Placebo vs Nocebo, Or Simply Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride?

 

Most of us are more than familiar with the concept of a Placebo/Placebo Effect – that sugar pill effect or the overriding belief that we are doing or taking something (sometimes a course of action) which will let us overcome, recover or heal completely, often seemingly against all scientific or reasonable odds.

 

Origin of placebo :

Latin, I shall please

 

Yes, we hear it often in health talk on TV, on the internet & in conversation often harshly administered out to any holistic or natural means of medicine, or healing (by a profit driven set-minded pharma-industry funded health profession) so that it sinks in like a mantra to the collective mind. These same scientific/medical minds are unable to either explain the phenomenon, yet they are happy to harness its power occasionally, or even take credit for anyone who effectively, and subconciously heals themselves!  

What about the ‘Nocebo Effect’? Well it’s kind of the other side of the coin which oddly enough the medical industry doesn’t conciously understand either :

Origin of nocebo :

Latin, I will be harmful

Nocebo – a detrimental effect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis. E.g. when patients taking medications experience adverse side effects unrelated to the specific pharmacological action of the drug. The nocebo effect is associated with the person’s prior expectations of adverse effects from treatment as well as with conditioning in which the person learns from prior experiences to associate a medication with certain somatic symptoms.  

 

 

InspirationalQuotes.Club-endless-possibilities-belief-system-inspirational-wisdom-unknown

 

So that is the surface of it in modern medical terms, we don’t look further than that because there is no explanation in ‘Our’ terms. Full stop.

But what about the concious mind? The subconcious or unconcious? What about the superconcious mind? Well anyone familiar with the metaphysical or healing modalities or therapies that are based on an understanding of the human body, mind & soul may NOT see the body as scientific medicine does (i.e. as a bio-machine to be manipulated chemically from afar).

The good healer, acupuncturist, Bowen therapist, Hypnotherapist or Cranial Sacral therapist or whomever will have a belief in their patient’s healing & an outcome which will assist their subconcious belief that they will benefit from treatment, that it WILL help them to recover in unison with other life changes. Science says No – keep taking the pills & have blind faith in our system. How do we decide then – Placebo or Nocebo?

Well some of that is down to our conditioning & upbringing, the fist six years of life where we pick up all our beliefs about how the world is, what we get used to feeling & believing. At this age our brains operate mainly in Theta wave patterns which is highly impressionable, & then after age six we have more fixed beliefs, the programming of mainstream education comes in then filling up the left-brain with the need to conform to a world-view led by science & profit…

 

 

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…And BANG! You’re sold one way or the other… Or, you awaken gradually to the possibility that you are more than just a meat-bound robot that they’d have you believe & you go into your right-brain to explore all possibilities of creativity within yourself & beyond yourself – which can include miraculous healing through assisted belief.

This however does not condemn any of us one way or another; quite another thing affects our choices in thinking a treatment or drug will – the superconcious mind. This is the greater part of us energetically, what some call our Soul or Spirit or higher-self. Again science have ridiculed this ever since they set about their war on religion & spirituality many centuries ago. Our superconcious is in tune with our choices for this lifetime (our Karma) and what we chose to enter this reality to learn about beforehand.

Do we choose things because they’re easy? Well if we wish to grow that has to be an easy No. So is your belief about your PCS diagnosis what your Dr confirmed you would experience? Do your expectations of how fast & how well you will heal depend on another professional in a white coat with various certificates on their wall? I hope not.

To be fair I even got caught up in the whole medical Nocebo for quite a while, putting blind faith in big brand names like Cymbalta, Diazepam, Mirtazipine & the rest; yet all the while I became sicker & less able to function in life. I knew the drugs would not heal me the more time went on, and then my life crashed uncontrollably & I lost everything, became homeless & hopeless. My belief did not re-emerge until things became so bad that the only way was upwards.

 

 

De-Conditioning-the-Conditioned-Mind

 

 

And so my story mirrors many hundreds, maybe thousands of others who had one or more mTBI, and I’m just a little bit further down the line than most of those others – and so are many of my peers whom work alongside me in these efforts. For them (and they know who they are) I give them my thanks, my belief & my faith wholly & unconditionally – no placebo required…

…Like so many others – I bought my unique ticket, and took the ride.

 

Keep your choice to heal positively fixed & learn to believe in what is good & what can heal you, not what profits only someone else.

 

Namaste

 

David

 

 

PCS, Homelessness, Drugs & Self-Medication in the UK – A Recipe For Disaster…

As we follow on the theme of recent articles it’s time to open a few taboo subjects, regarding the links between brain injury & societal problems like self-medication & crime, particularly in younger people whom seem to be the butt of public anger (if you believe everything bad you hear that is). The studies which the British Psychologists’ Society carried out show that the links are being discussed in professional circles; no more blanket dismissal or denial which have been so common in recent years, but a genuine willingness to start tackling the issues as inter-related rather than just random signs of a intangible social problem in the UK as a whole.

We know that currently there is predominantly only medication based interventions on offer through most NHS Drs, GPs & Neurologists (I exclude the word treatments as it is not generally appropriate to treat or try cure PCS with medications except as part of a carefully planned holistic approach – something not seen in the UK) so this takes us down a bit of a rough cul-de-sac in terms of tackling the wider problem. A blind alley even where anyone suffering the worse effects of post concussive illness could end up misdiagnosed for years, over-medicated, increasingly ill, distressed, unable to cope & even under psychiatric care (rather needlessly at that!).

The current chain of events often leads younger men & women to either large quantities of anti-depressants, tranquilisers, pain-killers like Dihydrocodeine, mood stabilisers & other strong medications that are often having the ‘zombie-effect’ on them, taking these has the added problem of depersonalisation in many cases; a sense of detachment unwelcome indeed. Alcohol is nearly always in the mixture too as an affordable & easily obtainable form of substitute to coping, its effects mix in with the prescription drugs & often is accompanied by so called ‘street drugs’ such as cannabis, cocaine, heroine, amphetamines & MDMA etc. This dangerous cocktail is more common than people realise, in fact the odds of being caught up in this rise dramatically due to homelessness as cheap drugs are readily available in most communities rural or urban.

How do we know all this? Well its happening all around us; in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Bristol & everywhere in between! Even teenagers as young as 13 or 14 & upwards are victims of PCS & use inhalants, marijuana & medications to self-medicate. Crime stats show rises in drug & alcohol related crime, we don’t naturally take the brain-injury-factor into account when the figures are analysed. Even more distressing is the woeful lack of money spent on support or projects to tackle these issues, most of which is often way too late. Many end up in long term psychiatric care, prison, young offenders institutes or worse taking their own lives due to drug-related problems. I lost a few accquaintences myself who had issues which they couldn’t deal with & the people meant to be helping them were pretty clueless & often dispassionate about their demise & passings.

 

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So what do we need to turn things around? Well lets have a cross-discipline cooperation between health, law, psychology & support professionals; give them proper facts & training in the realities of the long-term problems that even mild traumatic brain injuries (especially repeat injuries) can cause, lets see a public awareness campaign to tackle the stigma of brain injury in the UK & most of all lets stop blaming the victims & start helping them, no matter how far down the pit of social decline they may be… Then we can talk about rehabilitation once the truths have been confronted & not swept under any carpet available.

 

In another article we’ll look at some individual cases to see where the failings are commonly found in our systems & comment on how change is possible. Thanks for reading again….

 

David Bottomley – August 20th 2014

Psychologists Recognize The mTBI Injury to Crime Connection…

We’ve seen how each different country has reacted in response to the evident ‘Concussion Crisis’, what we term also as the ‘Hidden Epidemic’ that has come more markedly to our attention during the last few years; in the USA it started from high-profile issues in contact sports such as NFL, Soccer & Baseball – in Canada the Hockey leagues were the catalyst for discussion – yet in Britain (Scotland to be precise) something far more important & maybe less obvious is occurring (except to those whom know little about mTBI & Post Concussive Illnesses) which could change the face of youth detention in the UK forever…

 

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…Its apparently the discussion which is taking place regarding the links between young criminal re-offenders & Brain Injury. It seems quite evident on examination, as we know most PCS sufferers are younger males normally of lower social position/standing & that in general less than 10% of them will ever be seen at hospital, an even more minute percentage will ever receive any help at all. Hence its not tough to see from my own point of view why a lot of these young men & women would be getting into trouble as PCS does often give the predisposition to ‘Self-Medication’ & makes the sufferer generally very intolerant to acceptable social demands, that in turn can lead to incidents & therefore arrest & conviction.

I knew a guy during my own time spent on the streets some years back, he had had 6-7 head injuries which he simply shrugged off as unimportant, he drank to excess, took lots of stimulants & also robbed houses (so he claimed & he had the proceeds of such..) so it did ring true that a lot of those who are struggling badly at the bottom rungs of society (Westminster terminology!) have it tough from all angles; they cannot get assistance & so they sink into troubled ways. It’s most definitely not any of our business to judge, but rather to try understand.

Here’s an excerpt from the British Psychology Society’s article:

According to Dr Jean McFarlane, joint chair of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Neuropsychology, research has shown people are more likely to reoffend if they have a traumatic brain injury.

As a result, she believes more needs to be done to identify high-risk individuals when they are being screened in prison, as this would prevent crime from being committed and reduce the number of re-convictions.

Dr McFarlane will present her argument in front of the Justice Committee which will hear evidence from academics and psychologists about how offenders with traumatic brain injuries can be identified.

Research by Professor Huw Williams of the University of Exeter has already demonstrated that about 60 per cent of male prisoners have experienced head injuries at some point in the past.

He said this is connected with earlier, more violent and persistent offending, which means it is “vital that we screen and manage such problems in offenders”. Professor Williams added that picking up on brain injuries more effectively could steer children and young people “away from a future of crime”.

 

continuumofcare

 

 

It’s reasonably clear to hope & assume we’re entering into a new era of societal changes in attitudes towards people with brain injury, not just in the socially acceptable arena of life but in areas of long-standing social issues such as crime, homelessness & social exclusion of those suffering from any type of ABI. The changes & subsequent reform could take years to integrate into policy & practice, the attitudes of the public will be hard to repair due to the vast tidal-wave of anti-youth & crime-fear type stories which litter our daily news & press, however if the authorities can get the media on side we may see the steady growth of understanding where only blind prejdudice &  scaremongering used to prevail.

 

We’re going to look at how PCS in particular effects those on the wrong side of the law in other articles soon. Thanks for reading…

 

David Bottomley – August 2014

 

 

Excerpts from BPS website read the full article here : http://www.bps.org.uk/news/bps-members-attend-justice-committee-hearing-scotland

Concussion Discussion (Finally) Comes To The UK!

And so with one major objective firmly framed in our sights (that of having a discussion of any sort here in Britain regarding the subject of concussion) we hold our breath, in pained hope that something, anything will now change in regards to national attitudes, medical procedures and treatments pathways being created within the NHS, the acceptance of MTBI as a real problem and of course the law?

We’ve already seen the conclusions drawn by Chris Bryant’s recent inquiry which condemned the Football Association, calling for action – the recommendations go right into the heart of the matter seemingly touching on the subject of concussion in school sports, yet is that enough without greater changes in law?

The inquiry findings were as follows: “There are four key recommendations. The first is that a single set of concussion protocols is introduced across all sports. It notes that current protocols are “often confusing, filled with jargon and generally inaccessible to the average parent” and that there is a lack of consistency across all sports. The Football Association is singled out because it “does not have any formal concussion protocols in place”. The second recommendation is that more independent, peer-reviewed research is conducted into the links between concussion and the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is what Astle suffered from. It states that “far too often national governing bodies focus only on what is immediately in front of them”. It points out that at the time of Astle’s death the FA “promised his family that they would undertake a 10-year joint study alongside the Professional Footballers’ Association to investigate the link between heading footballs and the risk of brain damage” but that 12 years on no such study has been published. This, the report implies, is tantamount to a “cover-up”.

Thirdly it identifies “a pressing need for a large-scale and continuous public awareness campaign” with “the clear message that concussion can kill”. It cites the Guardian’s articles on the death of Ben Robinson and quotes Ben’s father, Peter, as saying: “There should have been a chain of health and safety procedures in place, one that included players, coaches, referees and parents. If just one link in that chain had worked as it should have, Ben’s concussion would have been spotted. He would have been removed from the pitch, and he may have survived.” The report states that “there are many misconceptions about concussion” which must be corrected, and quotes the former England rugby captain Lewis Moody as saying that too often the issue has been “treated like a joke”. Finally it calls for more coordination between sports, schools and the NHS. It recommends the introduction of concussion training at amateur and school level, run in conjunction between the national governing bodies, NHS and Department for Education.”

 

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Seems fine yet it also begs the question – ‘What about those already suffering from years of concussive hell, who will stand up for them?’ We already know that most cases of MTBI go undiagnosed (unlike more severe TBI & STBI which are generally always hospitalised) or even misdiagnosed for years and that has a bigger strain on our health services and primary care services because it is unaddressed.

I think it will take us much longer to get to the heart of the matter, yet each news story echoing what happened in the USA is a huge help. We can learn much from the American example indeed, though we have essentially the same or similar concerns, our British approach will most definitely not be as embracing or empathic due to the previous lack of discussion on PCS & MTBI. Let’s keep awareness up through Facebook, Blogs, Twitter and…. Well anywhere online really, and we can help with this important task of birthing a wider understanding here in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.  I shall be following up this post with more details but for now keep tuned in.

By David Bottomley Aug 2014

 

PLEASE JOIN IN THE DEBATE BY GIVING YOUR VIEWS IN OUR POLL BELOW…..

 

The link below is the reference to the news article outlining the story as reported in the Guardian newspaper in June :

CLICK HERE TO read the Full Guardian newspaper article on the outcome of this British inquiry…

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Potted History of Post Concussion Syndrome (a Very Misunderstood Condition…)

 

For many hundreds of years the effects of what was previously called ‘Mild Head Injury’ (what we now know as Post Concussion Syndrome) were completely misunderstood, it was treated widely as a type of madness in special hospitals, sanatoriums and even as a form of madness in lunatic asylums!

It wasn’t until the 19th century that significant changes in general attitudes to mild head injury occurred. This was due mainly to the beginning of the industrial age and significant scientific progress of society at that particular time; the inception of the railways and advancements in the study and medical research of neurology had brought many revelations, some of which cast new light on this age-old problem.

In 1866 a Danish born surgeon called John Eric Erichsen was working in London when he published his important paper on the effects of mild head injury symptoms which were widespread among railway workers. Until this time he had lent his own name to the condition (Erichsen’s disease) which he described as a ‘molecular disarrangement to the spine’. This was at a point when modern litigation began to rear its ugly head for the first time in relation to health matters and disputes between individuals in our society, and many legal defendants sought evidence, to deny the reality and existence of the particular condition known as railway spine (or railroad spine as it was known in America).

Erichsen boldly proposed that the condition was a real phenomenon, often affecting manual workers whose task was that of the laying and construction of railway tracks (hard and demanding physical labour in an age before modern machinery).

He theorised that the repeated shocks from sledgehammer blows was causing a repetitive jarring of both the spine and brain in these workers over some period of time. This same problem and its effects could also be found in passengers who were victims in railway shunts and accidents (he observed them to be similar to those of whiplash); hence the legal arguments in court cases produced counterclaims from defence lawyers that what was known as railroad or railway spine was a figment of these claimants imagination in order to obtain monetary gain!

 John Eric Erichsen   

Erichsen went on to gain favour later in his career as Queen Victoria’s surgeon and was also made a Baronet and a member of the Royal fellow of surgeons whilst working and living in London. The unfortunate premise of counterclaims against the reality of railway spine as a valid condition has unfortunately stuck to this day, thanks to the growth in the need for legal litigation throughout the 20th century.

One wonders if circumstances had been different regarding the early controversy with the railways, whether there then would have been any doubts whatsoever regarding the realities of Post Concussion Syndrome today. Quite possibly not!

During the early years of the 20th century what was originally called Erichsen’s disease and then railway spine became more commonly known as the condition called shell-shock. During the First World War it became an epidemic amongst soldiers on both sides of the conflict. What is more precisely known today as Combat Stress Reaction was very common during this period in history.

It was found that even soldiers without any visible head or physical injuries were suffering from very similar symptoms and effects to those who had suffered actual brain injuries on the battlefield.

Because of the strong elements of psychological and mental disturbances which accompanied shell-shock, there was once again plenty of adversity surrounding those unfortunate soldiers who suffered with it in World War I. This was in an age before modern psychiatry, psychology and knowledge of post-traumatic stress; therefore many such soldiers were persecuted and even prosecuted by their own superiors, labelled as traitors and cowards! Military records from the time show that several thousand soldiers were put on trial during this period mainly for their so-called cowardice, and a few hundred of those unlucky souls were also executed following court-martial as a result. This misunderstanding further deepened the divide between benevolent medical science and the suspicious disbelief of the legal profession, which continues in some form or another to this very day. To test this theory one only need to perform a quick search of the Internet for legal opinion on PCS to find either badly written studies funded by and for legal firms denying its actual existence as a real, debilitating neuropsychological disability; or hundreds of no-win no fee adverts from companies wishing to help PCS sufferers in suing anyone who may be responsible for their injuries! But that’s enough lawyer bashing for now… (Oops, can I actually say that?)

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During the Second World War the term ’shell-shock’ was banned by the British military authorities in order to avoid further hysteria regarding an epidemic, yet problems continued again as a direct result of ground troops in open combat, however as another generation of brave young men made the ultimate sacrifice for their countries there was more of a required move towards the beginnings of the development of modern psychiatry. The term ‘post-trauma concussion state’ was coined in 1939 by military doctors to replace the term shell-shock and describe what we now call PCS. Still many veterans of war suffer those horrific mental scars from horrors of battle, and further wars around the world most significantly in Korea, Vietnam and in recent history the Middle East have created third, fourth and fifth generations of men and women who’ve suffer from the effects of acquired brain injury sustained in battle.

As a result of battle related PCS many military studies on neuropsychology have been undertaken, and have greatly contributed invaluable data and statistics which can be used in the future to help develop further treatments for PCS. Through the many thousands of souls who have sacrificed their lives in these wars has come much important discovery about the treatment and rehabilitation of PCS sufferers, something which otherwise may not have been achieved over the last century.

In fact my own grandfather Alfred Bottomley was a victim of shell-shock during his own service in the Second World War after being thrown from his motorcycle by an enemy explosion nearby. Despite his injuries and resulting vision problems he carried on in the service for several years before being honourably discharged and was a decorated soldier in recognition of his bravery and sacrifice. Sadly my grandfather was never quite the same again afterwards according to his family.     He passed away whilst I was very young and I never got to know him personally, the condition dramatically altered his life and had a direct impact on his own family life as a result. This book is also dedicated to his memory and to that of all who have suffered PCS under its many different names down the years.

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This leads us to the current day situation regarding PCS, our perceptions of this condition as an invisible illness/hidden disability and still what is seen as a very complex and much misunderstood subject. Today we seem to be in the early days of an important transition with PCS. Old attitudes and centuries-old conflicts over the status of PCS as a real and debilitating condition are being contested, challenged and changed by the very people who know most of all how utterly life changing and frustrating living with PCS can actually be… Yes that’s right. Ourselves! Of late there has been a gradual wave of action spreading east from the USA, where the problem surfaced into the public mind due to problems in NFL, Baseball, Hockey & Soccer; these ranged from kids being concussed on school playing fields to high-profile NFL suicides due to repeated concussive issues. The resultant fall-out eventually found its way into world football’s arena during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, something which then had a domino-like effect into the UK & Europe. So we stand on the brink of more encompassing set of social changes now in the 21st century.

With most other severe, chronic illnesses and disabilities the driving force in our modern world is widely based on the perspectives and opinions of the patient/sufferer, as much as it is on medical opinion and thought.                     Somehow with PCS this is not the case at all the case, even now after a century and a half of debate and controversy, primarily because of its misunderstood nature and changing forms of its definition, we can find little satisfaction with the current state of affairs. For many years PCS has been wrongly labelled as a mental illness, something which has increased the stigma already surrounding brain injury. We now know more about this neurological disorder than ever before in history, however the big cop-out which most of us face repeatedly every day, both from our health services and health professionals is a well-known set of excuses. The excuses are based on simple misunderstandings and general ignorance regarding the condition itself. How many more times will sufferers have to listen to the same excuses before we realize that it is simply an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes? Well not so long in reality as many people are growing in awareness and refusing to accept excuses and waffle in place of their basic patients’ rights!

Here are some of the excuses which you are likely to hear on a regular basis from health service doctors and physicians: “PCS is untreatable!” – Untrue, “There are no treatments available which are effective!” – Untrue, “We do not know enough about PCS yet!” – Untrue, “We can only treat some symptoms!” – Untrue, “There isn’t enough evidence that PCS is a real illness!” – Untrue or (my particular favourite) “We do not have the money available to treat PCS!” – Ridiculous (especially for a society that spends somewhere in the region of $400 billion a year on drugs)… And the list goes on, and on, and on to a point whereby you could substitute anyone of a dozen different excuses, all used as reasons to cover up the truth. So exactly what is true? Well money is always a motivating factor, such as the $490,000,000 paid recently in NFL to players; that must have a bearing on how the UK & European countries reacted to the 2014 FIFA World Cup issues highlighted in Brazil? Well, whatever the motivation it is clear that the time has come to end denial & silent suffering for many, many thousands each year.

