TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘NewsBits’

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . National Hockey League Player Retires at 24 Because of Concussions

National Hockey League Player Retires at 24 Because of Concussions

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

newsboy-thFootball and hockey are the two sports that are responsible for the majority of concussions in athletes. A concussion is now known to be a brain injury and can be serious. More and more people are becoming aware of the possibility that a concussion may lead to a major life-change.Capitals_Predators_Hockey-09eb6

Previously I wrote about Chris Borland, a starting rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL (National Football League) who quit after one season because of his concerns about brain injury.

Now, Patrick Wey is quitting the Washington Capitals in the NHL (National Hockey League) at a young age (24) 185618_ebbecause he had two concussions in 2014. Wey plans to substitute “educational interests” for hockey.

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SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . Depression Reversed in Mice

Depression Reversed in Mice

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

newsboy-thNOTE: This news is especially important for young brain-injury survivors because clinical application may take 10-20 years.

In a major advance in basic research of the brain, neuroscientists were able to reverse depression in mice by activating neurons storing a positive memory. The work was done by a team of brain scientists headed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor and Nobel Laureate, Dr. Susumu Tonegawa. This work on depression extended Dr. Tonegawa’s earlier work, on which I reported previously. The current research was done at the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics.

The experiments were done on mice. (I have previously written why mice are good first models for humans.) Dr. Tonegawa’s team was able to use light to activate cells of the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus – the area of the brain where memories are stored. They also showed that tagging a memory with a positive or negative feeling involved a pathway composed not only of neurons of the dentate gyrus, but also of neurons in two other areas of the brain: the nucleus accumbens and the basolateral amygdala.mouse-clipart-5

(The use of light to activate specific neurons is a powerful and relatively recent method called “optogenetics.” The mice are genetically engineered to allow the neurons that made new memories to be turned on by light. The light is supplied by implanting optical fibers near the desired neurons, in this case in the dentate gyrus of the mouse brain, and shining light from a laser through the fibers.)

When neurons storing a positive memory were light-activated in mice that showed the symptoms of depression, the mice no longer acted depressed. The depression had been reversed by turning on those neurons. Briefly activating the neurons storing a positive memory for five days and then stopping the trigger of activation (light) was also effective in reversing depression. This shows that the positive-memory neurons do not need to be continuously activated.

Current therapeutic drugs for the treatment of depression in humans act on all neurons of the brain. It is hoped that eventually drugs will be designed for specific neurons. Another approach to stimulate specific neurons is to use a kind of “pacemaker” that could be implanted in the brain. Such treatments would have fewer side effects. (Full story)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.anim0014-1_e0-1

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.

Speak OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . Major News About Football-Caused Concussions

Major News About Football-Caused Concussions

Newsboy thYou’ve probably heard of Kosta Karageorge, the senior on the Ohio State University football team who apparently committed suicide. He enjoyed hitting his opponents. He had several known concussions, and probably several more that were unreported. It’s now very clear that concussions injure the brain. Kosta complained about his concussions in his last text message to his mother, saying “…but these concussions have my head all f—ed up.” His tragic case is still being investigated, but because he played on a major football team and because he had a history of brain trauma, his case has highlighted the need to know more about concussions and the need to better protect players, particularly young players, whose brains are still developing. (Full stories 1 and 2)

Both the National Football League (NFL), a league of professional players, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a national organization that oversees most college football, have settled class-action lawsuits about concussions. (The NFL settled for $765 million, and the NCAA, for $70 million, but judges are likely to rule that more is needed.) High school football is not regulated by a national organization, but rather by the individual states. Now the first class-action lawsuit has been filed against the athletic association of a state – Illinois. The attorney is the same one that filed the NCAA lawsuit. This is the first lawsuit for high school football, and the attorney believes that high school athletic associations need to be sued in every state to affect the sport nationally. He is representing a former high school quarterback who suffered several concussions. The objective of the lawsuit is to make the sport safer. (Full stories 3 and 4)

A star high school football player has written a poignant essay about why his concussion landed him in the hospital fighting for his life. He definitely enjoyed being one of the “elite,” but now he writes that football wasn’t worth shattering his life and dreams (“…was playing football worth it? The answer is no. Not by a long shot”). He hopes to warn other youths of the incredible danger. (Full story)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

 

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . Electromagnetic Pulses Correct Abnormal Neural Connections

Electromagnetic Pulses Correct Abnormal Neural Connections

newsboy-thResearch by scientists at The University of Western Australia and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France has shown that weak sequential electromagnetic pulses (rTMS) can help to properly locate abnormal neural connections in mice. rTMS does not affect normal neural connections, meaning there should be no side effects. The immediate concern is to have a new therapy for such neurological problems as epilepsy, depression, and tinnitus. Such a therapy should also provide a benefit to TBI survivors, who are constantly “rewiring” parts of the brain. (Full story)

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! NewsBits . . . . . . . . . . . Stem Cells, MS, and TBI – Strange Bedfellows

Stem Cells, MS, and TBI – Strange Bedfellows

Newsboy th

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to cause weakness and paralysis by an immune reaction that attacks myelin, which forms a protective sheath around nerves. A surprising result was found after implanting human neural stem cells into the brains of mice with an MS-like disease. As expected, the human cells were rejected and disappeared within a week. But, the treated MS mice could now walk and continued to do so. Scientists believe that the human stem cells released a protein that signaled the mouse neurons to repair their myelin sheaths. This is great news for people with MS. But, what other signals were released? Might a released signal help damaged neurons of TBI survivors? The excitement over a signal means that you don’t have to implant cells. Once the signal is understood, it should be possible to design a therapeutic drug that does the same thing. (Full story and video)

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . Brain Anatomy & Function & TBI

Brain Anatomy and Function and TBI

Newsboy th

 

An informative video explains what each part of the brain does and the relevance to TBI. Good graphics, short (8 min. 20 sec.), and easy to understand. (Video)

 

 

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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.

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