Jessica Elizabeth Taylor
Head injury is not only 'a silent epidemic’; the survivors are "the forgotten people."
1billion people are head injured annually world wide. 2.5 million of which are from the U S. In British Columbia alone, the number of people head- injured annually is 14.000. In Ireland, 10,000 people are head- injured annually. In Great Britain that number exceeds one million. In Queensland alone 11,000 people are expected to have a head- injury in the coming year. 1.6 million People are head injured annually in Australia. In New Zealand, 30,000 people suffer a head- injury annually. The statistics are just as frightening in the rest of the world.
How many more studies and statistics have to be generated in order for something positive to be done? All the world needs now is a call to action. Realizing that tomorrow we, or someone we love could suffer a traumatic head injury is the first step towards change.
Brain-related illness costs 1.3 trillion dollars in the U.S... annually. The lifetime cost for just one person surviving a severe injury can reach $4 million. Unfortunately, 41 percent of head-injured people live below the poverty line, and only one in twenty receive the rehabilitation they require. The Federal government spends less than $3 per brain-injured survivor on Traumatic Brain Injury research and Services.
A RAND study reports that nearly 20% of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan–320, 000 and still counting – report symptoms of traumatic stress disorder or major depression, yet only slightly more than half have sought treatment. Nineteen percent have suffered various degrees of brain injuries.
According to Zack Lynch, Executive Director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, there are 100 million Americans suffering from a brain-related illness, with an enormous economic burden that continues to grow as the population ages. He further states that Congress has the opportunity to streamline research efforts and accelerate the development of new treatments in order to meaningfully impact the lives of those suffering from devastating diseases and injuries.
In medicine today, the rehabilitation for brain-injured survivors is the most neglected area of all. This must change for the better! It also must be made known that head-injured survivors "suffer in silence." That, alone, is one of the saddest aspects that someone who is head-injured not only struggles to find rehabilitation and support but is forced to endure the mental and emotional pain of being isolated from the rest of society.
Brain-injury affects more people than breast cancer, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and HIVI/AIDA.
Though my autobiography is said to be "stupendous and inspirational”, it is very much part of my campaign. In the contents, I petition governments, medical people, the media, and the public in general, to refrain from using the demeaning and antiquated terminologies 'brain-damage' and 'vegetable.' .........
"Jessica, You have presented a compelling case against negative terminology and I applaud your efforts. In time, as more people become aware of the heart-ache these terms can cause, we can hope for a greater understanding and a change to more enlightened attitudes. Well done!" (Kathleen Falvae. Stroke Recovery Association. Oceanside Branch)
B.C. opposition Health Critic, Adrian Dix says "there is a lack of rehabilitation for head and brain injured survivors and this is a serious national problem."
Since it has been recently discovered that head- injured survivor, Ron Houben, from Brussels, was conscious for the 23 years when thought to be in a coma, more advanced diagnosis must be practiced.
CHILDREN AND CONCUSSION.
Concussions should be renamed "mild traumatic brain injuries," to better convey their seriousness.
Children diagnosed with a concussion were released from hospital sooner and returned to school faster than those diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.
Researchers analyzed data on 434 children who were admitted with acquired brain injury to McMaster Children's Hospital over a period of two years. Of 341 who were found to have traumatic brain injury, 32 per cent received the diagnosis of concussion. But 24 per cent of children who had moderate or severe scores on tests of neurological function were labeled as having a concussion, the team found.
Children diagnosed with concussion were also 1.5 times more likely to be released from hospital earlier than those who did not. They were also 2.4 times more likely to return to school just a few days after the injury.
Carol DeMatteo, a clinical professor in the school of rehabilitation science at McMaster, said she wants parents to have good information before deciding whether children should return to school or activity, since doing so too soon puts them at greater risk for a second injury and poor school performance.
Singing Helps Stroke and Head-Injured Survivors.
Teaching stroke patients to sing "rewires" their brains, helping them recover their speech, say scientists. By singing, patients use a different area of the brain from the area involved in speech. If a person's "speech center" is injured by a stroke, they can learn to use their "singing center" instead.
Researchers presented these findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Diego.
Gottfried Schlaug, a neurology professor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, US, led the trial.
Melodic Intonation Therapy.
The therapy is already established as a medical technique. Researchers first used it when it was discovered that stroke patients with brain injury that left them unable to speak were still able to sing.
Professor Schlaug explained that his was the first study to combine this therapy with brain imaging - "to show what is actually going on in the brain" as patients learn to sing their words.
At the Schmieder Hospital in Germany, many coma patients are being brought back to life. I urge families to look at the video
Coma - Germany/www.youtube.com
We need the Schmieder rehabilitation conducted in the rest of the world.
'If you believe in a dream, and have the courage to try, great things can be accomplished.' Rick Hansen ~Visit Rick Hansen's site
"People aren’t different. I do lots of things just like anyone else would do" (Mike Bailey, Special Olympics Athlete.)
For personal stories from Headway, Ireland, go to http://www.headway.ie