Evidence from my eight years of intensive and personal research into PCS all lead to the same conclusion, this being that there is a widespread aversion amongst medical professionals and healthcare providers in Britain in general towards seizing the mantle and tackling PCS due to the scale of the problem, and their commercial loyalties to the pharmaceutical industry play a part. There is seemingly a silent fear of healthcare professionals admitting that, not only have they been wrong about so many aspects of the condition and its treatment in the past, but also that there would have to be an almost complete re-learning of what they already know from limited medical textbooks. Nobody will publicly care to admit that they truly do not know how to tackle a specific condition like PCS.

Indeed if we consider the scale of pharmaceutical usage in modern health care, then we can see yet another aversion towards the treatment of PCS, as it is well-known amongst experts that continued medication of the condition is nearly always linked to a deterioration of the PCS patient’s condition and health. Medication is King in modern health care today and our health service’s medical textbooks are mostly written by the pharmaceutical companies who profit from this arrangement. It’s not that I am opposed totally to pharmaceutical types of medication as it has its vital place in preserving health and saving thousands of lives every day; however its uninformed and indiscriminate overuse or misuse with regards to PCS can have tragic and even lethal consequences also, such as negative drug reaction, dependency, addiction and overdose. It is a sad fact that there are more deaths each year from overdoses of prescription medications than those of illegal drugs!

There is a traditional proverb in Japan which fits the bill perfectly; which states that “When the only tool you possess is a hammer, then everything starts to look just like a nail!” That is certainly true of the science driven pharmaceutical industry and its customers in the healthcare world. Doctors, physicians and health care professionals when qualifying are usually required to undertake a commitment to what is called the ‘Hippocratic oath’, this has been heavily modernized and changed from the original yet still requires all such professionals to make honest and ethical their treatment of patients, ‘Primum Non Nocere’ – to first do no harm (in other words not to make the condition worse) and to treat their patients as a whole beings, not simply just as a symptom or a collection of symptoms!

All this seems quite contradictory to what we’re being told; yet when we take into account the current ethos of plying PCS sufferers with as many strong medications as possible during their crucial period of recovery; it seems to make sense that the overall motivation is seriously wrong if the health and welfare of patients is the number one priority. It’s not a mystery at all when we look at the true facts which are available, using them simply to join the dots together, we can see that expert advice and opinion on PCS is being ignored in favour of profit. I have had much confirmation expressed within the comments and opinions of doctors and physicians far and wide regarding this problem. So many have admitted to the same feeling of being trapped within a culture of pharmaceutical overkill in regards to patient’s treatment and care, and yet this situation is not about to change whilst profit and big corporations continue to hold political and financial sway over our own public health care systems!

I have regularly and publicly challenged our own NHS in England to review their lack of available treatments for PCS sufferers, to develop treatment pathways similar to those which are available for other types of chronic illness and to provide better patient care and information on a wider scale. To this date I have never received a coherent reply or clear acknowledgement in response other a couple of than vague or short dismissive statements, and excuses similar to the usual ones given to patients. If like me you are facing PCS with the prospect of being treated on our National Health Service then you will be very well aware of what a frustrating and often fruitless journey this truly can be!

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Patients have two main choices currently, either to follow the pharmaceutical and psychiatric merry-go-round until they fall off through sheer dizziness and despair OR they can educate themselves and take informed choices as to what is truly best for their recovery and rehabilitation, but still accept some help and intervention from the NHS in a measured and selective way. A third more idealistic way of treatment is still very much a thing of the future here and we need better models for treatment and rehabilitation, such as those devised at the University of Buffalo in the USA, a program designed especially for athletes and sports-people and based on a regime of physical exercise and rehabilitation. This approach combined with cognitive therapies and the consultation of a Neuropsychologist has proven to work. All the leading experts, the likes of Michael A.McCrea, Dr Micky Collins, Dr John J.Leddy and others are setting new benchmarks in terms of research into recovery, effective treatments and new models for diagnosis. We could use these new models throughout the world.

Recovery tends to come in plateaus with regards to PCS, first there appears to be a levelling out of symptoms and a feeling of temporary improvement in certain areas of the sufferers’ symptoms. This is quite a common occurrence with PCS recovery which can be mistaken in the early stages and can be quite frustrating and confusing also. Some sufferers will come through a plateau in their recovery and then suffer a knee-jerk reaction when symptoms recommence, actively seek more medication as a result and then harm their own recovery in doing so.

Simply being aware of such aspects of PCS is invaluable knowledge and as any long-term sufferer will readily tell you; there are no better alternatives to the major recuperative factors of time, rest and an adapted lifestyle to aid rehabilitation which are equally essential and without substitute. If you or your loved one have not been through this before, then the first few weeks and months are potentially the most difficult and frustrating, usually without guidance, common pitfalls can be encountered and mistakes can be made regarding recovery.                                       This is the type of information that you’re not going to find at your average GP or family doctors surgery, also getting referrals to neuropsychology specialists can be difficult or even impossible depending on your status and where you live! What is lovingly and jokingly referred to in the UK as the postcode lottery.

I firmly believe that being forewarned about the unique complications of PCS and getting treated is to be in an advantageous position when it comes to deciding how your own recovery will be determined. By staying positive and becoming educated you can avoid the frustrations that many have encountered through years of going round in circles with the wrong types of treatment, medication and referral.

When Did Our Food Lose Its Nutritional Value? It Did Right?

Okay remember the good old days when your parents used to tell you ‘You Better well eat those greens and the liver and onions or you’ll never grow up to be big and strong!’?
Well that’s probably an exaggeration but it was something like that surely? Back when I was a kid everything from fresh meat to vegetables and our daily bottles of milk were fresher than fresh and gave us all the essential nutrients we needed to grow big and strong.

As I grew older the world became accepting of something called GMO (Genetically modified organisms) What in simple terms meant that some anonymous guy in a whitecoat somewhere had messed about with its genome to make it more marketable and fresh for the corporate world that was to follow!
Hormones are fed to animals on a daily basis along with a large selection of pharmaceuticals, Growth injections and other unsavoury shots of chemicals… The resultant now is food which looks also more appealing in its supermarket packaging and is even better value for money too.

Well the point I want to get to is that for us with PCS (and all of you with other invisible illnesses) Is that for us to maintain a healthy diet it has become essential for us to supplement ourselves with vitamins, minerals and other supplements which are now more readily available as a result of this vast change in our food processing methods of recent years.

The ancient Egyptians used to take large amounts of magnesium in their daily diets mostly from fresh dark green vegetables, Something which led them to have a cancer rate which was practically zero! Today the use of minerals and vitamin supplements is widely disputed by the medical profession and it’s corporate sponsors in the pharmaceutical industry.
As someone who spent five years taking a variety of pharmaceutical medications for my PCS and fibromyalgia I can say that making the switch from the lifestyle of readily available prescription drugs to a change in diet and a balanced selection of nutrient supplements has actually allowed me to get my life back.

For instance I was taking antidepressants for my problems with symptomatic depression and anxiety related to my PCS. Now I will take a daily selection of high-strength vitamin B (a variety of the vitamins such as folic acid, Biotin and B-12 Amongst others); For my lack of sleep previously I would take tranquillisers and sleeping pills daily with all their heavy side-effects, now I take of Valerian tincture when I cannot sleep and a daily supplemental dose of magnesium malate..
For issues such as general immunity to common colds, viruses and so on there was no particular pharmaceutical drug of choice however I discovered colloidal silver, good daily doses of zinc and superstrength vitamin C In addition to my daily portions of fresh fruit and vegetables (always organic now!)

So I could go on for a while and give you more examples but it is I believe a sign of our modern societies attitudes towards food, health and well being that we have sacrificed certain values for things which seem more real and convenient?
I would not advocate anyone to drastically change their diet or medication without first studying long and hard the options available to themselves! All changes should be passed or verified by either a qualified nutritionist or someone of similar stature, maybe holistic practitioner would be able to see all of the options which may be more suited to the individual?

With all of the new food scandals appearing almost like clockwork these days it is all too easy to be complacent about the food and the nutrients which we are putting into our bodies, sadly despite all the warnings it does seem that many of us are happy to continue with old habits. I would recommend to anybody who has a serious interest in discovering the truth behind our food industries to seek out a book called ‘Not On The Label’ & If you are feeling particularly adventurous you could also find a copy of ‘The Seeds Of Destruction’ by F.William Engdahl, Both of which will cause you to think long and hard about the types of food you buy and eat.

You may ask yourself after reading those who am I to judge all this? Well I am someone who knows from many years of having had PCS and been to the pharmaceutical mill and then spat out the other side that good nutrition and good organic food is essential! I have struggled and suffered from poor quality nutrition and overly strong and unhelpful pharmaceutical medications for years before I went back to basics and rediscovered the simple truth that my parents had told me all along….

Mum knows best folks & her cooking can usually prove it too!
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“The history of GMO

[genetically modified organisms]

was inseparable from the political history of the Rockefeller family, and the four brothers–David, Nelson, Laurance and John D. III–who, in the three decades following American victory in World War II, the dawn of the much-heralded American Century, shaped the evolution of power George Kennan referred to in 1948.

In actual fact, the story of GMO is that of the evolution of power in the hands of an elite, determined at all costs to bring the entire world under their sway.

Three decades ago, that power was based around the Rockefeller family. Today, three of the four brothers are long-since deceased, several under peculiar circumstances. However, as was their will, their project of global domination–“full spectrum dominance” as the Pentagon later called it–had spread, often through a rhetoric of “democracy’ and was aided from time to time by the raw military power of that empire when deemed necessary. Their project evolved to the point where one small power group, nominally headquartered in Washington in the early years of the new century, stood determined to control future and present life on this planet to a degree never before dreamed of.

The story of the genetic engineering and patenting of plants and other living organisms cannot be understood without looking at the history of the global spread of American power in the decades following World War II. George Kennan, Henry Luce, Averell Harriman and, above all, the four Rockefeller brothers, created the very concept of multinational “agribusiness’ They financed the “Green Revolution” in the agriculture sector of developing countries in order, among other things, to create new markets for petro-chemical fertilizers and petroleum products, as well as to expand dependency on energy products. Their actions are an inseparable part of the story of genetically modified crops today.

By the early years of the new century, it was clear that no more than four giant chemical multinational companies had emerged as global players in the game to control patents on the very basic food products that most people in the world depend on for their daily nutrition-corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, even vegetables and fruits and cotton-as well as new strains of disease-resistant poultry, genetically-modified to allegedly resist the deadly H5N1 Bird Flu virus, or even gene altered pigs and cattle. Three of the four private companies had decades-long ties to Pentagon chemical warfare research. The fourth, nominally Swiss, was in reality Anglo-dominated. As with oil, so was GMO agribusiness very much an Anglo-American global project.” – excerpt from Seeds of Destruction by F.William Engdahl

F.William Engdahl's Superb Book 'Seeds of Destruction'

F.William Engdahl's Superb Book 'Seeds of Destruction'

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A Palliative Nurse’s Observations on the Dying…

Top five regrets of the dying
A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?
There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’.
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
What’s your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

 

(reproduced – source unknown)

Acupuncture – The Ins & Outs, No Seriously Just the Facts & Latest Opinion…

Proof That Acupuncture Really Does Activate Specific Parts of the Brain…

Originating in ancient China, acupuncture has been used for 2500 years. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that disease is caused by blockages and imbalances of energy (known as chi) flowing through meridians in the body, and can be eased by inserting needles at specific points.

Since the 1970s, acupuncture has become more popular outside East Asia. Once widely considered a quack medicine, there is now tentative support for its use in certain conditions from respected official bodies such as the World Health Organization, the National Health Service in the UK and the National Institutes of Health in the US.

 

 

There is evidence that acupuncture is effective in treating a range of conditions including spinal injuries, infertility and the side effects of chemotherapy, and that its effects aren’t entirely due to the placebo effect. However, despite extensive research, the mechanism of this ancient healing art remains unknown.

Wenjing Huang of Charité University Medical Centre, Berlin, Germany, and colleagues used more than 100 studies to produce these brain maps of 18 acupuncture points. Areas of the brain activated by stimulating a point are shown in red; areas deactivated are shown in blue.

For example, the two vision-related points GB37 (gall bladder) and UB60 (urinary bladder) showed deactivation in visual brain areas like the cuneus. The team concluded that acupuncture seems to affect the brain’s processing of both physical sensations and thought. For now, though, the source of our chi remains elusive.

Acupuncture has been an essential part of medicine for thousands of years in the East, yet even as it catches on in the West, physicians in this part of the world have yet to figure out exactly how this ancient technique works. Whatever the mechanisms, acupuncture does appear to work. Scientific studies are offering real evidence that it can ease pain and treat ailments ranging from osteoarthritis to migraine headaches.

The technique of acupuncture involves placing hair-thin needles in various pressure points (called acupoints) throughout the body. Stimulating these points is believed to promote the body’s natural healing capabilities and enhance its function.

 

 

East Meets West

Two very different theories exist as to how acupuncture works. According to Chinese philosophy, the body contains two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called “qi” (pronounced “chee”), flows like rivers along pathways, or meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang balanced. However, the flow of energy can sometimes be blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam. A disruption in the flow of energy can lead to illness.

Approximately 2,000 different acupuncture points lie along the body’s meridians. The idea behind acupuncture is that stimulating these points with acupuncture needles or pressure relieves obstructions in the flow of energy, enabling the body to heal.

In the Western view, acupuncture likely works by stimulating the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. These chemicals dull pain, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions.

Acupuncture Schools of Thought

Several different types of acupuncture exist, all originating from different parts of the world. In the United States, practitioners most often use the type of acupuncture based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, which restores the natural flow of energy by stimulating pressure points throughout the body that correspond to various organ systems.

Japanese acupuncture is more subtle than its Chinese counterpart. Its needles are thinner and shorter, and they barely pierce the skin. Japanese acupuncture is divided into two forms: root and local. Root acupuncture addresses the total energy imbalance in the body, while local acupuncture treats specific symptoms.

Five Element acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique used to treat problems of both the body and the mind. It is based on the idea that health, just like everything else in the universe, is governed by the five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Restoring a balance of these elements in the body, the theory goes, will result in good health.

Auricular acupuncture was developed in France, and it focuses all of the body’s acupuncture points in just the ear. Two hundred points line the ears, and each point is connected to an area or areas of the body. When a point is stimulated, it creates electrical impulses that flow, via the brain, to a specific part of the body. For example, if the point on the ear that correlates to the knee is stimulated, it will affect pain or symptoms in the knee. Auricular acupuncture is believed to be just as effective as whole body acupuncture, because stimulating the ear is thought to affect chi flow throughout the body.

Korean hand acupuncture is similar to auricular acupuncture, except that the focal point is the hand, rather than the ear. Points on the hand meridians, when stimulated, correspond to various parts of the body.

Acupuncture Styles and Related Techniques

Traditional acupuncture involves placing needles at specific pressure points throughout the body. Several different variations of this technique exist, however. Some practitioners add heat or electrical stimulation to enhance the treatment effects, while others substitute pressure for needles.

Electroacupuncture sends an electrical current through the needles to stimulate pressure points during acupuncture.

Sonopuncture applies sound waves to the acupuncture points. The vibrations stimulate pressure points in a more subtle way than needles. Sonopuncture is often combined with acupuncture.

Acupressure follows the same principle as acupuncture, but it uses pressure rather than needles. The therapist presses on the patient’s acupoints with his or her fingers, and holds for a few seconds.

 

Moxibustion uses heat to stimulate acupoints. The heat is generated by burning an herb called moxa, which comes from the mugwort plant. There are two types of moxibustion: direct and indirect. In direct moxibustion, a piece of the herb about the size of a grain of rice is placed directly on the skin and burned at an acupuncture point. Because this can be painful and can leave scars, many practitioners today opt for indirect moxibustion, in which the piece of moxa is wrapped in paper, lit and held close to the skin. Sometimes moxa is wrapped around the acupuncture needles and lit to add extra stimulation to the acupuncture treatment.

Cupping places heated jars or cups over the skin. Suction pulls the skin into the cups, creating a vacuum-like effect that stimulates the acupuncture points.

What Conditions can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture is used to treat several different medical and psychological conditions, with varying degrees of success. These conditions include:

Addiction

Asthma

Bronchitis (acute)

Cancer pain and nausea control after chemotherapy

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Chest infections

Constipation

Diarrhoea

Headaches (including migraines)

Fibromyalgia

Low-back pain

Menstrual cramps

Osteoarthritis

Post-surgical pain and nausea

Shoulder pain

Sinusitis

Spastic colon

Stress and anxiety

Stroke rehabilitation

Tennis elbow

Urinary problems

Acupuncture can either be used on its own, or combined with traditional medical treatments (such as surgery or medication) or alternative remedies (such as chiropractic manipulation and herbal therapies).

 

(Via Netinfo Medical Sources)

 

PCS Headaches – Are They Worse with Intervention or Better Nourished?

 

One of the most common everyday topics I see people discussing regarding their PCS and MTBI is the agonising subject of the headache! Of course dealing with a headache is a very subjective and personal thing to many folks; some feel the need to measure out the severity of each headache even though there is no official scale suited to categorising just how much of the humdinger the pains in their brain really debilitate them. Headaches range from dull sensations around the lobes to pressure around the eyes and sinuses or even the whole skull can feel like it’s somehow gotten too small to hold the swelling brain inside it.

Of course there are other types of headaches such as migraines, cluster headaches and the type which are more fit–like all electrical in nature (almost epileptic) and these tend to be more closely and often associated with neurological conditions such as PCS, MTBI, TBI, STBI and other types of acquired brain injury. Knowing your own body as we are encouraged to do so daily by society and media has become a massive arena for debate as well as a great moneymaking exercise for everyone from the pharmaceutical industry to manufacturers of healthcare supplements and health gurus and fitness freaks everywhere. In fact you don’t need to look far on the Internet or in glossy magazines for women or men’s health to see that probably 95% or more of what we discussed in health matters is to do with the outer body or its inner workings and very little to do with the brain – it’s very control centre.

So starting with the first category of headache (mild to severe but not crippling) we can identify certain simple and obvious causes even in the case of somebody with PCS/MTBI. Here are the top three culprits which trigger perpetual & repeated headaches…

Number One: Dehydration is probably the biggest single cause of this category of headache and often the most overlooked method to avoid headaches every day is to increase your intake of pure filtered water (ideally between 6 to 10 glasses today) and to decrease or eliminate intake of drinks containing caffeine, high sugar levels, excessive alcohol, additives and artificial colourings and suchlike. Our brains are composed mainly of water so keeping them topped up as much as we keep our bodies topped up with clean water fuel is the healthiest way to avoid headaches. Dehydration is most often identified by discoloured urine anything from a yellow to dark brown colour which indicates lack of hydration. This can be as a result of medication in One’s system – also another reason to increase water intake to ensure it is flushed through properly (the extra trips to the WC are worth it I assure you!)

 

 

Number Two: Getting overstressed & anxious (especially over things which can’t be changed) is the next major and obvious cause of this category of headache. It seems like an obvious one and can often be one of the simplest yet at the same time most complicated causes to get under control if you happen to be suffering from PCS or MTBI. Controlling stress and anxiety can be done through two basic means, through medication or by adopting natural or psychological means. One shepherds the pain into a hole & subdues it until later & the other invites it out to talk & make peace. Medications from opiate painkillers to tranquillisers and certain types of prescription antidepressants are all handed out freely to PCS sufferers and serve deadened the nerve signals whilst bypassing the root cause of any stress related headache, simply offering a quick blissful release to the user. The other way is to work on yourself, your feelings and emotions in simple and effective ways in order to manage stress in your life (I can’t imagine many people having PCS who aren’t familiar to stress even after a few days or weeks) such as control of breathing, taking time out when needed, the daily use of self-hypnosis and NLP, affirmations and a long list of therapeutic and holistic normal means that work towards the root causes of PCS related stress, depression and anxiety.

