About 320,000 American troops have sustained traumatic brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them mild, according to a 2008 report by the RAND Corporation. The injuries are poorly understood, and sometimes produce lasting mental, physical and emotional problems. “This sort of mild traumatic brain injury has been quite controversial,” said Dr. David L. Brody, an author of the new study and an assistant professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. “Is it due to structural abnormalities in the brain, chemical dysregulation, psychological factors or all three? We show that at least in some there are structural abnormalities.” The pattern of the damage differed from that found in head injuries not caused by blasts, and matched computer simulations predicting how explosions would affect the brain, Dr. Brody said. If the new findings hold up, he added, they may eventually influence the design of helmets to provide more protection against blasts. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15386 - Posted: 06.02.2011

Derek Boogaard's relatives and fans shed tears Sunday as they remembered the former NHL tough guy as a "teddy bear" who was as generous and kind as he was burly and tough, a somber end to a weekend during which his distraught family agreed to donate his brain to medical researchers. The 28-year-old Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday, five months after he sustained a season-ending concussion with the New York Rangers. Boogaard's agent and a spokeswoman for the Boston University School of Medicine confirmed Sunday that his brain will be examined for signs of a degenerative disease often found in athletes who sustain repeated hits to the head. "It's an amazing thing he did and his family did. Hopefully, that'll bring some information," agent Ron Salcer said. "We don't know exactly the impact that the concussions might have played." Salcer spent three days with Boogaard in Los Angeles earlier in the week. Salcer remarked about his client's brightened demeanor, after suffering through a winter of not being able to play or even be active while his head healed. "He seemed very good, and that's what makes it more painful," Salcer said. "He was really starting to feel better about everything. He was in great shape." Minneapolis police said there were no outward signs of trauma, but results of an autopsy are expected to take several weeks. There is no known concussion connection to his death, but at Boogaard's wish his family signed papers to donate his brain to the BU Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. The donation was first reported by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. © CBC 2011

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15333 - Posted: 05.16.2011

By ALAN SCHWARZ When the N.F.L. veteran Andre Waters killed himself in late 2006, the subsequent discovery of damage in his brain shocked the football community into asking how many other retired players might have an incurable disease. After the recent suicide of Dave Duerson, however, and last Monday’s announcement that he also had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain damage formerly associated with boxers, the finding shocked no one. Duerson became the 14th retired N.F.L. player — of 15 examined by Boston University researchers — to test positive for the condition. Waters and Duerson bookend a remarkable shift in the understanding of football brain trauma: four years after a few positive tests begged explanation, questions mainly surround the absence of negatives. “It makes you worry as a player — I would imagine all of us have it,” said Chidi Ahanotu, 40, who played defensive lineman mostly for Tampa Bay from 1993 to 2004. “To what degree, I don’t know. But I don’t know how you can’t think that.” So far, though, each successive case of C.T.E. has said more about the existence of the disease than the true breadth of it. The set of 15 players tested by B.U. researchers to this point is far from a random sample of N.F.L. retirees that could represent the wider population. Many of the players died under conditions that could be related to C.T.E.: Waters and Duerson by suicide, John Grimsley from a gun accident, Tom McHale from a drug overdose. Their families then donated the brains largely to seek an explanation for their behavior. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15307 - Posted: 05.09.2011

by John Travis Researchers this morning confirmed what former National Football League player Dave Duerson must have feared when he shot himself in the abdomen back in February, killing the 51 year old who had starred for several teams as a safety. An autopsy study showed that Duerson’s brain was riddled with classic signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a form of brain damage that is becoming an increasing concern among athletes in violent contact sports. Duerson’s form of suicide was apparently carefully chosen to preserve his brain as he had texted his family that he wanted the organ to be examined at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE). At a press conference there today, researchers reported that there was evidence of moderately advanced CTE in several regions of Duerson’s brain, including the frontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus, which play roles in impulse control, mood, memory, and other cognitive functions. “Dave Duerson had classic pathological CTE and no sign of any other disease,” neuropathologist and CSTE Co-Director Ann McKee told the press conference. McKee notes that there’s evidence suggesting CTE predisposes people to suicide, although how remains unclear; a colleague called it a “chicken and the egg problem,” explaining that CTE may cause problems in life that encourage suicides rather than specifically promote suicidal behavior by altering the working of the brain. Collisions that cause concussions and even lesser hits appear to spur the development of CTE. At the press conference CSTE Co-Director Chris Nowinski, a former college football player and professional wrestler, urged youth football coaches to carefully control how much violent contact there is during practices as to reduce the overall number of hits. © 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15289 - Posted: 05.03.2011

