TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Dr. David Figurski’

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . Common Mouse Cell Type Converted to Neurons

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit

Common Mouse Cell Type Converted to Neurons

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

newsboy-thCommon Mouse Cell Type Converted to Neurons

You’ve probably heard of the promising future of cell therapy. The excitement comes from the fact that injuries might be treated by implanting fresh, healthy cells. Stem cells, which can mature to many different cell types, have been discovered in almost every organ in the body. They hold enormous potential for helping to heal injured organs. Already, scientists are devising methods to add new muscle to damaged hearts and to add insulin-producing cells to the body to cure Type I diabetes. The brain also has stem cells, and much of the natural recovery from brain injury is due to stem cells, which rebuild the damaged part of the brain. The beauty of stem cells from the brain is that they can develop into healthy neurons and replace damaged circuits. But the natural healing of the brain is often insufficient. Scientists have been looking for ways to make more stem cells and to activate them so that implanting them is practical and they can result in more healing.scientist

I want to tell you about exciting basic research on cell therapy that may make possible or speed up the development of new therapies for brain injury. Scientists at Duke University have found a way to make neurons from common mouse cells, called “fibroblasts,” without resorting to stem cells. The scientists made a modified protein and put it into fibroblasts. The modified protein found and activated the master regulator genes needed to turn on the genes for the cell to become a neuron.

In the past, a cell’s change into a neuron required that extra copies of the master regulator genes be introduced into the cell. The cell maintained its neuron-like properties only if the extra activators were present. If the extra copies were lost, the cell reverted to its original form. Scientists said that the neurons were “unstable.” Still, it was a breakthrough. To help stabilize the neurons, extra copies of genes for the master regulators were added to its chromosomes. The neurons still weren’t perfectly stable, and the presence of extra copies in the chromosomes was unnatural.

In the new method, activation of the neuron genes is natural. The neurons are “stable,” even when the modified activator protein is gone. As far as the scientists can tell, the neurons formed this way appear to be like natural neurons.

MouseOf course, these studies need to be done with human cells. But, because the mouse is similar enough to humans genetically, new neurons are likely to be made from human cells. If so, cell therapy to treat brain injury will become common in the foreseeable future. One benefit is that therapy can be personalized. It’s not practical to get your neurons from a brain biopsy, but your easy-to-get fibroblasts can be converted to neurons. Those neurons can then be tested with therapeutic drugs to see what works best with your genetic background. Also, the implanted cells would not be rejected by your body (prevention of rejection is the reason for immunosuppressive drugs today) because the neurons would be made from cells of your own body. (Full story)

 

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On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” . . . . . Grief After Brain Injury

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road”

Grief After Brain Injury

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

images-1Grief is often an after effect of brain injury. It is experienced not only by the survivor, who may have lost his or her “old” self and is trying to adjust to his or her new world, but also by those who have frequent contact with the survivor. As we know, brain injury affects ALL members of the family, who are often the caregivers.

Lisabeth Mackall Book 061215

Lisabeth Mackall caregiver & author

Panelists, Sandra Williams (both survivor and caregiver), Dr. David Figurski (survivor), and Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver) joined me to discuss the topic of GRIEF. We examined the feelings of the family as they adjust to their loved one’s change, as well as discussed the stages of grief as outlined by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book entitled, “On Death and Dying.”

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Sandra Williams survivor & caregiver

 

David

David Figurski survivor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you missed this show about “Grief After Brain Injury” with Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver), Sandra Williams (survivor and caregiver), and David Figurski (survivor) on March 6th, 2016, don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” Grief After Brain Injury

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of guests.)

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Thank you, WORLD!

Thank You, World

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

blogI started my blog, “Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury,” in March 2014 when I saw a need to connect with other survivors and caregivers in the brain-injured community. I saw people struggling as I had as I tried to make sense out of this new life that visited us when my husband had his brain injury in 2005. At that time, I had no community to turn to. There were no social media. I felt lost and alone. I didn’t know there were other people living with many of the same problems that we were battling. But now, because of the rise of social media, there are many places for people to find information about brain injury, and I wanted to be one of those places.