 

 

Number Three: The overuse of medication is another huge cause of unwanted headaches simply from their very nature most painkillers (especially opiates and synthetic opiates) have a very side-effect of causing additional and increased pain to the user, (especially when used for prolonged periods of time). Along with the other unpleasant side effects of constipation, stomach trouble, acid reflux, diarrhoea, weight gain and mood change pain is the most significant side-effect of the large majority of painkillers! Slowly reducing the intake of prescription painkillers whilst finding natural substitutions for generalised and intensive pain such as headaches can be the best thing you can do towards managing the chronic pain which comes with most long-term PCS/P PCS. Most people can spend years on the same painkiller and become dependent on their effects however relaxation techniques, managing periods of rest in your day and something as simple as a hot bath infused with something like magnesium salts are essential oils of Cypress, Geranium, Black Pepper and others can relieve intense pain within minutes and give effective pain relief for hours and even days afterwards. These methods of pain relief also aid natural and the restful sleep without any side effects. The need for rest is one of our brain’s other most common reasons for headache pain so by not fighting your own nervous system you’ll have increased overall control…

 

 

Now the more serious and aggravating headaches which I mentioned earlier such as migraines and cluster headaches can be controlled mid to long-term by natural means such as hypnotherapy and aromatherapy or holistic means like Reiki or reflexology amongst others, however correctly prescribed pain medication can be worth its weight in gold purely as an emergency measure went is not practical to take time out for holistic therapeutic remedies (such as at work or when travelling etc.). Everything that could be used to fight the root cause of neurological pain signals should be done as sparingly as possible in order that headache can be nourished and eased away rather than habitually blitzed with painkillers every time it appears. The modern way seems to be to treat headaches as some sort of battle enemy that should be shot at every time it rises out of its trench, whereas with most pain management accepting the levels of pain as part of your illness and in fact as a part of yourself during the time that you’re in pain, then you can avoid some of the battle scars and repeated screaming at the heavens that goes with most headaches wondering that age-old question of “oh why, oh why me?”

Relearning your whole set of responses to pain can be very much a trial and error process as the learning of socially acceptable habits such as automatically dosing each of our problems seems to be deeply ingrained within modern consciousness. There is always a temptation to take the convenient hammer to crack a nut; just another reasoned affirmation that everybody else does it so it must be okay for us too!

Being kinder to yourself on the other hand means finding ways to be kinder to the pain too, this may seem contradictory but consider instead that pain signals are our body’s method of communicating to us when something is out of sync or that something is drastically wrong and that we need to attend to it. Pain messages should not be treated like naughty disobedient children banished to a quiet room or locked in a metaphorical cupboard such as in Victorian times, they should be accepted as a measuring–stick of required adjustment for the body needs whether that be lack of hydration, too much stress, over-medication or any other number of problematic things that we can easily suppress during illness.

I suspect that the good majority of you reading this will probably do so and then carry on battling your headaches in the trenches day by day, week to week, month on month and so on lobbing pharmaceutical grenades until something bigger forces a change in your habits or call a truce. Maybe a few of you will take on board what I’ve said about the body-mind relationship and treating pain as a messenger that needs to be noticed and nourished in more subtle ways. Either way if some of the information sticks with you then that’s a good thing I’ve done my job in part. There will be a whole lot more on this issue in my forthcoming book which will act as a comprehensive guide for all matters PCS and MTBI.

 

 

As usual if you have question or comment then please don’t hesitate to get in touch via this site, PCS Awareness Worldwide on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/113072042059485/ )  or by email at : pcsawarenessuk@gmail.com   or via following us on  Twitter  @Postconcussion

 

Thanks for reading and Namaste to each of you…

 

Love DB      :o)

 

 

PCS Dizzyness in Society & Healthcare… I want to Get Off!

These days every doctor or physician I talk to will tend to have a very different outlook on the whole matter of PCS, depending on where they live, work and practice they will tell an alarmingly different story. In countries where research is at a premium (such as the USA are Australia) physicians remain positive and informed on all the latest developments and methods of diagnosis and treatment, however in my native UK doctors haven’t even come to terms with the fact that PCS is in fact real! The vast majority don’t know the basics let alone where to send patient who comes to them with all the signs and symptoms of the condition.

In the UK our government claims that over £4 billion is spent on treating brain injury annually, the vast majority of which will be serious TBI, STBI (such as road traffic accidents) and alcohol related head injuries via hospital trauma wards and rehabilitation of comatose and severely disabled cases. PCS is a tiny proportion of this annual £4 billion figure, as our British National Health Service (NHS) openly admits it does not have any treatment plans or pathways for individuals suffering MTBI, neither does the NHS have any plans to introduce treatments or rehabilitation for PCS either! Bad news for Britain’s claim to be one of the most medically and scientifically advanced nations on Earth. It puts to shame these boastful claims in my opinion & a drastic reappraisal is needed regarding the future of treatments for all hidden disability and invisible illness once we’ve taken the first baby steps past stigmatizing all such types of illness through our national media, empathy is at something of an all time low indeed in the 21st century.

 

Now if you are one of the lucky chosen few who happen to be winners in the health services postcode lottery (i.e. you happen to live near one of the few hospitals with a proactive and developed neuropsychology department usually in an affluent area) then you may just get sufficient diagnosis and advice there, you will be one of the lucky ones who gets twice weekly visits to local neurology clinic just because you happen to live near one of the Queen’s Estates or a local high-brow Tory cabinet MP. So far out of the many PCS sufferers that I have spoken to from the UK only a handful of them have had a useful positive experience with neurology specialists, the rest either couldn’t get referred, got lost in the system, gave up or even worse ended up waiting maybe a year post injury to see a specialist only to realise they knew absolutely nothing about MTBI of PCS are that it was too late to instigate any kind of affected recovery!

Although this current picture looks quite bleak for countries like the UK you shouldn’t lose hope just yet. I found through my own persistence and the trial and error involved in the NHS merry-go-round that the best treatments and rehabilitation can be often less troublesome than spending months, and even years on medical waiting lists for specialists who aren’t all which equipped to help anyway. One of the worst things for PCS is stress and if you get caught in the NHS merry-go-round then you will undoubtedly become much stressed very quickly, this is unless you can talk to your doctor or specialist and clearly explain to them that you have to plan for your own recovery (there is nothing an overworked GP loves to hear more than this).

So give me a third way alternative anytime, one which takes into account that I am human & whole & not a piece of meat for the pharmaceutical controlled national health service to shuffle around from one heartbreaking bad referral to another… then & only then can I be free to plot my own path to good health. You can too, its just a choice today between the tried & tired ways versus the new path… See our wellbeing section for more?

Namaste

David B

At Last, I’m In Business….

Some 20 years ago now I set out to find a mentor or teacher to guide me towards some kind of greater knowledge of the world & maybe even the universe. It came from a dissatisfaction with the 2D world of work, play, work, play etc but soon I was looking for answers to questions like – Do we live more than once? Do we reincarnate or is it a portion of something bigger that re-occurs? How do some people see into the future & is what they see predestined?

Well there were a hell of a lot more questions but I found a unique teacher & got stuck in, meditation, study & some hard metaphysical speculation. It took me around 7 years to get to the next stage of looking for my own past lives as the preparative ground work had been done.

That was 13 years back, my introduction to the world of psychism for real & through the use of self-hypnosis & opening techniques I learned as much as I could in order to help others in extraordinary ways. I opened my life up to Spirit & was guided from their side as well as by psychic friends on this side, I used the Tarot, crystals & my developed abilities to read for people on a one-to-one basis, I did displays of Mediumship, read portraits, worked in Trance for the purpose of channelling Spirit through & eventually learned how to remote view, astral travel & channel people’s past lives through my guides & helpers via the Akashic Records…

I also learned the healing art of Reiki after a revealing trip through India in 2002 & it soon became a part of my life, working up to the Reiki 3rd (or master’s) degree which allowed me to gain more empathy for those whom needed healing most. Following injury & prolonged illness in 2006 I experienced firsthand immense difficulty & pain as a result, something which actually helped me no end in becoming a much more effective healer.. (Carl Jung said this “Only the wounded physician can truly heal”)

This is reflected in my own Chiron position in the sign of Aries (this is the sign of the wounded healer, able to empower others) & as a result of years of study & practice in my chosen arts I have decided (with a big push from my friends in Spirit!) to open my abilities to the world via the internet, a move to not only share my skills but also to assist fellow travellers on the long path to their Soul’s desires…

So now I’m almost ready to begin the work & service which is important to me for so many reasons, there will be a selection of personalised readings using Tarot, psychic perception, clairvoyance, past life channeling, astrological methods & more. Details will be available soon though if you have any questions in the meantime please feel free to email me at : inwardmatrixhealing@gmail.com

Launching Late 2012…

More to follow soon as I have much to share with you, so if you’re spiritually minded, curious or just plain skeptical then look me up?

Inward Matrix Healing & Spirit Readings Website…

Thanks, David B   :o)

PCS recovery how do you get from A to B?

One of the most often asked questions on our forums for Post Concussion Syndrome Awareness Worldwide (Facebook) groups is “how long will it take to recover?” Usually this question is proposed by newer members, those recently injured or freshly diagnosed and those who have insufficient access to good information and treatment wherever they live. The answer is varied as with all neurological conditions recovery is so much a journey, a path that needs to be carefully chosen and closely monitored at each step.

Also when answering this question there is a tendency to appraise the individual by their personal situation and circumstances, such matters as do they live on their own? Do you live with family? Is neurological care available to them where they live and if it is then is it through government healthcare or private? What responsibilities do they have in their life and how difficult would it be for them to take a break or delegate these responsibilities to family or close friends?

So you can see plenty of factors need to be counted in before any kind of ad hoc prognosis can be made and even then we can only hope to allow for the unexpected, negatives such as re-injury and financial hardship can be severe blows to anyone in the early stages of PCS and sometimes such negatives are enough to prolong and sustain the psychological and emotional factors of the illness. Depression and anxiety along with stress are the three main culprits for worsening the PCS condition, and I’m sure anyone who has suffered for more than a month or so with long-term realities of this will agree that rest, peace and a certain level of tranquillity are much-needed post injury.

One of the most common things with recovery is the plateau-effect whereby one feels as if things are improving significantly and there is a gentle levelling out of symptoms, stress and a slight overall improvement. This can mistakenly be taken as a kind of false dawn and those symptoms return as they surely will then there can be a strong knee-jerk reaction of going back to doctors, physicians or neuropsychologists to try to gain some new advantage through medication to try to regain that glimpse of recovery. This happens a lot from what I’ve seen and can in the long run lead to a decrease in the individuals overall health often due to the fact that they’ve gone back to get medications which aren’t really needed! The gentle and patient approach is a better way but for this you need to be forewarned of what is actually going on with this plateau-effect in the first place.

All of our experts in the field of MTBI and PCS say the same thing consistently and that is that medication will if overused repeatedly used make PCS worse! So if you’re caught in a cycle of plateau-effect type recoveries and repeated trips back to the doctor then it can be quite some time before things really start to break and you realize that you’re actually going round in similar circles (what we call the PCS merry-go-round!) The frustration of being on this merry-go-round can be truly exhausting and can even cause people to want to get off altogether!

I spent almost 5 years trusting in this cycle and that things would get better on their own, as the repeat MTBI sufferer this is always worse. If you’ve only had the one injury the odds are so much better if you can get the right conditions for recovery and the support you need every day to ensure that you don’t get overly stressed, anxious or depressed.

So when to get off the merry-go-round? Well only you will know as an individual and it will depend on your particular beliefs regarding the reality of your situation and the available healthcare and support for you wherever you live. I got off when I couldn’t stand anymore and I made a firm decision to go down a completely different route with treatment, rehabilitation and my own health care needs. I set out after finding a good Bowen technique therapist, a hypnotherapist (an old friend of mine) and a Reiki therapist who could treat me on a physical basis. As well as this and it difficult decision to find substitutes for the strong pharmaceutical medications, antidepressants – tranquillizers etc…

Beginning in January of this year I would start my new regime with fortnightly Bowen treatments for the physical pains and neurological pains from my PCS and fibromyalgia. This treatment also has a drastic psychological and emotional impact with a lot of clearing of things from the psyche and body which can only be good in the long-term. I had to give up the crutches of medication in order to get some real physical mental and holistic healing, the hypnotherapy would be a great substitute for anxiety medications and the like and also with regular sessions of Reiki this would help to bring out any deep buried problems to the surface so they could be worked on and dispersed properly. I also found self-hypnosis & guided visualizations/affirmations were effective when used repeatedly as a way of handling the old problems of depression & anxiety.

Instead of the medications I found a range of supplements and change in diet was all was needed to regulate other physical problems and now that I broke out that pattern of being dependent on just one source for my healthcare (source that was just keeping it perpetually ill the profits sake) I was able to take control of my life again in a manner which would prove empowering and liberating on many different levels… And it cost a fraction of what private treatment through a clinic would have!

I’m writing about all this also in my new book and in much more depth too so hopefully others can benefit from a lot of the pitfalls of mistakes that I came across. Back in 2006 when I was first injured I could find virtually nothing about PCS on the Internet or in books apart from a few entries on Wikipedia and other articles here and there, yet now the last couple of years so as things are changing on a wider scale were all able to talk about it a lot more and spread awareness much further than ever before. This is being helped by the media coverage in the USA and hopefully this will have its usual knock-on effect to the rest of the world in a positive fashion.

 

So the final word here is that if you are going through PCS in the early stages then try to get in touch with others who are suffering and get the best advice you can, it will make you feel better just knowing that you’re not alone and most importantly don’t try to rush your recovery because that is the quickest way to sustain the condition.

 

Okay for now; pass this on this you can. Love to you all

David   :o)

Brain Injury and the Pituitary Gland…. Eat your Acorns!

 Acorns, Olives & Pine Nuts – What do they all have in common? Answer they’re all good for pituitary gland health…..

The pituitary gland is a tiny part of the brain. It’s about the size and weight of a small grape, and it lives smack in the center of the brain. It dangles from the hypothalamus on a short, cord-like structure called the infundibulum, and snuggles nicely into a little bony depression in the skull called the sella turcica (translation, Turkish saddle).

And yet, for it’s size, this little gland is in charge of some pretty important hormones. For instance, the front part of the pituitary gland is in charge of releasing thyroid and adrenal hormones such as TSH and ACTH, sex hormones such as FSH and LH (important for fertility), and the mammary hormone PRL (important for lactation). The front part is also in charge of growth hormone (GH), which is critical for the body to grow and develop properly. Melatonin, which is critical for sleep cycles, is another important hormone related to the front of the pituitary gland. The back part of the pituitary gland releases hormones important to kidney function (ADH) and to childbirth (oxytocin).

 

 

In short, if you mess this little gland up, you’re going to experience a wide range of unpleasant problems.

We now recognize that traumatic brain injury patients have a high incidence of pituitary dysfunction. Think about the structure of the pituitary gland and how it’s protected by the skull. The pituitary gland may seem well-protected at first glance, but put it through the test of even a minor brain injury and you begin to see problems. The infundibulum, that little cord-like stalk, can be sheared just as the thick cords of axons can be sheared in a diffuse axonal injury. The pituitary gland itself can be trapped and compressed by the sella turcica structure it sits in, producing swelling and herniation.

Recent research has been describing unexpectedly high numbers of chronic hormone problems in brain injury. Although many patients show multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies, common problems include growth hormone dysfunction, diabetes, hypogonadism, and also sleep problems. Pituitary damage is related to negative outcomes such as difficulties in recovery and rehabilitation, serious neurological symptoms, increased rate of mental illness, and a greater risk of death.

Since pituitary gland dysfunction is often overlooked in the emergency room, recent studies have indicated the need for routine pituitary screening in TBI patients. Other studies are looking into hormonal replacement therapy as potential treatment. In one study, amateur boxers responded well to growth hormone therapy and there are other clinical trials in the works.

Although pituitary dysfunction in TBI is just now getting proper recognition, the diagnosis and treatment promises to be fairly straightforward and positive.

 

(via Brain injury rx)

Should Energy Drinks Carry a Health Warning or Not?

Thanks to Gina H for flagging this article from THB on the potential dangers of Taurine & Caffeine heavy energy drinks, something that PCS sufferers often use in order to simply keep-going…..

The US has become a “caffeine-dependent nation”. As if the traditional coffee, tea, and soft drinks were not enough, we have added caffeine to mints, gum, and a variety of “energy drinks.” These drinks happen to be enjoying tremendous sales not only in the US, but in other countries as well. So it caught my eye when Australian researchers recently reported that the energy drink, Red Bull, has the potential to increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.1

The study conducted on college age adults found that Red Bull not only increased blood pressure, it increased the stickiness of blood cells — after consuming only one can of the drink. It is known that increasing the stickiness of blood cells means our blood will be more prone to forming clots, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. The authors of the study concluded that drinking Red Bull could be dangerous, especially for anyone who may already be predisposed to heart disease.

After the study was published, a spokesperson for Red Bull stated that these effects are similar to the changes found with drinking a cup of coffee, and so the long-term risks of energy drinks could not be determined from these results alone.2

It’s true that each can of Red Bull contains about 80 mg of caffeine, the amount typically found in one cup of brewed coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant, and in moderation it has been shown to have some benefits. For instance, it slightly increases the body’s rate of metabolism and enhances mental focus and clarity. However, in comparing coffee to energy drinks, are we really comparing apple to apples?

Both drinks contain caffeine. Stimulants in general increase the production of the stress hormones, adrenaline, nor-adrenaline, and cortisol. (Remember, anything that increases the production of stress hormones in the long run has potential for harm, as they are known to interfere with sleep, increase waist to hip ratio, and increase one’s risk of heart disease and stroke.)

Nor-adrenaline causes blood vessels to constrict, and that increases blood pressure. One study found that in rats, caffeine and other stimulants increased the production of renin, a hormone made in the kidneys, which also increases blood pressure.3 But the difference between coffee and energy drinks is that coffee is coming from a plant and contains other natural substances that may be moderating its effects.

Energy drinks

 

For instance, while some studies have found that coffee increases blood pressure in occasional drinkers, in habitual coffee drinkers, that effect seems to wear off.4 Longer term studies would need to be conducted on energy drinks to see if this effect would the same.

But what about the blood stickiness? So far there are no studies showing that coffee increases blood platelet stickiness. In fact, it has been found to have the opposite effect. Italian researchers have found that coffee makes blood platelets less sticky, and they have narrowed that effect down to the phenolic compounds contained in coffee.5

Phenolic compounds are the natural antioxidants found in many plant foods — and coffee is very high in these antioxidants. So this may be part of the reason coffee is not as harmful. (But that does not mean you should drink more than a moderate amount.)

Obviously, the combination of ingredients in Red Bull is somehow exerting an effect resulting in increased blood stickiness — and this is enough reason to avoid it, even if the blood pressure raising effects are only temporary. The manufacturers of Red Bull even warn consumers not to drink more than two cans a day. I think we would all do well to heed that advice.

However, I must say the negative results of the Red Bull study surprised me. Red Bull does not contain excessive caffeine and even contains some B vitamins and taurine, which should help counteract any of the effects of the caffeine. So when asked if these drinks are OK, I have considered them to be like any other stimulant.

Since they promote the increased production of stress hormones, they should be used with moderation and individual tolerance should be assessed and used as a guideline. For instance, some people don’t clear the caffeine as well through their liver, and can’t sleep at night with any caffeine at all.

In the meantime, I think we all need to consider why these drinks have become so popular in the first place. People are stressed out, burned out, and are not getting enough sleep. The use of these energy drinks will not remedy that. In fact, another study found that in people who were sleep deprived, the energy drinks were not effective in counteracting feelings of sleepiness, and even slowed reaction times compared to a placebo.6

This may explain why some people keep trying with more and more of these drinks. I see many people consuming ungodly amounts of caffeinated drinks — 3 pots of coffee or 20 Mountain Dews daily. Even worse, I have seen patients drinking anywhere from 5 to 15 Red Bulls or other energy drinks per day.

Unfortunately, the attempt to get more energy in this way is very short-sighted and it can end up contributing to adrenal fatigue or exhaustion. And I must add that none of this discussion includes consideration of the long term effects of stimulants on our neurotransmitters. In general, we need to remember that too much constant stimulation over time will deplete vitamins and minerals and increase anxiety. It can also contribute to adrenal exhaustion, while increasing other health risks.

So, what should you do if you need more energy?

Consider using the adaptogenic herb, Rhodiola. It has been well-studied and found to increase energy by supporting adrenal function. An added benefit is that at the same time, it reduces the effects of stress on the body.

Finally, if you desire a little caffeine, so far the safest and most beneficial way to get it, seems to be with tea. Tea contains caffeine, but is balanced by the naturally occurring and calming substance, theanine. In addition, tea is very high in health-promoting antioxidants. And that’s no bull!

‘There’s No Such Thing as a Minor Concussion,’ World Leading University of Buffalo Doctor Says!!!

 

Dr. John J. Leddy is an Associate Professor of Clinical Orthopaedics and Director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic – University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences…

With the NFL and NHL seasons well under way, Leddy discusses the progress that doctors, teams and athletes have made in understanding concussions and recognizing the seriousness of the injuries. With colleague Barry Willer, Leddy has developed an exercise-based test that helps doctors understand when it’s safe for an athlete to return to play. Athletes treated at Leddy’s concussion management clinic include Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tim Connolly, formerly of the Buffalo Sabres.

On the need to take concussions seriously: “There’s no such thing as a minor concussion, and the problem is that once you have one or two, you’re more likely to have a third, fourth or a fifth, and then you are at risk for sustaining cumulative and permanent damage over time. The brain is a unique organ. You only have one, and you need it for almost everything else. Clearly, the animal and human research shows that if somebody goes back before they’re fully recovered, they’re going to fare much worse and often will have a second, more significant, injury.”

 

On the progress that doctors, teams and the public have made in recognizing that concussions are serious: “When I was playing high school sports, people went into play after concussions. Nobody realized that they were dangerous. They thought you got your “bell rung,” and then you got over it and that was it.”