By JEFF Z. KLEIN The debate in the N.H.L. over how to curb concussions is only the latest example of tensions between liberal and traditional forces that have shaped hockey since its beginnings in 19th-century Canada. Montreal's former star Ken Dryden has urged the N.H.L. to ban all hits to the head. The extremes in the current standoff include general managers, sponsors and fans who favor a ban on hits to the head and their old-school counterparts who see such a drastic rule change as potentially robbing the league of its rugged appeal just when its popularity is growing. “The nature of the game is always being changed, but the rules, regulations, understandings and mythologies don’t change,” Ken Dryden, the Hall of Fame goalie from the Montreal Canadiens, said in describing the traditionalist impulse. “That’s when you get into trouble,” he added, “when you don’t recognize the immense changes on one side, and don’t have the corresponding changes that make sense to the different game that evolves.” Dryden broke his long silence on hockey matters this month, joining the team sponsors Air Canada and Via Rail, and the team owners Mario Lemieux of Pittsburgh and Geoff Molson of Montreal in urging the league’s general managers to recommend a prohibition of all hits to the head. The International Ice Hockey Federation, the N.C.A.A. and the Ontario Hockey League — all feeder organizations to the N.H.L. — have bans. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15139 - Posted: 03.28.2011

ANNE McILROY University of Lethbridge neuroscientists are investigating whether early brain injuries can permanently alter the way genes work in the brain and predispose people to dementia as they age. Evidence suggests that brain injury early in life, including concussion, may contribute to later dementia, says neuroscientist Robert Sutherland. He and his colleagues at the Canadian Centre for Behavioral Neuroscience want to know why. The experiments, although still in laboratory animals, could help explain why some athletes who suffered repeated concussions, such as former National Hockey League player Reggie Fleming, developed a distinctive type of brain damage and symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Sutherland is part of a team that includes Bryan Kolb, Robbin Gibb, Robert McDonald and Olga Kovalchuk. The researchers are looking at how brain injuries influence the chemical switching system that activates and deactivates genes in the brain, or what’s known as the epigenetics of brain injuries. Thousands of genes are active in the brain and each produces one of the proteins that are essential for memory, learning, keeping brain cells alive and working, and for repairing damage. The hypothesis is that brain injuries may trigger permanent changes to the switching system, Dr. Sutherland said. This results in either too much or too little of particular protein getting produced, which over the years can lead to problems or perhaps even changes in the architecture of the brain that might make someone more vulnerable to dementia. © Copyright 2011 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 15087 - Posted: 03.10.2011

Cassandra Willyard On 17 February, retired American-football player Dave Duerson committed suicide. The 50-year-old former defensive back for the Chicago Bears left this haunting note for his family: "Please, see that my brain is given to the NFL's brain bank." Then he shot himself in the chest, leaving his brain intact. The brain bank Duerson referred to, located at Bedford VA Medical Center in Massachusetts, is funded by the US National Football League (NFL) and run by Ann McKee, co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University in Massachusetts. She and her colleagues have spent the past several years examining athletes' brains for signs of a neurodegenerative condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Whether Duerson had the disease is still unknown. But his note seems to imply that he feared the worst. Nature examines what researchers know about CTE, what they have yet to understand and what is being done to protect athletes. What is chronic traumatic encephalopathy? CTE is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated trauma to the head. "The head trauma usually occurs years, maybe even decades before the person become symptomatic," McKee says. © 2011 Nature Publishing Group,

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 15054 - Posted: 02.26.2011

By EMILY BAZELON At 4 months, Noah Whitmer was an easy baby. Super tranquilo, remembers Trudy Eliana Muñoz Rueda, who took care of Noah at her home day care center in Fairfax County, Va. Rueda and Noah’s mother, Erin Whitmer, both noticed when he stopped taking his bottle well and napping as usual in the middle of his fifth month, in April 2009. Whitmer thought this was because Noah had just started eating solid food. She and Rueda talked about it early on April 20, both of them hunched over Noah in his car seat when Whitmer dropped him off. That afternoon, after a morning in which Noah didn’t nap and drank only a couple of ounces of formula, Rueda says she prepared a bottle for him while he lay on a mat. In her native Peru, Rueda, who is 46, ran a travel agency and taught college courses for prospective tour guides. Her husband was trained as a lawyer. After they moved to the United States in 2001, the couple had a second child, and three years later Rueda converted her basement into a home day care center so she could work while spending time with her two kids. When Rueda sat down to feed Noah, her 13-year-old daughter was at school, her 5-year-old was upstairs watching TV and the four other children in her care were taking naps. Rueda’s sister-in-law, who spent the morning with the children while Rueda was at a doctor’s appointment, had just left the house. “Everything was calm and quiet,” Rueda, who has soft features and dark hair, told me in Spanish while her lawyer translated. There are two irreconcilable versions of how that calm shattered. Rueda says that Noah was crying, and she picked him up, sat on the couch and gave him the bottle to help put him to sleep. While she was feeding him, she felt Noah’s arm go limp, and when she moved to take the bottle out of his mouth, he made a sound that she didn’t recognize. “I could tell something was happening,” she says. She stood up and put Noah on her shoulder, patting him on the back. “As I did this, his body tensed up in a ball. It was as if he was looking for air, and he couldn’t breathe.” © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 14964 - Posted: 02.07.2011