In the more than ten years that my husband, David, has lived the brain-injured life, I have learned a lot, and I want to share my information with newcomers to this unexpected life. I want to provide a place where they can go to obtain information, but mostly I want to provide survivors and caregivers a platform to SPEAK OUT! I want them to share their stories and their thopinions, and I want others to draw hope and courage and inspiration from those who are traveling a similar path.

This page was created to say THANK YOU to the survivors and caregivers who have so graciously shared their stories here with the hope of raising awareness of brain injury.

It was created to say THANK YOU to everyone in the WORLD who stops by to read it. In the year and a half since I created my blog, thousands of folks have stopped by from all over the world (nearly 50,000 at this point).Thank-you-post-it
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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio Another Fork in the Road . . . . . . Rosemary Rawlins, Author & Caregiver

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio Interview –

Another Fork in the Road

with

 Rosemary Rawlins, Author & Caregiver

images-1

When I closed down the studio last night after spending 90 minutes talking to Rosemary Rawlins about her life as a caregiver, I popped into my husband’s office. He had listened to the interview on his computer. He smiled and said, “Great interview! I wish it wasn’t over. I could have listened for another hour.” I knew exactly what he meant. I could have talked with Rosemary forever. Our stories, though different, run parallel to each other.

david-running-in-hall

David Figurski 3 weeks before his TBI

Both of our husbands were in the prime of their careers – doing what they loved best in their office/lab and after hours too. Hugh loved to ride his bicycle. David loved to run and exercise. Both Hugh and David exercised to relieve their daily stress. It was that exercise that caused their brain injuries.

Hugh Rawlins - racing

Hugh Rawlins – racing

Talking with Rosemary was refreshing. She really KNOWS what I went through, and I REALLY know what she went through. We GET IT!

Anyone who has “lost” a spouse to brain injury will totally understand and completely relate to Rosemary’s and my conversation. Please, go ahead! Eavesdrop on our tête-à-tête. We’d love you to.

 

Thank you, Rosemary, for sharing your story with me and my listeners on “Another Fork in the Road” on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

Rosemary & Hugh Rawlins 2

Rosemary & Hugh Rawlins – after TBI

 

 

Click the link below to listen to caregiver, Rosemary Rawlins (author of “Learning by Accident: A Caregiver’s True Story of Fear, Family, and Hope”), share her story of how she and Hugh pulled the pieces of their lives together.

 

See you “On the Air!”

 Rosemary Rawlins, Author & Caregiver

Click here for a list of all “Another Fork in the Road” shows on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

“Another Fork in the Road” . . . Brain Injury Radio Network . . . . . Dr. David Figurski – Prisoner Without Bars

YOU ARE INVITED!

putthis_on_calendar_clip_art

You’ve heard my story about David’s Traumatic Brain Injury and how we have come to be in this place that we are now. It’s David’s turn to step up to the mic to talk about his perspective of living with a TBI, as I interview him about the past 9+ years. He promises that I may even learn something. I wonder if it’s about the black mark on the wall.

 

Come One! Come ALL!

(NOTE: New Day, Sunday – Same Time)

What:        Interview with Dr. David Figurski – Prisoner Without Bars. (Segment 4 of “Prisoner Without Bars: Conquering Traumatic Brain Injury”)

Why:         Hear David’s perspective of living with Traumatic Brain Injury

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, November 2, 2014

Time:         5:00p PDT (6:00p MDT, 7:00p CDT, and 8:00p EDT) 90 minute show

How:         Click: Brain Injury Radio Network.

Call In:    424-243-9540

Call In:     855-473-3711 toll free in USA

Call In:    202-559-7907 free outside US

or SKYPE

If you miss the show, but would like to still hear the interview, you can access the archive on On Demand listening. The archived show will be available after the show both on the Brain Injury Radio Network site and on my blog in “On the Air.”