 

“It’s really gotten press in the last two or three years at the NFL level and NHL level. And then when you have very prominent athletes like Sidney Crosby and Eric Lindros—they get a lot of publicity and it starts to get public attention. I think with all the publicity about concussions in professional athletes over the past year, scholastic athletes and team physicians are certainly taking concussion more seriously now.”

 

On the method Leddy and Willer have developed to test whether athletes are ready to return to play: “We use a standardized treadmill exercise test to establish the exercise tolerance of patients with post-concussion symptoms lasting more than three weeks. In the test, patients exercise on a treadmill with gradually increasing intensity until they can exercise to full capacity without worsening symptoms.”

 

“The test replicates the physiology of what athletes have to do during sport. It helps us determine when an athlete is physiologically recovered from concussion and is safe to return to play. It is our experience that this program speeds recovery in those with abnormal physiology, especially in athletes.”

 

“The test also assists in the differential diagnosis of on-going symptoms—physiologic post-concussion syndrome versus cervical injury versus migraine headaches, for example. Patients with physiologic post-concussion syndrome are given a specific exercise prescription based upon the treadmill results to safely perform at home on a daily basis. When we rule out physiologic post-concussion syndrome with the treadmill test, we are able to direct specific therapy to the underlying problem, such as a cervical issue or a migraine headache.”

 

 

Where have I been for the last three weeks?

Well I want to answer that I really do! That’s what I said when I was asked yesterday afternoon where all the stories, articles, opinion and down-low web posts on Brain Health Matters had disappeared to? Or was it me who disappeared?

Well, that friend got his answer, the thing is I would have liked to have split myself into two people of late in order to get everything I need to do done!

Posting daily on an informational website which has taken off far quicker than even I expected as unfortunately had to take a backseat for a little while. However I am contemplating not sleeping for a few months (fibromyalgia joke!)

So posts and Brain Health Matters will continue as often as I can stay awake at night!

Now of course the reason for absence? Well at long last it has become possible for me to start on the writing of my next book, the one that I’ve been researching the longest and you will be pleased to know the one which is dearest to my heart.

Current working title is “The Post Concussion Syndrome No-Frills Survival Guide” and with any luck (and some help from him/her upstairs) it should be available to the world during the early part of 2013!

Basically this book has been borne out of some frustration, the frustration with the current lack of any practical guides written by sufferers, or normal people relating to PCS/PPCS. I could probably name you about half a dozen expensive and highly technical medical books on the subject other than that there are only a couple which are worth their salt and accessible to a normal reader (especially one with PCS).

So our subtitle “How to Get Through PCS in the Imperfect World – with a Chapter by Chapter Guide to Coping Practically” which I think explains it all well enough. Chapters in the book will comprehensively looks so all stages from injury, to diagnosis, medication, treatment and symptoms, on to coping strategies, managing well-being, discrimination, work, financial hardship, alternative and holistic treatments and so on…

 

Thank you for being patient with me over the last few weeks and I hope you’ll enjoy website for now, please tell your friends? Post will resume as often as this author can remember to take his vitamins!

Namaste (love you guys)

David B    :o)

How did we manage before social networking?

How did we manage before social networking?

 

That is the question I have been asking myself recently, six years ago this week I’d just suffered the misfortune and downfall of experiencing two most unwelcome mild traumatic brain injuries in one long day! (Oh why oh why does anybody think they are mild?)

It was a balmy, cold, wet and otherwise ordinary August afternoon and I had absolutely no idea what fate (or destiny) had up its infinitely long and mysterious sleeves. This was at a time in my life where I have just discovered what was then the somewhat shady and freshly pressed world of social networking. This new world they said was the next greatest thing to be bestowed upon mankind (and womankind indeed).

Although on this particular day that was really the last thing on my mind, falling over myself and bashing my occipital region on hard, slippy wet tarmac was the order of that particular day! I can only begin to imagine the pain of those moments when I find myself trying to relive them all over again yet the repercussions have continued up until this very day, and will persist to make a bearing throughout the subsequent decisions and plans that I would ever make thereafter.

That was 2006; my nemesis of the year was PCS a brutal and uninvited squatter in my ravaged and bruised brain. Several visits to the accident and emergency over the following year or three followed with alarming regularity. First there was unwelcome bodily paralysis on a Saturday morning, CAT scans, more lovely painkillers and other sweeties followed by a lifetime of riding the National Health Service merry-go-round, a wonderful headfuck for anyone suffering from brain injury!

These people, these few inhuman quacks who claim to be professionals in healthcare misdirected me carelessly about from pillar to post with their vague apathetic, unsympathetic and unprofessional attitudes. I think I only met a couple of them in five years whom were even vaguely intelligent enough to be honest with me, the rest are just foul patronising jobsworths.

Hospitals these days (in the UK) are run by a bunch of brain-dead zombies, career failed bureaucrats and a few dam good people (the nurses and care staff!)!This is a rare occasion for me to rant and let loose on the actual failings of our mess of the health system here, it’s a profit organisation and arm of the pharmaceutical giants and those who write the textbooks and decide the patient’s doom.

It’s a real corporate sell-out these days!

So now six years on I have been free of NHS intervention for nearly 9 months and this is because I’d had enough (simple as that) so what did I do? Well I said no thank you to your NHS antidepressants, no thank you to your NHS tranquillisers (cold turkey was a bitch) and no to anything else they had to offer (basically another go around on the merry-go-round!)

Then I went about finding myself a Bowen technique therapy practitioner, I sought out an old friend who was a hypnotherapist, a Reiki therapist and stocked up again on natural remedies to replace the expensive pharmaceuticals I had left behind.

It only took three or four months to start seeing any improvement and the benefits were staggering, without the pharmaceutical haze, the side-effects, the patronising doctors who knew nothing of my condition, the endless visits to hospitals and specialists who played hot potato with me and the persistent agonising over a completely patient apathetic health service I finally made progress in all areas (and I mean all areas in a holistic sense.)

Now at the end of August I feel like almost a new person. There’s still a way to go and there is no miracle cure for the disability, or for my fibromyalgia (a result of the posts traumatic stress from being fucked about by the National Health Service) but I don’t need those ridiculous medications anymore and I don’t need to play their stupid games any more…

Surely that in itself is a victory for common sense and proof that the modern pharmaceutical game paralyses patients and keeps them on mental ice for years on end and is a cruel and vindictive game played out for profit of the multinational pharmaceutical corporations and their political agenda!

So how did we manage before social sites, we read a book or had a real conversation with another ‘live’ fellow human being!!

 

Amen

 

(In the spirit of the late great Bill Hicks I declare this rant officially closed – God bless!)

 

 

More words….

The Spiritwalker's Astral View

A dream feared fallen ruined & silent for years,

Lost between so many invisible days & places,

As the dream draws it’s breath again & tears roll slowly,

Bearing memories faint with precious desired moments,

Suddenly a dreamer shudders shaking & spluttering back to life,

Courage of true self once treasured appears rears forwards,

Gentle waterings that wash doubt clean from your imagination,

New hope takes a second breath & with it all numbness fades quick,

Sureness with finality appear in to the arena of the normal senses,

Years of imagination turn to hope with apprehension replaced by love,

The world turns once again & the dreamer senses all is as real as the night,

New day & clean hope rolls forth & part regrets disparate like a forgotten dream. . .

View original post

Excerpt 1 rebloggered…

Post Concussion Syndrome Awareness UK & Worldwide

I often Used to wake up covered in little bruises & cuts down my side, legs & arms, but never because of a heavy night out, or debauchery! No, this was another matter completely.
Unsought intoxication of my sanity by rogue forces of a horrific nature. Unwelcome & heavy shifting thoughts which I still dread to remember, yet fail to put aside…

Black Hole disease. Right brain exhausted, over fried left & logic-less oblivion a certainty. Welcome to 3:20AM madness, as regular as a chronometer, with missing chapters & fragments of remembrance not supplied. No refunds given. Thank you very much!
From a practical point of view, my body-clock knows the score OK. It chimes with all the regularity I need to keep me at my premium requirement of three hours & forty minutes slumber in those close quiet hours each night.
Reviewing matters now, in hindsight I analyze &…

View original post 821 more words

Excerpts From PCS Fiction (Number Two…)

The better moments are after dark, safe from the creeping daylight which exposes all the ugly facets of this my shrinking private world. Paled by lack of sun I sink in a bath of overwhelming pharmaceutical comforts. Soap operas, trivia, movies and medication daily. Making believe that I can live again in normality like so many millions of others I imagine, as I conclude that I am therefore as terminally screwed as they must be by this spoon-fed, poisonous modern diet.

But no! Something is different; really it must be? I am half-awake to what a fucked up truth there is in this whole mess, I am a dirty little one in four media statistic that gets sneered at daily by healthy newspaper egotists.

Exhausted hordes of dreaming Anglo-Saxons and their offspring squinting at the corners of their living rooms between 7 PM and 11 PM nightly, wanting more, needing to consume to fill the gaping holes, left by a sense of creeping dissatisfaction of a day’s toil and play.

The pressures caused by the daily onslaught of modern news media and marketing, so subtly blast through their consciousness’s like pygmy harpoons! Yes, we live in the age where expectations are king, fail to meet them and be doomed.

 

I’ve done some of my most serious contemplation of the matters which the “black hole” permits at these kinds of hours. Ones of self-destruction, of cleansing myself for good; oh yeah that’s the way, just give up on the reasoning and take a good cold long stare at that other option the one in the kitchen! Will that threat ever become real? Can we do it we now or are we too apathetic enough yet to try?

Have a careful look at the longest and most fiercely jagged ones. Count the vicious little teeth, like a silhouetted spiny mountain range in cold steel pain… Get my point yet? I can take myself away from the scene now, but will it come to the real thing I wonder? A sharp pain cramps in my skull now and the icy chill start shooting across both hemispheres like a midnight desert lightning strike, too fast & crippling for me to respond.

 

Christ it hurts! I fall to my knees and the black handle drops from my cold fingers, it bounces clatters and slides across a black slate tile floor. On my bruised knees now I hold my arms folded high around my skull, elbows waggling around, forcing my head into a merry-go-round of confusion.

Wincing and feeling the rage inside my body’s core boil out from within, ready to seep into my surrounding world and wreak havoc. My chest is blazing with invisible flames of hurt, forcing me into torrent of cold sweat. I finally after several minutes boiling, settle down to rest with my left cheek against the stone cold chill of the slates, not caring now, barely present, but gasping sharply & spasmodically as my torso bucks up and down of its own accord, forcing my head to flap on the ground like a fish thrown out of its tank.

What if she could see me now? What good would it do me anyway, “You are a real worthless case and unworthy candidate son. Why have you not had enough yet eh?”

 

The game is over for now as I crawl up to the kitchen step, pull myself across the doorway, across the prickly carpet and to pine drawer in the room alcove. In here are stored and stashed boxes and blister packets galore. Fetch the lorazepam and codeine, followed by zopiclone in an hour or so, after the winding down, dribbling, panting and rocking the pain away, until I can speak to myself again.

That power is all “black hole” silence, oh yes! A little break from the mental anarchy which my evenings so regularly consist of. Like a meditation of sorts, this tranquillised time is like being pickled in human jar, a mere specimen to behold. I can’t think to describe it any other way. I just am that.

 

How my destiny was seeded this way? Well I need to go back to that day to relive the catalytic events all over again. Version 99.5 I believe in my maligned thinking. I am in the thick of the battle, with no end in sight. I daily beat myself partially with my thoughts now, but it was so very different back then before it all proceeded to drop away at the rate it is now, falling, falling, gone!

 

My career almost gone to pot, but hanging on grimly. Fortune pillaged from my shaking fingers by misfortune. Sanity and remembrance of my basic identity, forget it now. Will to fight, yo-yoing daily.

My one real love? Forced away of course for her own good, but not her scent or her presence, locked in my mind forever while the “black hole” dictates that I must forget even why I walked upstairs or into the kitchen at any given moment.

 

Wake up each day to only recall a sense of how to live and who you’re supposed to be anyway, and I promise you, you will learn the way of the modern warrior. A silent tutelage in mental self-defence as the ravens of big business, authority and other greater beaked vultures circle to peck at your flesh and bones!

I never truly cared or understood too much about equality, or how the living cope with discrimination. Now I’m on a crash course of my own, well you could say that this is my penance and I will eat of it until I vomit my old self out in fits of despair, convulsions and turns which brings forth a new man, one who looks back and understands some or most of what actually happened.

And when I do recover as I believe I am destined to, I may take the world with fresh glowing eyes and a full ripe heart.

 

Occasionally the day’s work into each other with such amazing graceful ease, this I know to be true on the good days, yet they are few now. Even then, like an English summer, the small black clouds can drift out on a whim, and for what reason well I’ll be drenched in agony. Oh yeah, a lack of serotonin production for those wee receptors in the maze of my grey mushy matter! How come I can understand this and not what I did two minutes ago? Well of course Dr DeSouza explains it to me in detail and with patience at every weekly visit.

 

That is my curse all right, wanting simply to understand it. I mentality struggle for hours, days, weeks and eventually years on the same questions. Yet I find with every year added on I sense the relevant questions pertain more new and interesting meanings themselves. This presents fresh, mind-boggling difficulties, until the rubber band in my brain snaps sharply back on itself and I realise suddenly that I have just lost a full afternoon or evening in only a split second.

The “black hole” is my silently moving, unwelcome sensor cutting here and there with invisibly razor-sharp scissors which make no sound.

The Essential Role Of The Neuropsychologist In Managing And Treating PCS (Or Britain vs The Rest Of The World?)

The proper categorisation of PCS is that of a neuropsychological disorder, the trouble with our British view is that PCS is still being tackled as it was in the 19th and 20th centuries as a mental illness, a totally inappropriate categorisation leading to further social stigmatisation of the sufferer, and mistreatment in our own healthcare system.

I will give you an example of this; recently on visiting a mandatory work focused interview, the employment adviser whom conducted the session went through her computer records to check on the data kept regarding my health concerns. When she read these back to me I could see from the information on the screen that it said I had a diagnosis of post concussive illness and that also in addition to this in large capital letters that I was also diagnosed as suffering with DEPRESSION! I was somewhat shocked and amused at this, yet explained to her the problem with its particular wording. Depression is simply one of many symptoms of PCS, as a syndrome. It is one of the more serious aspects yet by no means separate or separable from PCS. (This would be the equivalent of describing a cancer patient as having both cancer and also tumour growth!)

This example is fairly typical of our attitudes here in the UK towards any complex or neurological illness, and whereas our fellow sufferers in other countries will generally be met with more empathy and understanding, mainly due to the prevalence of MTBI in their respective societies. Also in more medically and scientifically developed nations such as the USA there is more will and desire to tackle the issues surrounding head injury, brain injury, etc… Not just from contact sports such as hockey and American football, but because their attitude is one of  actively wanting to tackle the issues of brain injury and PCS in a positive and proactive manner!

 

Here in the UK I am not allowed by the health service to be seen by a neuropsychologist, due to my status. I’m told this is not allowed. Even if I were to make a formal official complaint of our health services refusal to allow me this referral, I would be met with months of possibly years of bureaucratic wrangling before a decision would be made. The system is well equipped to serve the pharmaceutical industry (as this is where it’s big profits lie)

Now there are of course alternative ways to make a recovery from a MTBI, these include a non-heavy drug treatment path, natural and holistic therapeutic treatments for both the psyche and the body and the supplementation of natural medication designed to aid the poor overstressed brain through its period of recovery.

If we take the opinion of one of the world’s leading experts on PCS and MTBI, Michael A. McCrea on the most effective and suitable clinician needed to evaluate and treat MTBI and PCS, then the role of the neuropsychologist is the most important one by far!

 

I quote from his excellent volume “MTBI and PCS – the new evidence base for diagnosis and treatment.” The following, “Historically, the role of the neuropsychologist following MTBI has been restricted to evaluation of cognitive and other complaints and assisting in the differential diagnosis of PCS. There is no question as to the value of a thorough evaluation by an expertly trained neuropsychologist given the complexity in the differential diagnosis of PCS. Objective measurement of subjective cognitive complaints is most crucial documenting and tracking cognitive recovery after MTBI, as well as guiding treatment planning as to the need for any occupational, academic, or other restrictions/accommodations based on the patient’s cognitive functioning during the acute phase after their injury.”

 

McCrea goes on to outline the essential need for a multidisciplinary approach in treating PCS. This is at the opposite end of the scale to what one would hear from an NHS doctor in the UK. Most GPs when asked to display their knowledge of MTBI or PCS will simply have little knowledge beyond that basic treatment of a simple concussion. Therefore, our GP only looks at symptoms, (i.e. depression) to evaluate his MTBI patients, not considering the behaviour of the patient wholly! You can therefore (sadly) expect that after as little as simply one visit to a NHS doctor our PCS sufferer is already on the wrong path, probably one that leads solely to the door of a medical psychiatrist or possibly even a psychologist with absolutely zero experience of neuropsychological disorders. I have nothing against the role of non-medical psychiatry intervening through the early stages of PCS diagnosis; this can be helpful in assessing the severity of any accompanying an underlying depression. However this is not the case it seems and UK patients will undoubtedly be plied primarily with a selection of extremely strong antidepressants, tranquilizers, mood stabilisers and painkillers as a sole alternative to being treated as McCrea recommends by a neuropsychologist. McCrea also make clear the negative effects of medicating PCS which in fact worsen the symptoms & effects, often with dangerous risks to the sufferer!

 

I use the above example of PCS sufferers experience through our UK health system as the typical one. During three or more years of investigation and research I have only encountered four individuals whom had a wholly positive experience through our healthcare system, being referred as they were to neuropsychologists in their respective areas. (See this site’s ‘Personal Stories’ page for a typical picture of UK patient experiences – Personal Stories Of PCS…. )

These four lucky individuals were winners in what is jokingly called (even within the NHS) ‘The postcode lottery’ which refers to a patients geographical pot-luck in getting any treatment at all. Two of the four went on to refer themselves into private treatment and made a good recovery is; i.e. they left the care of the NHS for their own reasons. The other two continued with NHS care and one of them has gone on to make a significant recovery, whereas the other is simply going around and around in ever-increasing and more stressful circles battling her NHS doctors who simply have no idea how to treat a rehabilitate PCS in real terms. That isn’t a lot of people out of the several hundred I have spoken to in that time!

 

Whenever we hear from professionals in our health service in the UK they always repeat the same mantras of excuse and denial “There is no money to treat PCS!”, “There is no treatment available for PCS!”, “There is no evidence that treatments are effective other than drug treatment.”

So on one hand we have different world-class PCS experts, with years of experience and research into treating the condition claiming the neuropsychologist is the best person to treat sufferers of MTBI (and that also multidisciplinary treatment and rehabilitation IS available) and then we have a bunch of very blinkered, overworked, underfunded and supposedly knowledgeable professionals claiming that none of the former is true! Who do you believe?

 

Well I know what I would choose if I had the choice…

Post Concussion Syndrome Awareness UK & Worldwide

Before my initial concussive problems I had virtually no experience with medications or drugs. After only a couple of months I was already sliding into dependence & it was only getting worse. Why did I succumb to that? Well I didn’t have any choice other than to suffer in silence or crash completely, with a house, mortgage & job to maintain I had to make the easy choice. I wish now that things could have been different.

Codeine, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Mirtazipine & all kinds of strong sedatory drugs were available to me, drugs which an addict would have been rubbing their hands at the prospect of receiving! I wasn’t pleased but in the absence of wisdom on this subject I begrudgingly took those little white blister packets of doom & carried on…

The thing that struck me was that there wasn’t any regulation or follow-up to this drug-prescription-more-drug-prescription cycle, it…

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How Can Brain injuries Be Prevented For Children & All Ages…

Unlike most neurological disorders, head injuries can be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued the following safety tips for reducing the risk of suffering a Brain Injury…

  • Wear a seat-belt every time you drive or ride in a car.
  • Buckle your child into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat-belt (depending on the child’s age) every time the child rides in a car.
  • Wear a helmet and make sure your children wear helmets when
  • Keep firearms and bullets stored in a locked cabinet when not in use.
    • riding a bike or motorcycle;
    • playing a contact sport such as ice hockey;
    • using in-line skates or riding a skateboard;
    • batting and running bases in baseball or softball;
    • riding a horse;
    • skiing or snowboarding.

  • Avoid falls by making sure the surface on your child’s playground is made of shock-absorbing material (e.g., hardwood mulch, sand).
    • using a step-stool with a grab bar to reach objects on high shelves;
    • installing handrails on stairways;
    • installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows;
    • using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.

     

PCS, The Bottomless Piggy Bank & Preying Vultures…

One thing which the majority of people who have suffered one or more bad concussions will tell you is that, at some point they lost control of their finances, maybe even ended up in real trouble too! Your memory is squatted in by this invisible guest called ‘Amnesia’ who simply takes all the good, nice & helpful memories & leaves you with the crap stuff to pick up the pieces, including the financial ones.