HOUSTON — The Houston hospital treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Sunday that her condition is improving daily, but gave no update on the buildup of brain fluid that has kept the Arizona congresswoman in intensive care. A hospital statement said Giffords would continue to receive therapy in the intensive care unit "until her physicians determine she is ready for transfer" to a nearby center where she would begin a full rehabilitation program. They said the next medical updates would be provided when that happens. Giffords was flown to Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center Hospital on Friday from Tucson, where she was shot in the forehead on Jan. 8 while meeting with constituents. Story: Case in Giffords shooting likely to take years At a news conference shortly after her arrival in Houston, doctors said she had been given a tube to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid. Everyone makes such fluid, but an injury can cause the fluid to not be cleared away as rapidly as normal. A backup can cause pressure and swelling within the brain. "It's a common problem," occurring in 15 to 20 percent of people with a brain injury or brain surgery, said Dr. Reid C. Thompson, chairman of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, who is not involved in Giffords' care. Another possible reason for a drainage tube: "After a gunshot wound to the head and brain where there is a lot of soft tissue injury, it is common to develop a leak of spinal fluid. This raises the risk of a meningitis and slows down wound healing," he said. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 14909 - Posted: 01.24.2011

by Tracy Staedter Reports this morning about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-Ariz.) condition are, so far, positive. The bullet that entered her skull did so from the back-left section of the brain and exited through the front-left section. In doing so, it missed critical brain structures and major blood vessels. During surgery, the doctors at Arizona's University Medical Center removed a large portion of Giffords' skull to allow the brain to swell without being damaged. They also used drugs to induce a coma, which slows the metabolism and blood flow in the brain, decreasing pressure. A medically induced coma is different from one that's the result of an overdose, a disease or trauma. With a medically induced coma, the doctors can generally change the drug dosage to bring the patient back into consciousness. But not so with comas, which can leave a person unconscious for hours, weeks -- even years. Thinking about this condition reminded me of a talk I heard at the PopTech conference last fall given by Adrian Owen, senior scientist and assistant director of the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge, U.K. Owen and his team are using brain-imaging techniques to determine the levels of consciousness in patients who are in a vegetative state. Some of these patients seem wakeful; they open their eyes, make noises and appear to look around. But, they're not awake. They do not ever look directly at objects or people, nor do they respond to people or commands. According to Owen, wakefulness and awareness are two different components of consciousness. Wakefulness can be observed and measured using an EKG machine that picks up brain wave activity. © 2011 Discovery Communications, LLC.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 14866 - Posted: 01.13.2011

By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D. WASHINGTON — The bullet that a gunman fired into Representative Gabrielle Giffords’s head on Saturday morning in Arizona went straight through the left side of her brain, entering the back of her skull and exiting the front. Trauma surgeons spent two hours on Saturday following an often-performed drill developed from extensive experience treating gunshot wounds in foreign wars and violence in American homes and streets. On Saturday, that drill really began outside a supermarket, with paramedics performing triage to determine the seriousness of the wounds in each of the 20 gunshot victims. Ms. Giffords, 40, was taken to the University Medical Center in Tucson, where, 38 minutes after arrival, she was whisked to an operating room. She did not speak at the hospital. As part of the two-hour operation, her surgeons said on Sunday, they removed debris from the gunshot, a small amount of dead brain tissue and nearly half of Ms. Giffords’s skull to prevent swelling that could transmit increased pressure to cause more extensive and permanent brain damage. The doctors preserved the skull bone for later replanting. Since surgery, they have used short-acting drugs to put Ms. Giffords in a medical coma that they lift periodically to check on her neurological responses. They said early signs made them cautiously optimistic that Ms. Giffords would survive the devastating wound. © 2011 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 14854 - Posted: 01.11.2011

By ALAN SCHWARZ In a finding that could eventually lead to ways to identify and perhaps treat athletes who have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Boston-based researchers announced on Wednesday that a new imaging technique found chemical changes in the brains of living athletes with a history of head trauma. C.T.E., whose diagnosis in more than a dozen deceased N.F.L. players and one collegian has helped lift the dangers of sports concussions to national prominence, can be confirmed only through a specialized examination of brain tissue after death. As such, the question of whether a particular living athlete who is showing symptoms of the disease — anger control, memory loss and more — has C.T.E. has remained only gnawing speculation. At the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago, Dr. Alexander Lin of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston described how magnetic resonance spectroscopy scans identified biomarkers in five athletes showing signs of C.T.E. The subjects were three retired N.F.L. players, one boxer and one wrestler; their scans were compared with those of nonathletes of the same age and relative lifestyle. “We measured the brain chemistry of men with a broad history of brain trauma and found these changes that indicate something biochemically abnormal,” Lin said. “We don’t know whether they have C.T.E. We don’t know at this point if these living changes are related.” Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 14730 - Posted: 12.02.2010