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

TBI Tales: Energizer-Ostrich

TidBits About Donna #49 Energizer-Ostrich

(Reposted from my other blog – Donna O’Donnell Figurski’s Blog Jan. 13, 2012)

 

What do you get when you cross a hyperactive rabbit with a pink-feathered bird on a beach? That would be ME – or in other words an Energizer-Ostrich.

I guess that warrants an explanation of sorts. But I will have to retrace my steps a bit – about seven years worth – to the source of what has changed me into a replica of an energizer bunny with her head in the sand.

Today, January 13th, seven years ago, David, my husband, suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). If you have been following my blog, you already know this. If this is your first visit, you can learn the sordid details and do a cram course by reading the following posts. Or … you can just read on to get the Cliff Notes version.

Musings by Donna #39 TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – One Size Does Not Fit All

TBI Tales: Bittersweet is Today


TBI Tales: A Fork in the Road to Recovery

This morning I woke with a start – at precisely 7:05 – the exact time, seven years ago that David and I began the journey of our new and unexpected life. Seven years ago we did not know what was in store for us. We didn’t even know if there was going to be an “us”. This morning, as I do each year on this day, I relived the moments of David’s TBI. From excruciating pain to a wild ambulance ride, to signing on the dotted line to taking a saw to my husband’s brain (I didn’t do that – the surgeon did.) to talking incessantly on the cell phone – arranging, arranging, arranging – flights, accommodations, squeezing David’s hand and promising him he would get better – when I wasn’t sure that he would, threatening that I would never forgive him if he didn’t fight to stay with me, telling the story over and over and over … of how he stumbled into our bedroom, his hand clutching his eye – then falling into a coma as the paramedics strapped an oxygen mask over his face.

After seven years I would have expected the intense memories to fade, but they remain vivid – with maybe just a few blurred edges. I remember many of the names of the nurses and caretakers. I remember the unwanted words of the doctor. I remember how family and friends converged on the hospital at all hours both day and … well into the night from all corners of the United States. I remember the day was one of intense fog both outdoors (and inside my brain). The outdoor fog caused airline flights to be delayed. The fog inside my brain insulated me from the tragic reality around me.

That same fog has dulled the pain over the years of watching David struggle to dress himself, to learn to feed himself again, to walk and talk. That fog blurs the hurt of seeing him hunched over his keyboard painstakingly tapping each key as he prepares another paper for publication or works on a book he’s editing for an international scientific journal or sends detailed instructions to his technicians in his lab about the next experiment to do. I welcomed the fog as I not-so-patiently waited for David to recover from a recent eye surgery.

I marvel at this man I call my husband. I’m proud of his accomplishments both before and after his trauma. I admire his patience, his persistence, his positive attitude as I watch him tackle life in the “hard” lane. He does it with grace, with no complaint, and with gentle optimism.

So, there is an “us” after TBI, though it’s a different “us.” We are not the same people we were before David’s trauma. I miss the before TBI “us.” Traumatic Brain Injury seriously changes the victim, but it also alters the spouse. TBI can rend marriages. It can tear families apart. Or it can make you stronger. See the New York Times article from January 9th 2012, When Injuries to the Brain Tear at Hearts.

David’s TBI tears my heart everyday, but each day, too, it gets glued back together with a kiss, with a smile, with a hug, with a laugh – but no tears. No, NO tears.

I still have not had a good cry. Life is too busy for tears. Besides, “Tears would make this too real – and it’s not … is it?” asked the Energizer-Ostrich.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

Tag Cloud

No memory of the day that changed my life

My name is Michelle Munt and this is my story about surviving a brain injury and what I continue to learn about it. This is for other survivors and their loved ones, but also to raise awareness of what can happen to those in an accident. This invisible injury too often goes undiagnosed and it can be difficult to find information about it. I will talk about things that have helped me as I continue to recover and invite others to see if it works for them too.

Everything and nothing. GM1123 😊

Bienvenue. I’m thinking this is the spot where I am to write a witty, flowery personal section that pulls you in......I got nuthin’

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