Within a year of a PCS inducing concussion you can change totally & your life can be altered for you by the fate of this invisible illness. It can be almost impossible to keep control if you are say the main bread-winner in your household, maybe you’re alone & have nobody to stop you getting dragged into a financial black-hole? I know so many people who have suffered a similar fate, many have lost their partners & even friends too because of their changed manner, people fail to comprehend that PCS individuals are in a very dark & frightening world the majority of the time. Who would take advantage of someone in this position? Well, there are many people (vultures even) who will happily use it to their own personal gain, they are in my opinion the lowest of the low in human terms! You may find your acquaintances change with PCS & as judgement in social situations is heavily impaired, it is easy to attract people who will seek to use you for as much as they can squeeze out of you before they discard you completely from their lives.

It’s no mystery how so many follow the same route into debt & trouble after succumbing to PCS, you have time off work, bills go unpaid when you forget, bank charges mount, mortgage payments, credit cards & the worst of all… Overspending (Having a bottomless piggy bank is an illusion of the mind!) This is the big one in my opinion, the one which will force you to take out more than you can afford, spend it & then feel guilty & depressed, your memory slips with money will be your worst enemy! Like someone piling rocks on your chest it makes breathing easily difficult.

Maybe some will go for the legal route to fight for compensation awards, if their accident was possibly down to another’s negligence? That’s another stone weight on the chest for the PCS individual (a big one too!). Maybe you lose your job because you can’t continue to work, or simply your employer finds a way to get rid of you? That’s another stone… Are you still okay?

Interest & charges can rocket in days or weeks, once you make the call to the bank to say you can’t afford payments any more they immediately add-on charges & you may have to deal with collections agents or companies who will hound you all day & night with phone calls. It isn’t something you can ignore & the stress makes matters worse. If you’re not already anxious & depressed then you may not be human!

You get the picture now? A PCS sufferer gets buried under financial pressure & that can be very dangerous indeed. How do you get back up & deal with it all? Well you will need to accept help from someone who has experience of helping in these circumstances. For myself I found a local charitable organisation who were my saviour, they set me a budget, contacted the companies pursuing me for money & arranged special repayment terms. They also gave me peace of mind & good sound advice so that I could actually remove the rocks from my own chest & take a good, long deep breath of relief!

If you’re in your early stages of PCS & you’re reading this then my advice would be to seek out professional help. You may not think that you’re in any danger but it can all slide so very quickly into a mess of debts & trouble, like dominoes it will spread so fast you won’t be able to keep up unless you have a financial champion to back you up. Poor memory & cognitive functions are a recipe for financial trouble & until our governments start accepting the reality of the PCS crisis we aren’t going to get any new laws or legislation to protect PCS sufferers from being scammed, ripped off or hounded by financial institutions. As for the vultures, well they aren’t going to be held accountable any time soon but if like me you believe in the laws of karma, in time they will surely have to balance out for what they’ve done? It takes time but these people who used you, took your money without paying it back or used you for their own personal gain will eventually have to deal with it!

On a positive note, if you have PCS & are worried about how to cope with your finances then check your local community for charities who can help, make a list of financial responsibilities & prioritize it. The first step is admitting to yourself that you need the help, don’t be too proud to ask or you could end up on the money slide!

If you need any help or a pointer in the right direction to get your finances sorted then feel free to contact me through the website or at pcsawarenessuk@gmail.com

Regards

David

Recovering From a Concussion – The Basics…

Practical Tips for recovery:
• Get plenty of sleep at night, and rest during the day.

• Return to your normal activities gradually, not all at once.

• Talk with your family doctor about when you can return to work or school.
Ask about ways to help your employer or teacher understand what has
happened to you.

• Consider talking with your employer about returning to work gradually and
changing your work activities until you recover.

• Avoid activities that could lead to a second concussion, such as
contact sports, until your doctor says that you are well enough to take part
in these activities.

• Ask your family doctor when you can drive a car, ride a bike, or operate
heavy equipment because your ability to react may be slower after a
concussion.

• Take only those medications that your family doctor has approved.

• Don’t drink alcoholic beverages until your family doctor says that you can.
Alcohol and certain drugs may slow your recovery and put you at risk of
further injury.

• If it is harder than usual to remember things, then write them down.

• Be prepared that your recovery pattern will not always be smooth.
At times you may feel that you are slipping backwards. This is normal and
does not mean that you are not recovering.

Rude Moods & PCS Isolation…

How does PCS affect your mood? Why do sufferers become isolated socially? Well these are some of the most vital questions which are not always addressed by healthcare professionals, the mood swings are seen as a techy subject, one which few are willing to discuss or tackle.

I noticed that I lost control over my moods almost immediately, from day one of PCS & that was something which fed my depression & anxiety also. We continue to try justify our changes for some time & its only when others confront us (usually in the most blunt manner) about our change in personality that we start to feel worse. I was going through a time of change & transition after my first MTBIs & I’d recently changed jobs & social circles so I was dealing day-to-day with people who didn’t know the old me!

I recall being invited out to nights out & feeling a heightened sense of self, a rush of high pleasure that was more than I was used to, the people I was now associating with found it very amusing or alluring. I was on a path to misery & anxiety that would lead me down some very dark paths. Also there was nobody to help me. I lost friends, gained associates, some of whom used me in ways that were abusive in a social context. I eventually found myself being the butt of their snide jokes & they would often talk in front of me as if I weren’t there at all! It soon became obvious that my new associates had no intentions of trying to understand my condition, and so my cognitive ‘burps’ were taken out of context too. My judgement was shot, I did things that I would previously never have done & my anxiety & shame cranked up to high levels, so much that I had to subdue them with self medication!

Next I lost my home of 10 years & had to move in with a family member, followed by the unbeknownst onset of Fybromyalgia, this caused many more problems & friction to the point that our relationship started to break down too. Another MTBI followed & my self medication was to kill excruciating pain, this included drinking as often as I could because my painkillers were not enough to block the double pain of PCS & Fybromyalgia. I left & ended up in a nightmare hole of a half way house in a very shady part of town, my house mates were criminals & addicts who I was forced to cohabit with. My anxiety cranked up to inordinate levels & I was close to homelessness.


My social situation was one of total banded isolation, a very short list of sick & unpleasant people who only saw me as fair prey, some used me to extract money, some for amusement & after another visit to A&E I was running out of options. My sofa-surfing days began & if it weren’t for a couple of benevolent & kind people I would have possibly never come back from this darkest period of my life. The people whom I used to associate with had washed their ‘holier-than-me’ hands of me some with horrible parting comments, treating me as a whipping post for their own personal shortcomings. These were educated people but not nice as it turned out, they were obviously in emotional pain of their own & so I cannot bear them any great blame…

Since then I have been more isolated by choice as I started to recover again I had the choice to avoid the vultures, my discernment wasn’t perfect but it improved. My trouble in romantic relationships was even more painful, finding a cure for a repeatedly broken heart has been my one haunting problem. Like I said in my introduction to this site, I lost my soul mate, my twin flame because of my illness, she wasn’t used to being loved & honoured & so she chose to re-tread her previous path to avoid her feelings of guilt, healing herself was too hard for her to bear even as easy as it was. Instead she chose materialism, houses, cars, all the same trappings that she was looking to avoid… It was the final straw for my old life of PCS pain & misery. when she left she promised to return but 2 days later I had my 4th MTBI & she refused to even speak to me because I was in pain that made it hard to connect, she left me with nothing but questions.

In the year since I have experienced more trouble socially & although things got a lot harder I have fought every day & sleepless night against giving into the darkness of rejection, loss, pain & further brain injury.

My message to anyone living with PCS (especially if they are like I was alone) is to be very careful & selective over whom you choose to associate with, pick positive people despite the temptation to throw caution to the wind, join a group or society where you will be able to find acceptance & not ridicule. Be extra careful with your finances & your generosity as many vultures will just take advantage at any opportunity & most of all don’t turn to crutches like drink or drugs, they will only drag you further down like the people whom use them…

PCS, Anxiety & Cold Turkey with Diazepam – A Most Unpleasant Path To Tread…

Okay, so you’ve been on a cocktail of medications for maybe one, two, three years or more. What happens when you realize that your cocktail of prescriptions isn’t really helping you a) move towards recovery b) handle the underlying depression & anxiety or c) feel like a living sentient human being not a zombie from the twilight zone?

This is the time that you take a very long, deep breath & count to ten before deciding that the only way to find out for sure, how you used to be prior to taking your sedating antidepressants, super strength pain killers & tranquilizers. It will most likely be a pretty unsettling ride, lots of old emotions & thoughts of a less than happy nature await after the medications are out of your system. Even then it happens (as I discovered with Diazepam) that certain drugs can cause a significant change in brain function! Yes they will actually set you back & withdrawal can take up to 12 months!

When you first set off on the medication route there is very little information actually given, apart from that little white folded leaflet in every box (the one with a whole A-Z of side effects & warnings), you doctor or GP will not tell you about the depersonalization, the excessive weight gain, water retention, hot & cold sweats, rashes, numb mouth, constipation, lack of drive or focus. No its as simple as handing over the prescription & off you go to the pharmacy, then its out of their hands unless you have a bad reaction, or if the medications don’t work. What I learned is it is essential to do some research before you start taking any drug, the facts & statistics are available along with others experiences (good or bad) on many internet forums or websites.

The conclusions I have come to regarding my own PCS & probably most other sufferers too is that the drugs simply mask one’s symptoms (like plastering over cracked walls), leaving a sense of apparent safety for as long as you continue to take it. The issues of dependence are linked to this very closely & so a drug like Diazepam or Codeine can become a method for coping, even a mechanism of escape (say after a panic attack). There is very little done by our health services to educated people, especially here in the UK where there are NO alternatives to drug treatment of PCS symptoms. I know this from 6 years of experience of MTBI, that there are no other treatments available on our NHS. This leaves the majority of sufferers in a pretty hopeless situation, as most do not have any access to specialist treatment (even a neurologist is a rare advantage here).

I can say from my own path, for the first 4 years of PCS that I had so many different medications that even I struggle to remember them all, some worked for a little while to provide relief, some had bad effects from the start, some left me hospitalized in severe pain & even with broken bones once after a nasty reaction to Tramadol caused a massive fit! I am pretty sure now that the more bad experiences I had with different prescriptions, the more my anxiety & depression increased. I had been told many times by a couple of experts on PCS that medications would undoubtedly make my PCS worse & looking back now, medication-free I can safely say that they were 100% correct. Being Medication free now 6 years after my first MTBI I am now anxiety free & the depression is mild, less frequent & managable.

I had to come off of tranquilizers at the start of this year & my GP said it would be fine, that I would receive close support & like a fool I believed her! The reality was 4 months of an agoraphobic nightmare, days hiding away, not answering the phone or venturing out, sweating out the horrible drug. I felt like I was going crazy, my heart was pounding like a drum half the time, I was in a shocking state, chest pains, all kinds of mild hallucinations, digestive problems & horrendous anxiety! I never received any support as promised by my GP, I was left to eat that cold turkey every day without any pudding!

I did use natural drug-free methods to combat the withdrawals (when I could get out) such as Reiki, Bowen Therapy & Hypnotherapy. The withdrawal symptoms would come in waves, say 4-5 days at a time with a day or so of relief & then start up again. In that time I think most of my friends & family thought I’d gone to live in a mountain top cave or something, and explaining the truth made me feel dirty & ashamed at first. I had little choice but to go through that pain, yet now I can talk & write about it openly as I am free of that dependence on those awful medications.


I want others to know about my story because I am not unique in what I’ve been through, no this is a very common problem, people who shouldn’t be treated solely with drugs ARE being treated without any alternatives. The official NHS line is that “Oh we don’t know anything about PCS, it may not even be real! There are no treatments other than painkillers, tranquilizers & antidepresants!” Of course this is a weak cop-out to avoid the truth & while medication can be a practical short-term aide to recovery, it should not be relied on totally, there should be advisors available to help people make a safe transition from short term treatment to longer, holistic & more natural solutions. After all they worked for me & many others…

The Myths & Facts of Sports Related Concussions…

IDENTIFYING A CONCUSSION

Myth. Professionals agree on the definition of a concussion.
Fact. Vague and inconsistent definitions create confusion and misunderstanding in sports-related concussion research. “The quagmire created by the use of inconsistent, overlapping and poorly defined terminology relating to brain injury research is exacerbated in sport-related research”.

Myth. A more accurate term for concussion is a head injury rather than a brain injury.
Fact. A more accurate term for a concussion is a brain injury rather than a head injury. In the athletic world, the terms concussion, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), mild closed head injury, and mild somatic brain injury are frequently utilized as synonyms. Since the mid-1990s, the use of the term mTBI, rather than mild closed head injury, has been encouraged by professionals and the Brain Injury Association of America, and is often used analogously with the term concussion.

Myth. The term mild concussion reflects the mild impact and effects of a concussion.
Fact. Because diffuse brain injury is assumed to occur when a person sustains a concussion, and no brain affliction should ever be considered minor, the use of the term mild brain injury is inaccurate. Johnson advocated for the use of the term subtle brain injury to describe a minor brain injury because the effects on the brain are difficult for the casual observer to recognize. Additionally, Kieslich reported that “minor head injuries can be a cause and cofactor in the etiology of stroke [in children]” . Given the possibility of death or significant brain damage resulting from an athlete sustaining another brain injury, the notion of a mild concussion is not supported.

Myth. The branch of medicine (epidemiology) which deals with causes, distribution, and control of concussions is always accurate and is easy to locate within the corresponding scientific literature.
Fact. Gathering accurate epidemiological information pertaining to concussions is a challenge due to variables such as: differing definitions for the term mild brain injury, a lack of documentation of its occurrence, under-reporting of injuries by physicians because a large percentage of athletes do not utilize healthcare providers when injured, and an under-reporting of injuries by the athlete.
Myth. Medical doctors are well trained in the area of concussions during medical school.
Fact. Sweeney  cited studies reflecting “suboptimal sports medicine educational
experience” for residents and concluded that sports medicine received minimal focus in the United States when curricula were formulated. The research included a cited survey of 233 recently graduated chief residents that found that approximately 68% reported being less than comfortable managing a concussion sustained by an athlete. Hence, more thorough and accurate concussion education is needed for medical students, physicians-in-training, and physicians.

Myth. MRIs and CAT scans, neurocognitive/neuropsychological paper and pencil tests, and computer scoring tests are sensitive to all symptoms of a sported-related concussion (SRC).
Fact. Much of the current neurocognitive and neuroimaging instrumentation and many evaluation techniques are generally not sensitive enough in assessing and detecting all mild brain injury. This lack of sensitive instrumentation reveals the limitations of a scientific methodology that utilizes concrete, and thus observable, data as the only valid and reliable data for drawing conclusions. Brain injury research has historically focused attention more upon the cognitive dysfunctions than the physical and emotional dysfunctions that occur as the result of a concussion. Lezak noted that the disruptive effects of most brain lesions usually involve all three of these areas of brain functioning. Data need to be collected beyond cognitive consequences to more adequately evaluate all potential areas of dysfunction. Many contemporary neurocognitive approaches utilized for evaluating concussions have presented ongoing concerns. Reitan and Wolfson noted that typical medical assessment methods (i.e., neurology exam, EEG, and brain imaging techniques) utilized in determining adverse effects of mild brain injury are rather gross and insensitive and thus, false conclusions may be derived which report no neurological deficits were sustained.

Myth. Athletes are knowledgeable regarding the symptoms of a concussion.
Fact. Recent research concludes that athletes may not recognize concussion symptoms and, therefore, they may suffer unrecognized sports-related brain injury. This lack of symptom knowledge will interfere with the athletes’ ability to receive a timely healthcare assessment and corresponding appropriate medical care.
Myth. Male athletes and female athletes have the same chance of sustaining a concussion. Fact. A review of gender research suggests that female athletes are more prone to concussions than their male counterparts. Possible explanations for this are that female athletes are more open to report concussion symptoms as compared to their male counterpart and are more prone to sustaining an SRC than their male counterparts due to differences in anatomy and physiology.
Myth. Athletes will typically acknowledge when they have sustained a concussion.
Fact. Concussed athletes may not be cognitively capable of recognizing that they have sustained a concussion. They may not recognize all concussion symptoms and, therefore, may be unaware that they had incurred an SRC in the past. Additionally, SRC literature reveals that athletes tend to under-report mTBI injuries and that there is pressure to minimize sports injuries and play through the pain. Several reasons why an accurate perception of athletically related concussions is difficult to obtain include (a) athletes who sustain a concussion display an extensive number of symptoms from the obvious to the less obvious and subtle; (b) despite the numerous staff connected with athletics, including the team physician, limited knowledge in the area of concussion recognition is pervasive; (c) some players are hesitant to report personal symptoms to avoid medical suspension; and (d) some players minimize their injury because of their existing mindset to play hurt,.

 

CAUSES

Myth. An athlete needs to be hit on the head to sustain a concussion.
Fact. Because concussions can result from head [brain] trauma experienced via collisions, falls, or when a whiplash force is applied to the body, an athlete does not have to sustain a blow to the head for a concussion to occur. A recent study estimated that 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur annually.

Myth. An athlete needs to be unconscious in order to sustain a concussion.
Fact. A concussion may or may not involve loss of consciousness. A common misperception exists regarding the need for unconsciousness to occur before a concussion diagnosis can be given. Approximately only 10% of concussions involve loss of consciousness.

Myth. Injury to the brain only occurs at the initial impact of the concussion.
Fact. Traumatic brain injury may be perceived as a process of initial and possible secondary events. Initial brain injury focuses on the injurious biomechanical force effects related to the impact, while secondary brain injury focuses on subsequent injurious neurochemical and neurometabolic changes occurring within the body that may exist for a significant period of time (i.e., weeks to months) after the initial impact.

Myth. The number of concussions or sub-concussive hits to the head are not important because each concussion and subconcussive hit is short-term and heals easily.
Fact. For most of the 20th century, the medical and sports community viewed a concussion as temporary and an entirely reversible physiological occurrence with no long term adverse effects. Since the 1940s, clinical research and postmortem evidence has existed for supporting the view that neuron damage occurs after a person sustains a concussion, and additionally, repeated “minor injury,” such as a concussion and a subconcussive hit, could result in progressive and cumulative permanent neuron loss and corresponding structural damage to the brain. More recently, concern has been voiced regarding the adverse cumulative effects of subconcussive hits to the head. The estimated number of subconcussive hits to the head occurring during a professional football season is 900 to 1,500 (Allen, 2010). Unfortunately, common football slang such as “ding” and “had his bell rung” reflect perceptions that reinforce the false notion that concussions are not serious.

 

EFFECTS

Myth. There is no relationship between concussions and the later occurrence of depression and neurologic diseases.
Fact. Prior traumatic brain injury has been linked to depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and chronic traumatic encephalophy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative disease that affects the brain and is believed to be caused by repeated head trauma (concussions and subconcussive hits to the head) resulting in large accumulations of proteins that kill cells in regions responsible for mood, emotions, and executive functioning.
Myth. Concussion symptoms do not overlap with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Fact. When individuals are suffering from attention, memory, or other information processing deficits, TBI or mTBI should be considered as possible diagnoses, since these symptoms are all marked manifestations of TBI. Some children and adolescents who had been diagnosed with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were found to be displaying symptoms of acquired traumatic brain injury upon receiving a more comprehensive assessment.

Myth. Concussion symptoms are not similar to the symptoms experienced by persons who are under the influence of alcohol.
Fact. Concussion symptoms mimic numerous symptoms experienced by a person who has ingested too much alcohol. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, slurred speech, short-term and long-term memory deficits, fatigue, hand–eye coordination delays, personality changes, mood swings, gross motor coordination delays, headaches, dizziness, and sleep problems.

Myth. Sports-related concussion impacts cannot be compared to motor vehicle accident impacts.
Fact. Documentation exists within sports research that SRC impacts are comparable to motor vehicle accident-related concussion impacts. For example, the impact speed of a professional boxer’s punches have been measured at 20 mph and the impact speed of a football player’s tackle on a stationary player at 25 mph. A soccer ball’s impact speed has been measured at 70 mph.

 

MANAGEMENT

Myth. After sustaining a concussion, return to play (RTP) standards employ objective, evidence based standards that drive multidisciplinary treatment.
Fact. “The science of concussion is at early stages, and therefore, management and return to play decisions remain largely in the realm of clinical judgment on an individualized basis”. Various authors have raised concern that expert opinion and related clinical judgments may be subject to conflicts of interest. It is imperative, therefore, that accurate, unbiased, and in-depth knowledge of SRCs and related management approaches be gathered from a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who are adequately trained and free from conflicts of interest.

Myth. It is physically safe and healthy for an athlete to RTP after sustaining a concussion even if he or she is still experiencing minor concussion symptoms.
Fact. Sports medicine experts agree that an athlete should not be able to participate in contact sport competition while still experiencing any symptoms of a concussion. Furthermore, these experts concur that athletes should not RTP until concussion symptoms are no longer being experienced both at rest and during physical exertion. More recently, the original concept of rest has been expanded from physical rest to include cognitive rest. The concept of rest should be expanded to include the concept of emotional rest. Emotional rest includes providing the injured athlete with a relaxing and stress free environment during the functional recovery process. It is imperative that the brain adequately rests in all areas in order to heal. Brain rest involves the limiting of emotional,
physical, and cognitive activities. Overloading the brain is, in effect, causing the brain to short circuit. Additional brain injuries may occur as the result of sustaining another concussion after returning to play too early in the functional recovery process. The detrimental effect of the second concussion, referred to as second impact syndrome, places the athlete at further risk of significant brain damage that could result in permanent disability and, in rare instances, death.

Myth. A student-athlete can safely and productively return to the classroom even though he or she is experiencing symptoms related to a concussion.
Fact. Individualized treatment should be employed for student-athletes demonstrating cognitive deficits and emotional and physical needs upon returning to the classroom following a concussion. An interdisciplinary approach should be utilized to design a plan for the returning student’s education. Appropriate educational accommodations and modifications of the classroom setting should be considered. Because fatigue is a common and significant symptom, some suggested accommodations are frequent breaks (i.e., 5 minutes every half hour within a quiet area of the building), a reduced or modified school day and or school week, and provision for a place that offers quiet time. In addition, caution should be employed when encouraging an injured student-athlete to complete school-related tasks during the late afternoon and evening hours since a person with a concussion may become fatigued as the day progresses. It is essential for recovery to provide the student with a serene home environment for enabling cognitive, emotional, and physical rest.

Myth. It is safe to drink alcoholic beverages and use street drugs while functionally recovering from a concussion.
Fact. An athlete should refrain from the use of alcohol while recovering from a concussion because alcohol use may impede the healing process. Furthermore, substance use should be avoided because greater adverse brain changes have been found to occur in brains of patients who experienced both TBI and substance abuse than in patients who experienced only one of these two issues.

 

SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS AND POLICY

Myth. A concussion only affects the individual who sustained it.
Fact. A concussion affects not only the individual who sustained it but also others who are close to the concussed individual. Numerous adverse implications of TBI on the family include risk of suicide, divorce, chronic unemployment, economic stress due to lost earnings, and substance abuse. The family system becomes further impacted as its members also report depression, social isolation, anger, and overall disruption of family relationships.

Infant Head Trauma, Further Evidence…

 

Minor trauma to the head is common in childhood and does not require any medical or surgical treatment. Nevertheless, head injury in infancy and childhood is the single most common cause of death and permanent disability. Measurable deficits occur even after mild to moderate head injury but are markedly greater after severe injury. They include impaired cognition, motor impairments, disruption of attention and information processing, and psychiatric disturbances.

Despite the frequency of the sequelae of head injury in childhood, there is relatively little information about the structural basis of the clinical deficits. The classical literature suggests that the immature brain and its coverings, at a time when it is rapidly acquiring new information, respond differently from the adult brain when subjected to an equivalent amount of mechanical force, whether mediated by contact or inertial loading. However, any discussion about the mechanisms of injury must consider uncertainties about non-accidental injuries sustained in the context of child abuse. For obvious reasons it has been difficult to determine the true epidemiology of non-accidental injury, although child abuse is considered to be the most common cause of head injury in infants younger than 2 years of age and is second only to road traffic accidents as a cause of death in childhood. Recently, Duhaime and colleagues have reported that non-accidental injuries account for nearly 25% of all head-injured children under the age of 2 years admitted to hospital. One specific mechanism of injury involved the child’s head being struck forcefully against a hard surface, the resulting injuries closely mimicking those resulting from a fall from a height, the pathology being a consequence of both impact and large inertial forces.

The first child abuse syndrome to be widely recognized was that of the `battered child’. The term `shaken baby syndrome’ was applied to infants with acute subdural hematoma and subarachnoid haemorrhage, retinal haemorrhages and periostial new bone formation at epiphiseal regions of long bones; it was attributed to the to and fro shaking of a child’s body producing a whiplash motion of the child’s head on the neck. The term `shaken baby syndrome’ has been questioned, evidence suggesting that most of these injured infants have evidence of blunt trauma to the head and that the inertial forces generated by shaking alone were insignificant compared with those caused by impact. These and related studies gave origin to the term the `shaking impact syndrome’ in which it was recognized that, although many of the infants had been shaken as part of their injury, much—if not most—of the brain damage involved the head striking against a surface with sufficient inertial force to cause severe injury and subdural hematoma. Current debate revolves around the question as to whether shaking alone is sufficient to cause injuries observed in infants with the `shaking impact syndrome’. The current belief is that head-injured infants are likely to have undergone shaking followed by sudden inertial injury from impact.

In contrast to the neuropathological studies of traumatic brain injury in adults, the equivalent literature in pediatric head injury is much more limited. However, studies have described particular features that include contusional tears and injury to axons. There were similar findings in the Glasgow cohort of fatal head-injured children, in which detailed studies on 87 children aged between 2 and 15 years identified a range of pathologies remarkably similar to those seen in adults, the only difference being the increased prevalence of diffuse brain swelling. Therefore, given this literature, why is it that there are continuing uncertainties about the nature, the distribution and the pathologies in accidental and non-accidental injury in infants and children? Is there more to be learned from the careful study of cohorts of patients using standardized techniques? The answer is undoubtedly yes, and many of these particular issues are addressed by Geddes and colleagues in this issue. These authors have undertaken a meticulous clinicopathological correlation in 53 cases of non-accidental pediatric head injury.

Thirty-seven of the 53 cases were infants aged 20 days to 9 months with head injury, and 16 were children aged between 13 months and 2 years 6 months. When the data were analysed by median age at head injury, statistically significant patterns of age-related damage emerged. In particular, axonal damage with a distribution characteristic of diffuse axonal injury was found to be unusual in infants, any axonal damage being restricted to the craniocervical junction. But when axonal damage was present in children older than 12 months, the pattern was similar to that of diffuse axonal injury in adults. The most important finding was that the predominant neurohistological abnormality in the cases of non-accidental injury in infants was due to hypoxia and not diffuse axonal injury. Although not commented upon it is not clear if, when interpreting this type of case material, there may be a need to consider the vascular complications of hypoxia and/or raised intracranial pressure.

Identification of different patterns of injury in different age groups has resonance in clinical practice and now provides a reference point for future clinical and neuropathological studies. This work not only provides the basis for the future management of patients, but also serves to remind us of the continuing value of the autopsy and the proper examination of retained organs using modern standardized techniques.

 

 

Why Are Brain injuries more Common In Premature Babies?

Scientists say they are beginning to understand why brain injuries are so common in very premature infants — and they are coming up with strategies to prevent or repair these injuries. The advances could eventually help reduce the number of premature babies who develop cerebral palsy, epilepsy or behavioral disorders such as ADHD, researchers told the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.

Each year more than 60,000 babies are born weighing less than 3.3 pounds. And because of advances in neonatal medicine over the past several decades, most of those babies will survive. But researchers have had less success finding ways to prevent brain damage in these infants. “That means that overall rates of cerebral palsy and other neurodevelopmental disabilities are on the rise,” says David Rowitch, chief of neonatology at the University of California, San Francisco.

The most common cause of brain injury in premature infants is a lack of oxygen in the days and weeks after birth, Rowitch says. The lack of oxygen damages white matter, which provides the “communication highways” that carry messages around the brain and to distant parts of the body, he says. And the babies at greatest risk of this sort of brain damage are those born after as little as six months of gestation, Rowitch says. “Such a baby would weigh about a pound and would fit into the palm of your hand,” he says. “As you can imagine, they’re very fragile and vulnerable to stresses.”

Those stresses often include periods when an infant’s immature lungs are not delivering enough oxygen to the brain, even with help from a mechanical breathing device. This lack of oxygen appears to damage the most common type of white matter, myelin, which acts like an insulator around the nerve fibers that carry messages in the brain and nervous system. Without enough myelin, short circuits can prevent these messages from getting through, Rowitch says.

He initially found evidence of white matter damage by studying brains from premature infants who died. But since then, he’s been able to assess premature infants using a special incubator designed to fit in an MRI scanner. “We’ve been able to now take over 250 babies who are very preterm to the MRI scanner safely to show that this is a feasible way to detect white matter injury early on,” he says. Now the question is how to prevent or repair that sort of injury. Some studies show that it’s important to act right away, says Vittorio Gallo from Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“There is a very critical developmental time window right after birth,” Gallo says. “If development is disturbed during this critical time window then the brain doesn’t catch up.”
Gallo is part of a team of scientists who have shown that it is possible to intervene — at least in mice. One approach involves giving the mice a drug that speeds up production of myelin, he says.

“We do this intervention right after the injury,” he says. “And we found that by targeting specific targets we can recover and regenerate at least part of these cells right after the injury, during that critical developmental time window.” Any drug for people is still years off, Gallo says but other scientists at the meeting say there are promising treatments available now. These include everything from the magnetic stimulation of certain areas of the brain to temporarily lowering the body temperature of premature infants to protect brain tissue.

And if any of the approaches work, the benefits are likely to extend far beyond infants, says Mark Goldberg of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “This white matter injury happens in perinatal brain injury. It happens in multiple sclerosis. It happens in traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. It happens in stroke,” Goldberg says. “So we hope very much that the kind of therapeutic directions that work in one system can be applied directly to another system, another disease.”

 

 

Prevention – The Better Way…

The research is starting to come in; the problem is that results and conclusions bring more questions that should be answered.  Naturally some will look at early evidence and make a 180 degree change on their attitudes about certain things.  We are talking about concussions and the research associated with it.  Unfortunately there is plenty of anecdotal and observational cases that sear into our memory, this perhaps shape our thought process.  Along with that there is gathering evidence that supports some sort of process change in how we handle this particular injury.

The need to make change is upon us, that cannot be debated; what can be debated is how or what the changes should be.  I recently read an article where Micky Collins of UPMC said something to the effect of current concussion concern is like a pendulum that has swung all the way to the other side.  Although the changes in sports and activities has certainly not taken that full swing the other way, the pendulum is on the way.  His feelings, like mine is that there is no evidence to suggest that a full swing to the other side is warranted, rather there needs to be competent and complete understanding of what we are facing.  Rather than making full sweeping changes that would be akin to digging up your backyard to rid your self of a mole; when placing traps and poisons and maybe only having to dig up a small section would fix the problem.


There are definitely things we can do as parents, players, coaches, researchers, doctors and concerned people in general to make a dent in the issue.  If we find that the changes are not working then taking another aggressive step may be necessary.  I guess the reason for the above rant is to reinforce the need for changes, but the right changes.  (As I wrote the last sentence I realized how do we know if the changes are the “right” ones; I guess we don’t but certainly what is happening now needs attention).

One of the small changes that can be made is very obvious to me; limiting head trauma as much as possible while still enjoying the sport and activities we love.  This was reiterated by Dr. Robert Cantu in a piece written by Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel (part of a special series in the Sun Sentinel);

    “It’s risk vs. reward,” said Cantu, a co-director at the center. “I don’t think it’s a risk worth taking if it can lead to CTE. Youngsters shouldn’t make decisions for themselves if they can’t understand the ramification of head trauma. They shouldn’t be subjected to it.”[…]

    “It’s controversial, no question but weekly, I see these kids who have been injured and I see individuals with CTE at an early age,” Cantu said. “I think it calls for more thought and reflection. We have pitch counts for Little League [baseball] players. That’s to prevent a ligament injury that is repairable. But we don’t have hit counts to the head of children playing youth sports and there’s no cure if they develop early signs of CTE. I think we need to rethink how we play sports and the way we look at them.”

Dr. Cantu is once again speaking about his belief that collision sports as they are played should be limited to older individuals, his age cutoff is 14 or freshman year in high school.  Along with the full contact sports he also advocates removing heading from soccer; the reasoning is that less head trauma at a younger age can only benefit brain health down the line.  It is an opinion that I share and advocate as well.


Sports are a necessary part of this world, if for nothing else to provide places where our ever-growing sedentary youth can be physically active and combat the expanding waistlines or for a positive outlet for those that need to be doing something positive with their time.  We as the protectors of our youth and children must make it safe.

If you add taking currently constructed collision sports out for the young with limiting contact through adolescents (like the proposals presented here) we have already created a culture change that will be better for everyone, and guess what it all costs NOTHING.  The only other logical next step to do without radically changing the sporting world in which we live is to get Certified Athletic Trainers at all events that include full collisions.  This last idea not only helps with the concussion issue but it addresses all the injuries that can be associated with sports in general.

The moral of the story is that we do need to make changes for the safety of our youth, however we must make informed decisions not radical processes that would throw the baby out with the bath water.

(via concussion blog)

Miss err, And Missed Diagnosis, The Unhappy Couple…

Mis-diagnosis & missed diagnosis are at a seeming all time high in the UK, as the health services many arms struggle to even communicate a unified message. People’s lives are under threat for many reasons as a result of a lack of cohesion (I have lost friends myself who were abandoned in the system without help!) & the pressure to reform our healthcare is being driven by profiteering non-medical types. So what happens, on any given day to patients? Read on…

A moment comes, like a creeping slow shiver when you hear those words. ‘Mr X we believe that you may be somewhere in the Bi-Polar Spectrum! Your behaviour & symptoms suggest that this is something we can treat with medications & prescriptions, yet we need to investigate further.’ or maybe its Schizophrenia for Miss Y, maybe it’s one of many standard text-book, rigidly doled out labels that comes with the destruction of the self-esteem?

What causes the nightmarish slide, from a normal life with a mortgage, job & maybe a family unit to the loneliness of a Primary Care Trust NHS office Psychiatrists room; or worse the ward of a psychiatric secure hospital? Was it something historical such as an abuse in childhood? Was it our depression from the fact that we couldn’t match up to the ‘TV-Media’ peer pressure view of how we should behave? Maybe it is partly hereditary? Maybe all of these things lead us to being labelled as a mental health patient; a statistic awaiting diagnosis by a system so archaic that it refuses to listen, really listen to the patients concerns but like a knee jerk of textbook reaction reaches for the prescriptions pad & scribbles furiously a note to the pharmacist for several high strength antidepressants, mood-stabilisers, tranquilizers, pain killers etc…

What’s my concern? Well this was me once! Oh yeah from being dissected in just a couple of hours of standard NHS form filling & eyebrow raising from an emotionless Psychiatric Professional I found myself labelled as Bipolar, a Manic Depressive for life; no offer of talking therapy or further investigation apart from blood tests? I, like many others then began taking my daily glut of horse-sized pills of multiple colours to numb my personality & my consciousness into obedience and platitude, to leave me a vegetating shadow in the care of my worried family. They could cope now as my mood was placid yet they could not reach me apart from offering meals and rousing me from medication-ally induced coma usually around lunchtime! I was a cabbage with a misdiagnosis, a depersonalized non person, incapable of work or play or much.

Now this is such a familiar tale countrywide, with labels that are applied so easily & the victims left on waiting lists for months & years often to find that they have a wrong diagnosis completely, yet now the problems are more psychological as a result of wrong medication! I have purposefully used a less serious case as my example but there are many, many more where people will end up dying from the missed diagnosis and from being driven like sheep into a pen that is not convenient to anyone but the system based entirely in ‘Big Pharmaceutical’ backed philosophies which shun totally and completely ALL alternative therapies such as Holistic methods, Reiki, Natural or Herbal treatments & many other therapies that are seen as ‘Hippy nonsense or New Age mumbo-jumbo!’.

Well let me tell you that after my own misdiagnosis I ended up on the streets from the pressure of the system that turned it’s back on me, whilst refusing to discuss my misdiagnosis (for fear of being sued mostly) I had help from holistic Reiki & natural medications which helped me see that I was never a Bipolar sufferer; turns out my symptoms were ALL made by the high strength medications. The Doctors all missed that I had fybromyalgia which I now treat myself naturally & is disappearing like magic!

 

My case is not isolated but widespread beyond belief so much that the majority of homeless will have been through similar, many ending up drugged unnecessarily for months or years until they develop REAL problems. So then, a solution please? The health service opens its mind to alternatives for all & get out of bed with Multi-Billion Dollar drug companies who perpetuate the whole issue of Mis- & Missed diagnosis in the UK.

 

 

PCS & Drug Abuse, Not Just A Teenager’s Problem – The Stats!

Alcohol & Drug Statistics for The UK – Latest figures…

  • Alcohol related deaths are so high in the UK that figures vary from anywhere between 11,000 to 40,000 per year Officially!
  • Roughly 10,000,000 (Ten Million) people in the UK exceed guidelines & drink more than a safe amount of Alcohol.
  • About One in Three adults in the UK is at serious long term risk of Alcohol related Liver Disease.
  • The UK has The highest rates of binge drinking in all of Europe despite national Drink Awareness campaigns.
  • Deaths caused by illegal drugs & prescription drugs are NOT always recorded as being responsible for ‘Cause of Death’ in a large number of cases.
  • Tobacco is estimated to be responsible for 114,000+ deaths in the UK every year, that’s more than alcohol & ALL other Drugs put together!
  • Solvent abuse deaths total around 90 approximately each year, yet it causes widespread damage to health & mental health nonetheless.
  • Deaths from Aids among injecting Heroin users has increased drastically over recent years causing over 1,545 deaths.


 

  • The numbers or statistics of people suffering long term mental health problems from the use of illegal & prescription drugs in the UK is impossible to record, such that it has become a ‘Hidden Epidemic’, especially amongst those in poverty & the homeless.
  • In 4 years the number of Officially recorded deaths caused by NHS prescribed drugs rose by 500% to an official figure of 1,200 per year. The true figure (including non prescribed usage & overdose) is thought to be between 20 to 100 times more than this figure!
  • Deaths from recreational drugs such like Cocaine, Ecstasy & Amphetamines in the UK are estimated at over 1,000 per year at best estimates.

  • NHS patient deaths from maladministration of Medications have exceeded recommended doses by up to 1,000 times the safe prescription limit where patients have been given the WRONG drugs!
  • The NHS is spending approximately £500,000,000 (Half a Billion) a year making better people who experienced an adverse incident or error involving mis-prescribed drugs on the NHS!

 

The Concussion Crisis : Anatomy Of A Silent Epidemic…

Concussions, Trauma, Substance Abuse & Homelessness, written about by David Rosner & Linda Carroll…

Dr. Wayne Gordon specialized in the neuropsychology and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injuries at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Most of the patients he saw were adults, but he began to wonder what might be happening to kids in similar situations. He and his colleagues developed a questionnaire designed to ferret out undiagnosed TBSs and cognitive difficulties in children and took it into New York City schools. The results gave Gordon pause. In one city school, 10 percent of the children said they had sustained a significant head injury. When tested later, these children turned out to have cognitive impairments. With a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, he was able to explore the issue further: surveying children who’d been enrolled in special education classes. He was startled by the result: more than 50% of the learning-disabled children had experienced a sharp jolt to the head.

The typical curriculum in special education classes didn’t help with the deficits associated with traumatic brain injuries. Gordon realized that the best way to help these children was to educated the educators. He gathered up a team of Mount Sinai psychologists and, with federal dollars that had been set aside to fund TBI education, set up a project in 1995 to send them into New York City schools.


They taught teachers to identify the specific signs of TBI and show them strategies to help brain-injured children cope better with the demands of school., helping them to focus their attention, avoid distractions, make lettering on handouts larger and to limit the amount of information presented on a single page so student’s wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Some students were provided with peer note-takers and tape-recorders to help then focus on understanding what was being said. Since brain-injured children tended to become exhausted easily, breaks between tough classes like math and science were scheduled. Students were encouraged to visit a special resource room before and after school so teachers could make sure to make sure they had the right assignments or to loan them materials they might have forgotten to bring to school. Since TBIs often lead to slow mental processing the kids were given more time for tests and reduced homework levels. Students were given more time to formulate questions in class. Students were encouraged to create day-planners and color-code their folders and notebooks. They were allowed to use calculators since it is so difficult for TBI kinds to memorized multiplication tables. Over the five years that then program was in effect, the psychologists from Mount Sinai worked with more than four hundred children. Funding petered out in 2001 and no one else stepped up to keep the TBI program going.

The experience with “hidden” TBIs in the school system led Dr. Gordon to suspect that other people might be getting off track because of unrecognized brain damage. A 2000 study showed that people with a head injury were at higher risk for depression as well as alcohol and drug abuse, Gordon and his colleagues decided to look at the prevalence of TBI in New York State substance abuse programs. The researchers interviewed more than eight hundred patients and found that 54 percent had a history of head injuries. Forty percent of those with a history of head trauma had symptoms indicative of post-concussion syndrome. Further, those with head injuries turned out to have more mental illness and to be more prone to recidivism and treatment failure. “That suggests to me that these folks need a different treatment program,” says Gordon. “You can’t expect people with learning and memory problems to learn at the same pace as everyone else. If you see a thirty-day program doesn’t work, that may mean that these people need sixty or ninety. Maybe they need structured environments to live in, too.” Also, Gordon rightly concluded, early intervention could prevent damage down the line. “If (these kids) had been picked up and identified and treated as folks with TBI upon that first injury, they might have gotten the services they needed to prevent them from going down the path to substance abuse.”
Later, Gordon and his colleagues tested one hundred homeless persons for signs of brain injury. Nearly 70 percent had deficits in memory, language, or attention- all indicative of a possible brain injury. 2 percent reported a significant jolt to the head before they became homeless, often the result of abuse by a parent. Many of these people might be in a very different place in life had their brain injuries been been recognized as serious, had they received treatment. While the solution seems simple – get patients diagnosed quickly and then give them whatever rehab is necessary – it doesn’t translate into reality so easily.

(Via Johnshaplin)

Post Concussion Syndrome & The Unscrupulous Employer, A Cautionary Tale of PCS in The UK…

Anyone who has been unlucky enough to suffer a head injury & then PCS will probably be able to tell you about trouble at work. From bosses who don’t understand or care to those who try to understand yet fail miserably, it is one of the worst minefields on the front battle of the individual’s war for correct treatment.

Invisible illness will always be a bugbear for companies in the UK as our culture doesn’t readily recognize the sufferer’s plight. Many negative media stories appear about the few cheats who play the benefits system, taking monies which they aren’t entitled to & allowing tabloid rags to tar all sufferers with the same brush. We see that people are easily ‘wound-up’ by such emotive issues & the attitudes that prevail lead to further persecution & misunderstanding.

I’m not just taking about the average man or woman in the street who repeats what they’ve seen on TV or read in the daily ‘scandal-mag’ & easily parrots the media view into a safe, black & white opinion of all invisible illness; no this is something grained into the very fabric of our society & public services, including health services where I & others have experienced some of the most disturbing & obtuse attitudes.

So we have the situation, you’re back at work after a couple of weeks off, maybe longer or more frequent absences have labelled you as a ‘regular absentee’ or a ‘troublemaker’ to your supervisor or bosses. Now you probably don’t have the knowledge or language to be able to explain to your boss, colleagues or anyone for that matter about your PCS. You’re expected to carry out a responsible role, maybe involving careful attention or accurate calculations in order to maintain your position. What do you do? Get a doctor’s letter? Who do you call for help?

Well I can say from my own experience that by this stage your card is well & truly marked UK employment law is so flimsy that the grey areas don’t even touch around the edges of this scenario! Due to your reduced cognitive function & poor concentration it will be hard to navigate the situation to your advantage, even if you are a union member they can’t really claim to know what you’re going through either. You are sailing alone & under fire!

I’ll tell you my own story, what happened to me back in 2006-2007; I was working in a role for a well-known high street mortgage provider, one which has just recently hit the news again for yet another fraud/fixing scandal. At the time I was new to the job & was unaware of the chequered record of said bank, they sold themselves as professional & benevolent but as I soon learned the opposite was the truth. My role was a fairly complicated one which involved lots of inter-woven financial calculation, computer input & telephone work. I’d trained elsewhere to do this job & as it was a wage for me at a difficult time I made the difficult choice to keep working despite everything.

I was good at my job & competent enough before my MTBI, yet afterwards I struggled daily with pain, poor focus, memory trouble & headaches, compounded by staring at a computer screen all day under artificial lighting. Sometimes I felt like a battery hen under a hot bulb, struggling just to stay upright. The PCS had affected my work rate & people were starting to notice my change, several informal ‘chats’ were had where I was reminded of my responsibilities & as time went on things came to breaking point…

My GP wrote a letter to my employer which stated that I had a diagnosis of PCS & that my condition should be taken into account with my work. This didn’t make any difference to my team boss, an inhumane character who revelled in ripping people to pieces for the fun of it. I had more time off due to the stress of the situation, being bullied despite my illness & that put another nail in my coffin. I asked to move teams in the office & eventually it was agreed.

 I had booked a holiday for the New Year period & when I returned I struggled so much that my symptoms buried me & even moving my position to another, more sympathetic boss I was unable to carry on doing the same job at all! The trouble came as I had a meeting with my new boss & his boss, whereby we all mutually agreed that I would temporarily move to an administration role, on a lower wage until I’d had the chance to recover from my MTBI. This seemed like a good deal but sadly I was being set-up in order to get rid of me when the time was right!

I went into the junior’s office, stamping letters, opening mail & making tea for the staff & bosses there. I had to commute to work each day by bus, a 28 mile round-trip which in itself took its toll. More than that I now had to start at 7:30AM each morning to suit the office hours. For months I carried on doing the same mind-numbing stamping & sorting of hundreds of letters every day, hoping for recovery & the chance for my medications to kick-in & provide me some relief. I worked damned hard, worked extra without pay everyday & yet was still treated with no respect by even more foul-mannered, hypocritical bosses who not only hated their jobs, but despised the enthusiastic young people who work beneath them!

About 5 months passed & I was making my recovery work, I asked to see my new bosses about my future. I told them about my agreement to return to my full role once I was feeling better, they said okay, to leave it with them & it would be looked into…

I waited two weeks before I decided to ask again about my future, they kept avoiding me, ducking my gaze & I felt that things weren’t as they should be. I was eventually pulled into a meeting & told that if I wanted my old role back (as agreed) that I would have to reapply as if an outsider applying for the first time, go through the same training & exams all over again! I protested that this wasn’t agreed, but of course the bosses I had made the agreements with had conveniently moved locations & were unavailable to comment! I’d been screwed basically.

Well I had little choice but to keep my head down, carry on as I was struggling financially. I felt betrayed & was sure that like so many other employees, I would be dispensed with simply because I had an illness, i.e. I was no longer any use to this corporate machine, an unfortunate human casualty. I did not answer the challenge put to me or say a word thereafter; instead I tried to hold it together & tried to get some employment advice. This was a dead-end as I had barely a leg to stand on under UK law!

So the outcome was that I was clinging on by my fingernails, I knew I probably didn’t have long. They waited until my birthday to do it; I was tag teamed by two of the bosses they took me into a meeting & produced a fictional list of mistakes, misdemeanours & basically whatever flimsy lies they could compile in order to ensure I would be suspended without any choice in the matter!

I went home, marched out of that awful place like a criminal, unable to say goodbye to my work friends & that was that! My depression at this point was savage, as I would surely now lose my home of ten years & be out of work for the first time in my life. The worst part was that nobody could help me fight this multi-national corporate beast & my word counted for nothing, I had no fight left anyway so after 11 days I was then forced to accept my fate. The cruelest part was yet to come, I was owed 6 weeks wages at that point which I had worked for yet they refused to pay me, even refused to discuss the matter. I was instructed to write a letter requesting my owed salary by a legal advisor but this was only met with nonsense responses from the same people who had burned me at the stake. They had beaten me down & won!

That is what happens here, we accept that unless you’re wealthy enough to afford a good solicitor, then you can forget any access to those golden employment laws that exist solely to serve the better-off few. The system here is outdated & big companies will always trample all over anyone who no longer benefits them as they ignore any ethical or moral responsibility.

The bank in question, as I said is well-known now for its corruption & bad practice, it’s the royal family’s bank, having recently been fined by US & UK governments for fixing interest rates, as well as funding bombs for dictators, genocide in Zimbabwe and Darfur & betting against food prices, therefore keeping over 50,000,000 people worldwide in food poverty. They have a blue eagle as their logo, I’m sure you’ve worked it out by now? Well it was an important lesson for me & an expensive one too as the 6 weeks wages they stole from me led to me falling behind with my mortgage payments & then losing my home later that year!

The moral of the story is that unless you work for a humane boss or one who is willing to work with you (not against you)  then you’re going to need legal advice, a union may help sometimes, plenty of money & support from some good friends & family before you can avoid losing more than you hoped to lose! That’s Great Britain folks….

 

Growing Concussion Risks Highlighted In Girl’s Soccer…

Today’s article tells of Fifteen-year-old Allison Kasacavage, once a rising soccer star in Pennsylvania, who is slowly recovering after suffering debilitating concussions while playing the game she loved.It’s almost like I need a sign on my back saying, ‘My head is broken.’ And you can’t see it. It’s like not visible and it’s like not many people understand, “said Allison in an interview. Allison, who lives with her family in Chester Springs, Pa., has had at least five concussions.  She is only able to attend school four hours a day.  Her room is lit with soft blue light to ease her headaches and her family now eats dinner by candlelight. She is one of hundreds of girls across America each year who suffer concussions while playing soccer.

“People who think of concussions as only being present mostly in guys and mostly in the sport of football are just plain wrong,” said Dr. Bob Cantu, who is chairman of the surgery division and the director of sports medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass. “Soccer is right at the top of the list for girls.” With the steady popularity of youth soccer, more girls are playing the game than ever before.  Girls make up 48 percent of the more than 3 million kids registered in US Youth Soccer leagues.

Cantu said that the country is in the midst of “a concussion crisis” and that studies show girls are reporting nearly twice as many concussions as boys in the sports they both play. ‘Concussion Crisis’ impacting girls’ soccer. The number of girls suffering concussions in soccer accounts for the second largest amount of all concussions reported by young athletes, according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine.  (Football tops the list.)

“What’s happening in this country is an epidemic of concussions, number one, and the realization that many of these individuals are going to go on to post-concussion syndrome, which can alter their ability to function at a high level for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Cantu said. Allison still remembers when she suffered her first serious concussion in October 2008.  It came when she collided with another player on the field.

“When I like got up, my head was like pounding,” Allison said. “There was, like, a pulse in my head. It was like the strangest thing.  There was a heartbeat in my head and I had no idea what it was and why it was there.  I have never felt that before and I was just so confused,” she said. After Allison had apparently healed from the concussion, she returned to soccer.  She’d been a star player since she was six years old, working her way up to one of the top teams in Pennsylvania.  She said that her identity had been wrapped up in the game and she felt pressure to please her coaches.

Allison said that she was nervous about heading the ball, but continued to do it. “If you didn’t head the ball, you were like the weakest link,” Allison said. When heading, players attempt to use their foreheads to direct the ball, often jumping with opposing players, a move that can lead to collisions between players, bumped heads and strained necks.  Dr. Cantu says that the act of heading is one of the most dangerous parts of soccer because players often collide.

Allison suffered a third concussion in her final season of soccer and another two off the field, the latter because her spatial awareness had been impacted from her previous concussions and she hit her head on a table and other furniture, her mother said. Her parents said that they knew about the danger of concussions in sports like football, but it wasn’t until Allison had her first serious head injury that they realized what a big problem concussions can be in soccer.

“I think that we were blind to what was going on around us because, yes, it was about the team.  It was about the winning. It was about all the, it was almost like a routine of, like I said, an awful lot of practices and you just went through it and really your lives rolled by with soccer being the most important thing,” said Lex Kasacavage, Allison’s father.

Sports psychologist Richard Ginsburg says that enthusiasm for the game and the kids by parents and coaches, while well-meaning, might be making the concussion crisis worse. “We get wrapped up,” said Ginsburg, the author of ‘Whose Game is it Anyway?’  “We want success for them and so sometimes we get, we lose perspective.  It doesn’t make us terrible people. It just makes us human. “

Kimmie Zeffert

In Allison’s town of Chester Springs, about 30 miles from downtown Philadelphia, she is not alone.  She has bonded with at least five other 14 and 15-year-old girls who have suffered concussions while playing soccer. “My main friends are actually people that have head injuries,” said one of the teens, Kimmie Zeffert, 14.  “I’ve become so close with them because I can relate to them.  They understand what I’m going through.” Kimmie had her first concussion when she was 12.

“I took another head ball and then I don’t even remember,” she said. “The next thing is I got, apparently, got elbowed in the back of the head. But (when) the coach asked me if I wanted to come out, I was like, ‘No, I’m going, I’m going to stick it through.” Those hits — heading the ball and being elbowed by a player in the head — ended her soccer career.

Kimmie’s teammate Jenna Rohr made the same choice to continue playing in her game after getting hit in the head. “I didn’t want to quit,” she said. “I didn’t want to let my team down because, like, so many people already had concussions on the team.”. Both Jenna and Kimmie have been unable to make it through a full day of school for almost two years.  They still suffer from intense headaches, dizziness, nausea and vision problems.

Along with their physical ailments, several of the girls NBC News spoke to have struggled with depression since leaving soccer. Some have taken anti-depressants. One teen soccer player, who is returning to the sport after suffering a concussion, said that she felt so terrible at one point that she even thought about suicide.

Despite their experiences, the teens still love soccer and say they don’t discourage their former teammates from the sport. “I think like speaking for all of us, like we would do anything to just be able to play one more game,” Jenna said. Should heading be banned from girls’ soccer? Dr. Cantu has made the bold proposal that heading be eliminated from youth soccer under the age of 14.  He said girls, because of their anatomy, may be especially vulnerable to concussions.

“Girls as a group have far weaker necks,” Cantu said.  “The same force delivered to a girl’s head spins the head much more because of the weak neck than it does the guys.” New research suggests some body types may be more at risk than others. “We believe that individuals with very long, thin necks may be at greater risk,” Cantu said. With this evidence, Cantu said, “I would hope it would not only make parents look at their daughters, but make every one of those parents insist their daughters are on a neck strengthening program if they’re playing a collision sport.”

Brandi Chastain, the Olympian who helped the United States win a World Cup, strongly disagrees with Cantu’s proposal to eliminate heading from girls’ soccer. “It’s a part of the game and I think it’s an important part and I think it’s a beautiful part of the game, to be honest with you,” she said.  “I would never want to see that go away, but there’s a right way to do it. There’s a protective way to do it.”

Chastain said that girls need to be taught to create protective space around their bodies.  She says heading isn’t dangerous if it’s done correctly. “I circle back to education and preparation and I put that on parents and coaches because the kids don’t know any better,” Chastain added. “You know, they just want to go out there and play, but if we can educate them in a fun environment that’s safe, that teaches them the skill and gives them the confidence to try it and then they can put it into practice in the game.”

Back in Pennsylvania, the girls and their families are trying to educate people based on their own experiences.  Despite their concussions, though, they say they don’t want to discourage girls from playing soccer. “Please don’t go and not play soccer because it’s such a great opportunity for the girls to just prove themselves and challenge themselves and make friends and travel,” said Wendy Zeffert, mother of Kimmie.  “But be aware.”  –  (Via NBC news)

Dr Mike Evans Shares Information On Concussions for Parents & Kids…

The symptoms of a concussion can be tough for kids to recognize..
Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.

This is the kind of public information which should be available for kids the world over, we know they will respond to this rather than some serious looking medical professional in a white coat! Enjoy   :)

 

If you enjoyed this type of informational health aide check out this current article about how the creator is delivering better health messages

Dr Mike Evans on Delivering Better Health Articles Through Animation….

 

 

P.C.S in Teenagers – A Major Cause of the Blues. Depression Overview…

It is sometimes difficult to differentiate the signs and symptoms of depression from the occasional bad mood, acting out, and negative attitude that most adolescents experience at some point. It is not uncommon for the transition from childhood to adulthood to include conflict and anger as the teen tries to adjust to their changing body and role among family and friends. The primary difference between “normal” adolescent behavior disruptions and depression is that depression leads to a significant change in mood that lasts for at least two weeks and includes some associated symptoms (see below). If a parent is unsure whether their teen is depressed, they should err on the side caution and ask the child’s healthcare professional for advice.

A depressed or irritable mood may be the most common symptom of depression, although depression can cause other psychological and physical symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no single sign or symptom that serves as a marker for depression, which can make depression hard to identify. In fact, many people are not aware that depression can cause physical symptoms such as aches and pains or appetite and sleep changes.

A typical major depressive episode lasts an average of seven to nine months; 90 percent of adolescents with depression improve within two years. Unfortunately, relapse is common; the probability of recurrence is 40 percent by two years and 70 percent by five years.

The three distinct types of depression (major depression, dysthymia, and depressive disorder not otherwise specified) will be discussed here.

Major depression — Major depression is the medical term for depression that includes at least five of the symptoms listed below. A person can have mild, moderate, or severe major depression.

  • Depressed or irritable mood for most of the day nearly every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Talking or moving more slowly or quickly than normal
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

One of first two symptoms must be present to diagnose depression: the adolescent must have either a depressed/irritable mood or loss of interest or pleasure for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks. In addition, four or more of the other symptoms must also be present during the same period.

Other potential causes of depressive symptoms (eg, drug abuse or medications), medical conditions (eg, hypothyroidism), and grief (eg, due to death of friend or family member) must be excluded as causes (see ‘Related conditions’ below).

Depressed mood — The definition of a “depressed mood” in adolescents is somewhat different than depressed mood in an adult. Many adolescents describe feeling down, sad, or blue much of the time. In adolescents, irritability may be a better indicator of depression.

Signs of irritability include feeling “annoyed” or “bothered” by everything and everyone. Rather than expressing sadness, the depressed adolescent may be moody, negative, and argumentative, picking fights as a means to express his or her emotional distress. He or she often is unable to tolerate frustration and responds to minor provocations with angry outbursts.

Other characteristics of depressed mood in adolescents include:

  • Finding others uncaring
  • Brooding about real or potentially unpleasant circumstances
  • A gloomy or hopeless outlook
  • Belief that everything is “unfair”
  • Feelings that they disappoint parents or teachers

Diminished interest or pleasure — Adolescents experience diminished interest by feeling that events, hobbies, interests, or people are less interesting or fun than they used to be. They may use terms like “boring,” “stupid,” or “uninteresting.” They may withdraw from or lose interest in friends. If they are sexually active, they may have decreased libido or interest in sex.

Change in appetite or weight — Appetite changes and weight loss are common in people with depression, although this may be less common in depressed adolescents than in depressed adults.

Changes in sleep — Sleep disturbance is common in depressed adolescents; complaints may include not feeling rested after sleeping or having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. A depressed adolescent may have difficulty falling or staying asleep, may sleep excessively during the day or night, or may sleep at odd hours.

Slowed or rapid movement — Talking or moving more slowly or quickly than normal is common in depressed youth; the medical term for this is psychomotor retardation or agitation. Adolescents can have alternating periods of retardation and agitation within a single episode of depression.

  • Psychomotor retardation (slowing) is defined an abnormal slowing of movement. It is directly related to brain activity and causes the person to appears as if he or she is moving in slow motion; the feeling of being slowed down is not psychomotor retardation.
  • Psychomotor agitation may cause trouble sitting still, pacing, hand wringing, pulling at or rubbing clothes, tantrums, yelling, shouting, or non-stop talking.

Fatigue or loss of energy — A depressed adolescent may report feeling tired all the time, exhausted, listless, and without energy or motivation. He or she may feel the need to rest during the day, experience heaviness in their arms or legs, or feel like it is hard to get going much of the time. Parents can sometimes misinterpret this behavior as laziness, a bad attitude, or a desire to avoid responsibilities. Alternatively, some parents are concerned that the adolescent is medically ill.

Feelings of worthlessness or guilt — Many depressed adolescents have feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, failure, or worthlessness. One or more of the following may be present:

  • Reluctance to try to do things (fear of failure)
  • Excessively self-critical assessment of accomplishments
  • Difficulty identifying positive self attributes
  • Desire to change several aspects of themselves
  • An “I don’t care” attitude to avoid feelings of insecurity
  • Compulsive lying about success or skills to bolster self-esteem
  • Envy or preoccupation with the success of others
  • Marked self-reproach or guilt for events that are not their fault
  • Belief that they deserve to be punished for things that are not their fault

Impaired concentration, indecisiveness — Depressed adolescents usually have problems with attention and concentration that were not present to the same degree before the episode of depression. Their thinking and processing of information may be slowed. In addition, they are indecisive, which may cause procrastination, helplessness, or inability to take action. They take longer to complete homework and class work than before the depressive episode; school performance may decline. It may be necessary to obtain information from the school to determine if this problem is present.

Recurring thoughts of death or suicide — Some depressed adolescents experience recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of death) or suicide or even attempt suicide. Morbid thoughts are common in depressed teens and manifest as:

  • Thoughts that life is not worth living
  • Thoughts that others would be better off if they were dead
  • Preoccupation with music and literature that has morbid themes

Dysthymia — Dysthymia is a less intense but more persistent condition than major depression. Dysthymia is usually diagnosed when a person has a depressed or irritable mood for at least one year and has at least two other symptoms of depression. The most common symptoms of dysthymia include changes in appetite and/or sleep, fatigue, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and feelings of hopelessness.

The Hidden Epidemic Reveals Its Impact On Society…

Post Concussion Syndrome and Society

1. The MilitaryConcussion Hospital from School

  • Brain injury (almost always including a concussion) is the signature injury of the Mid-East conflicts.
  • Only the Illinois National Guard tests returning Vets for PCS and PTSD with brain scans.
  • The V. A. has opened 14 additional health centers to accommodate the Vets with PCS and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.
  • Improved battlefield medical techniques have resulted in a larger number of wounded returning from war.  Typically, their visible wounds draw more attention than the invisible damage to the brain.

2. Education & Schools

  • Schoolboy with PCSOne third of all high school students will receive a concussion during their four years of school.
  • Many students experience low test scores combined with an inability to learn, about one third of student bodies are chronic underachievers.
  • Drop outs – Interestingly, one third of all high school students drop out of school, typically citing the symptoms of PCS as the reason.
  • In high schools the activities with the highest incidence of concussion are: (in order) cheerleading, girl’s soccer, hockey, boy’s soccer, football, and water polo.

3. Substance Abuse

  • PCS and Substance AbusePeople with PCS seek brain stimulation and/or self-medication to counteract the pain of anxiety and depression.
  • Meth-amphetamine and cocaine are the drugs of choice.
    • According to an Olympic medalist, nearly all of the world class tower divers use cocaine due to multiple concussions during training.

4. Family Life

  • Parental disappointment issues over grades and behaviors are compounded by the reactions of teens who are unable to react normally due to PCS.
  • Negative behavior not properly diagnosed leads to feelings of rejection and alienation.

5. Depression and Suicide

  • PCS and DepressionTwo million adolescents attempt suicide each year.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents.
  • 100 attempts for every death by suicide.
  • 700,000 adolescents receive medical attention following suicide attempts.
  • 12% of adolescents suffer depression at any given time.
  • Only one in five of these ever receives mental health treatment.

A Diabetes Drug Has The Power To Help Brain Cells Grow!

Diabetes Drug Makes Brain Cells Grow

ScienceDaily (July 5, 2012) — The widely used diabetes drug metformin comes with a rather unexpected and alluring side effect: it encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain. The study reported in the July 6th issue of Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press publication, also finds that those neural effects of the drug also make mice smarter. The discovery is an important step toward therapies that aim to repair the brain not by introducing new stem cells but rather by spurring those that are already present into action, says the study’s lead author Freda Miller of the University of Toronto-affiliated Hospital for Sick Children. The fact that it’s a drug that is so widely used and so safe makes the news all that much better.

Earlier work by Miller’s team highlighted a pathway known as aPKC-CBP for its essential role in telling neural stem cells where and when to differentiate into mature neurons. As it happened, others had found before them that the same pathway is important for the metabolic effects of the drug metformin, but in liver cells.

“We put two and two together,” Miller says. If metformin activates the CBP pathway in the liver, they thought, maybe it could also do that in neural stem cells of the brain to encourage brain repair.

The new evidence lends support to that promising idea in both mouse brains and human cells. Mice taking metformin not only showed an increase in the birth of new neurons, but they were also better able to learn the location of a hidden platform in a standard maze test of spatial learning.

While it remains to be seen whether the very popular diabetes drug might already be serving as a brain booster for those who are now taking it, there are already some early hints that it may have cognitive benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease. It had been thought those improvements were the result of better diabetes control, Miller says, but it now appears that metformin may improve Alzheimer’s symptoms by enhancing brain repair. Miller says they now hope to test whether metformin might help repair the brains of those who have suffered brain injury due to trauma or radiation therapies for cancer.

Dependence & Prescription Medications

Before my initial concussive problems I had virtually no experience with medications or drugs. After only a couple of months I was already sliding into dependence & it was only getting worse. Why did I succumb to that? Well I didn’t have any choice other than to suffer in silence or crash completely, with a house, mortgage & job to maintain I had to make the easy choice. I wish now that things could have been different.

Codeine, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Mirtazipine & all kinds of strong sedatory drugs were available to me, drugs which an addict would have been rubbing their hands at the prospect of receiving! I wasn’t pleased but in the absence of wisdom on this subject I begrudgingly took those little white blister packets of doom & carried on…

The thing that struck me was that there wasn’t any regulation or follow-up to this drug-prescription-more-drug-prescription cycle, it just went on like getting on a roundabout & not being able to get off again. I know now that it is all about profits for Pfizer, Glaxo & all the other 100 or so multi-national Pharma companies. They shower GPs with free meals out, brief cases, holidays & all manner of special gifts for hawking any particular brand of medications & that is the deal folks!

 

 

Well it took me 4 years to realize that I didn’t actually need tranquilisers to calm down or goto sleep when I was stressed but then I got hooked just like any other dependent person does, now the mist has cleared & I find that so many are getting drawn into the same trap. Okay some need medication but the problem begins when actual care fails. Long waiting lists are a reality in the UK so we have this culture of accepting what little alternatives we are offered in the short term. Most of us cannot afford private treatment, so it could be a social/class situation more than anything else.

Check out our therapies & remedies section on this site for some safer alternatives & don’t forget, your Dr doesn’t always know as much as you think about your condition so always question each prescription!

 

 

The Trouble With Teenage Concussions…

Teenagers who suffer a concussion are more sensitive than adults or children to its aftereffects, Canadian researchers report. Concussions can affect short-term memory in adolescents, which is essential for reading and calculating, and those effects can last for six months or longer, the study authors found.

“Contrary to the belief by some parents and coaches that children can play through a concussion because their brains are more resilient, we find that children are more vulnerable to the effects of a brain injury than adults,” said lead researcher Dave Ellemberg, a neuropsychologist at the University of Montreal. And, teenagers suffer greater symptoms than either children or adults, he added.

“It’s not that surprising,” Ellemberg noted. “We know the adolescent’s brain, more specifically the areas affected by the concussion, the frontal lobe areas of the brain, are growing in spurts and when something is developing rapidly it is even more fragile to injury.” The report was published February 28 in the journal Brain Injury.

To come to its conclusions, Ellemberg’s team worked with 96 male athletes who had suffered a concussion three to nine months before testing. The athletes were divided into three groups: adults (30), kids aged nine to 12 (32) and teens aged 13 to 16 (34). These athletes were then compared with similar people who had not had a concussion.

All of the study participants were given neuropsychological tests used by the U.S. National Hockey League. The researchers then compared the results of those tests with the results of electrophysical evaluations that measured working memory, attention and inhibition while participants worked on a computer. Electrophysical tests are considered more sensitive than neuropsychological screens, the study authors noted.

The researchers found all the athletes who suffered concussions had results on their electrophysical evaluations that indicated injurious effects, compared with similar people who had not had a concussion.

Among teens, there were also problems with short-term working memory that lasted six months to a year, they noted. “We find that most concussions are similarly severe, whether or not there is loss of consciousness,” Ellemberg said. Immediate symptoms after an injury are not a way to know how a child is doing, he said. “You, typically, have to wait for a couple of days, or even weeks, after the injury to see the symptoms,” Ellemberg explained. “Concussions are severe, and do have consequences. We need to have a systematic system to evaluate these children.”

After a suspected concussion, the child or teen should be seen by a medical professional who can assess the patient and make a plan for when the child can go back to playing, he said. “We can’t be afraid to have our kids play sports. We know that it’s good for the child’s physical health and mental health,” Ellemberg stressed. “So, we want to encourage sports, but we want to make sure that we do it in a safe way.”

Teams need to have an adult trained in what to do if a child has a concussion. In addition, an effort should be made to eliminate violence and situations that can lead to concussions, Ellemberg added. Commenting on the study, Gillian Hotz, director of the concussion program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that “kids have developing brains, so issues may not show up until a year later when they are stressed to do more frontal lobe activities.”

Concussions are preventable, she said, and there needs to be education about concussion directed to parents, coaches and children. “Of course, wearing helmets properly is important,” Hotz noted, adding that more communities are taking a proactive approach to dealing with concussions.

For example, high school athletes in Miami are given tests of mental functioning before they can play. These give professionals a baseline with which to compare their symptoms after a concussion to see if there are changes, she explained. These and other measure can make a difference in identifying and treating concussions, Hotz said.

(via Huffington Post July 2012)

 

Can PCS Cause Hormonal Imbalances?

Head trauma, including concussion, can lead to hormone deficiencies. This relationship between head trauma and hormonal imbalance, though, is not well-recognized by physicians and health-care professionals. 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year.  This number does not include individuals who sustain trauma, but don’t seek medical evaluation or treatment. Fifty-two thousand die from traumatic brain trauma while 275,000 are hospitalized.  A vast majority, or 1.365 million are treated and released from the emergency room.  That might sound like good news, but believe it or not a number of those individuals will either to continue to have symptoms or later develop symptoms related to the trauma.

Falls on the head account for 28% of the cases of head trauma, motor vehicle accidents account for 20%, getting struck by an object (sports and otherwise) account for 19%, and assaults account for 11%.

To a large degree our endocrine system or hormonal system works on the principle of supply and demand.  If there’s a need for a hormone the body will produce it. (This is important to recognize because you can intentionally create a demand for some hormones like testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin by the way you eat and exercise). Through a series of feedback loops the body regulates hormone levels so that supply meets demand – much like the thermostat in your house will automatically regulate temperature.

Our main hormones include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, growth hormone, insulin, and thyroid. The production of these hormones is influenced by the production and release of other hormones found in the hypothalamus and pituitary, both of which are found in the brain.  So obviously any trauma to the brain has the potential to disrupt hormone production.

Let’s use testosterone as an example.  Testosterone is primarily (in males) produced in the testes in response to luteinizing (LH) hormone that is produced in the pituitary.  LH in turn is produced in response to gonadotropin releasing hormone or GnRH that is produced in the hypothalamus. So trauma affecting either the hypothalamus or pituitary can lead to diminished testosterone production.  The same can be said for estrogen, progesterone, growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and cortisol.

One study found that 35% to 40% of patients with traumatic brain injury developed hormone deficiencies.  Another study found that 3 months after head trauma 56% of the patients were deficient in at least on hypothalamic/pituitary hormone with 32% being deficient in gonadotropin (stimulate production of sex hormones), 19% deficient in corticotropin that stimulates the production of cortisol, 8% deficient in somatotropin that stimulates production of growth hormone, and 8% deficient in thyrotropin that stimulates production of thyroid hormone. After 12 months following the trauma 36% were still deficient in a least one hormone with a slight increase in those deficient in somatotropin to 10%.

There is quite a bit of overlap between symptoms of post-concussion syndrome and hormone deficiency and can include fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, loss of libido, being withdrawn, difficulty with mental focus and concentration, memory loss, anxiety, and depression to mention the more common ones. Might the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome be a manifestation of hormone deficiency?  We don’t know yet, but existing treatments for post-concussion syndrome have focused on alleviating the symptoms, but don’t appear to address the underlying problem.

What Does Headway.org Advise on Getting Treated in the UK? Well Its Still a Lottery!

Rehabilitation after brain injuryImage

Unlike most other cells in the body, brain cells do not regenerate when they are destroyed. However, this does not mean that no recovery can occur. The brain is somewhat flexible and is able to reorganize itself, to an extent, in order to regain lost function. This is known as brain ‘plasticity’.

During recovery, other areas of the brain take over the activities of the damaged areas and new nerve pathways can be established using undamaged brain cells. Engaging in activity helps these alternative pathways to develop.

Rehabilitation aims to help the brain learn alternative ways of working in order to minimise the long-term impact of the brain injury. Rehabilitation also helps the survivor and the family to cope successfully with any remaining disabilities.

Timescales for recovery and rehabilitation after brain injury

In the first month or two after a severe brain injury it is only possible to guess at the length of time that recovery will take and the likely outcome. All that is certain is that recovery is a slow process and will take months or years rather than weeks.

Six months after the injury the picture will be clearer, but it is wise to wait until about a year after the accident before making any important decisions regarding the future. After a year or so one can be reasonably certain about the eventual degree of physical recovery. However, psychological recovery can take considerably longer and it is usually these more subtle psychological problems that cause longer-term difficulties, particularly for family members.

People do sometimes talk about there being a limited ‘window’ for recovery after brain injury, for example, that recovery ceases to take place beyond two years. However, this is now known not to be the case and people may actually continue to improve for a number of years after brain injury. Indeed, many people say that they never stop re-gaining the skills that they lost following the injury.

Nevertheless, the greatest visible progress does occur in the first six months or so post-injury and after this improvement is often less obvious.

Accessing brain injury rehabilitation services

There are many rehabilitation services across the UK, run by the NHS or private firms. Choosing which rehabilitation unit to refer someone with a brain injury to should involve the clinical team, the patient and their family. Once a referral has been made, the rehabilitation unit will usually carry out an assessment to make sure their service is suitable.

Availability and funding for places varies. However, most units, including private ones, accept NHS referrals and will be funded by the NHS. Other possible sources of funding include the local authority, medical insurance, compensation claims and self-funding.

It is important to ensure that whoever is likely to have to fund the rehabilitation is aware that a referral has been made. The rehabilitation service will not be able to accept an admission until funding has been authorised. Many services accept referrals from outside their own area, but there are often limited places available and long waiting lists. Specific details about the referral process, availability of places and funding options will be available from the unit.

Taking up a rehabilitation placement is an important commitment, and it is wise to explore all the options, visit different rehabilitation settings, and ask as many questions as possible before a placement is confirmed.

Rehabilitation settings

Brain injury rehabilitation occurs in the following settings:

  • Inpatient rehabilitation: This involves intensive specialist rehabilitation for people who are not yet ready to return home after discharge from hospital. Neurological rehabilitation centres provide an ideal setting for further treatment, where a structured rehabilitation programme is in place throughout the day.
  • Outpatient rehabilitation: Some people may be well enough to return home and receive further treatment as an outpatient, either at a local hospital or at a separate rehabilitation centre.
  • Community rehabilitation: Following an inpatient rehabilitation stay, some people may be transferred to a residential transitional living unit. Here people can develop their independent living skills so that they may be able to live in a place of their own. Others will go straight back to their homes, with a community rehabilitation team or outreach team helping them to make further progress; this may involve therapists working with the person in their home or community environment.

The role of family members in rehabilitation after brain injury

The British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (BSRM) has produced guidelines on rehabilitation after acquired brain injury. The guidelines recognise the important role family members and carers play in the rehabilitation process:

“Family members are very often a crucial asset to the patient, providing both long-term support and a major contribution to the rehabilitation process. It is also important for the team to recognise that family members often have a special rapport with the patient and may detect subtle communication in advance of the professionals.

“Families can provide valuable insights into the patient’s character, choices and ambitions, as well as important information on the presentation of difficulties in the home setting. This is essential in initial assessment, and in the monitoring of rehabilitation gain, to minimise under-reporting of difficulties when the brain-injured person lacks insight”

(From: Rehabilitation following acquired brain injury: national clinical guidelines, BSRM, 2003).

What if no rehabilitation has been provided?

If your relative has been discharged home without any access to rehabilitation, and you have reason to believe that they would benefit from it, there are still options available.

You are perfectly within your rights to actively seek rehabilitation services, even if you have been told that there are none available or needed. The first thing to do is discuss the matter with your relative’s GP and/or consultant. They may be able to provide a referral. You can also contact rehabilitation services directly. The Headway Helpline can provide information on specialist brain injury rehabilitation centres on 0808 800 2244.

It is advisable to contact several units and visit them to assess their suitability before making a decision. There are several other directories of rehabilitation professionals in private practice and you can find details in the ‘Useful organisations’ factsheet.

For more detailed information on brain injury rehabilitation see the Headway booklet Rehabilitation after brain injury.

Early Intervention Is The Only Way To Aide Recovery…

We’re told again & again in the UK that nothing can be done if you’ve had a MTBI, no treatment or intervention is readily available, no treatment pathways exist in our health service!

Here is the American approach we look at early intervention & a whole host of options & treatments available to aide those unlucky enough to suffer brain injury.

So why is there this vast difference between two modern countries? The answer is in the culture of the systems & their differing attitudes. 

 

 

 

Link

Supporting Invisible Illness Week – September 10th-16th…

September 10-16, 2012 is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. This annual event, started in 2002 by Lisa Copen, features a variety of ways to get involved including a virtual conference September 10-14 online for free with speakers.

2012′s theme is INVISIBLE ILLNESS? SHARE YOUR VISIBLE HOPE! This is a chance for participants to upload photos that show their hope to encourage others (both ill and healthy).

There is a Meme “30 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness”, you can sign up to blog for the cause, read guest bloggers’ posts, and get involved in the campaign on Facebook. There is even a free 80-page ebook when you sign up for email updates, with 263 tips!
With nearly 1 in 2 people living with a chronic condition, about 96% of those people are suffering silently with invisible illnesses. See InvisibleIllnessWeek.com

What Are The Early Days After MTBI Really Like?

I can only speak for myself to answer the title question, although my feelings & impressions will no doubt mirror many others. I was alone at the time of my accident (two falls onto an asphalt pavement battering the occipital region of my head) and when I managed to stagger home I was in some kind of silent shock.

I remember removing my torn, dirty jumper which was fairly shredded around the back & arms, as I’d fallen I must have put out my arms on the way down, my hands bore the scars of the coarse tarmac, as did my arms. Not the best of things to fall on tarmac, especially going down hill. I tried to clean my open cuts & also took a hot bath to get the dirt & blood out of my hair. The hot water stung badly I recall, or did I just imagine that now? And there in lies one of the biggest problems post-injury….. Memories!

After a night’s sleep things seemed a little less shocking, regardless of how I felt it didn’t seem bad enough to go to hospital & wait for maybe ten hours only to be looked over & sent home. My mind was working differently now & I was scared to even think about being in a bright hospital accident & emergency ward. I felt like a spectator, almost helpless to know what to do about a fall which could have been nothing really. I had nobody living with me to persuade me any different, and so I tried to carry on with day to day life.

The second day wasn’t particularly bad just that deep throbbing numbness in my skull, the cuts on my hands stung bad yet I managed to meet a friend & we went out for the day. I could sense my reactions to things slowing down, crossing the road, answering my friend’s questions etc.. It all seemed so other-worldly & I just continued to ride out the numb feeling & the pains.

Then came work! I decided for whatever crazy reason that I would just go back into work & carry on as if nothing had happened, only my boss had different ideas & after a nervous few hours of navigating on auto-pilot I returned home & went to see my GP. I couldn’t see my normal GP whom I trusted, instead I saw a locum who didn’t even examine me as far as I remember, he simply told me to take two weeks off & I’d probably be okay after that. That was it, in that moment I had an inkling that this wasn’t as simple as he made out. I’d hit my head before & been okay after a few days, this was much more severe.

In the days that followed I noticed a list of things which were like new conditions imposed on my being, a sort of invisible set of restrictions, unwanted but there nonetheless to keep me in this new state of low-consciousness. Firstly I found myself at home alone, I began to have depressive thoughts of the worst kind that didn’t let up. Then there was my memory, I couldn’t get things straight in my mind whenever I tried to think of a specific person, place or time it was blanks or confusion! Headaches were like a pressure behind the eyes, but more than that like the whole brain was expanding so as to make it too tight for the skull.

Sleeping was aided by the feeling of exhaustion, the same feeling that sapped all my motivation & energy without giving anything back. I found that I needed the curtains shut most of the day as it was way too bright, sounds hurt my head even more causing my thoughts to roll around at random. I felt as if I were enduring some sort of punishment but the tormentor was invisible, not available to reason with, nor was there any let up.

Friends came round to see me & normally I would have been comfortable & happy to see them. Everything seemed to dry up including my sense of confidence & faith in myself, the results of which were down to the effects of my concussions. I was eventually diagnosed about 3 months later by my own GP & my journey took a whole new direction then, one which shook my life upside down until everything fell out!

From recalling this time I can say that the most important things after a MTBI/concussion are most definitely to get support, you can’t cope alone & you’re going to need family & friends around you. You need to see a doctor you trust & if possible get referred to a neurologist as soon as possible. Find a group or make contact with other brain injury sufferers if you can, that will help you feel less alone. Most of all be prepared for changes to your lifestyle & what you can realistically achieve until you can recover. If you need to use antidepressants & pain killers etc then make it a short term thing not a long term, you don’t want to end up doing the A-Z of drugs because none of them work for long enough to be a solution.

Having MTBI can be a very isolating & confusing experience, it certainly was for me on my own back in 2006, there weren’t any internet groups or forums, no literature & barely any websites with help or information.

Things are starting to develop with regards to awareness of PCS & brain injury conditions but there is a long way to go before things turn around to where first time MTBI sufferers here have a positive treatment/diagnosis situation & not the kind of nightmare or uncertainty that I went through.

David.B

 

Multiple Brain Trauma – Repeat Concussions & Long-Term P.P.C.S

Young athletes who return to play before a concussion fully heals and sustain another head injury can suffer serious and potentially deadly brain complications.
Athletes under age 25 are especially vulnerable to “second-impact syndrome”. There are ways to prevent a subsequent injury, including knowing the signs of concussion. These include headache, dizziness, irritability, mood changes, vomiting, changes in vision and hearing and difficulty following instructions.

University of Buffalo – World Leaders in Treating PCS..

Video

Researchers in the UB Concussion Clinic are pioneering a treatment for athletes and others with post-concussion syndrome. The novel approach offers hope to people with a condition for which there has previously been no effective remedy. Learn more about the UB Concussion Clinic: http://concussion.buffalo.edu, and read about the clinic’s latest work: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/12583

NHS shows its weaknesses are obvious … Yet again!

Today I attempted to leave comments on the NHS choices website explaining how our groups are available for ALL PCS sufferers for information & support…. This is the response I got to tell me my post had been deleted…. “Thank you for contributing to the NHS Choices website. We have removed your contribution because commercial advertisements are not acceptable. This site is for describing your experiences and not to promote a service or create any kind of personal gain.  Please see the site Terms and Conditions or refer to the Moderation Rules policy.
”   – Short sighted & afraid of progress.

Excerpts From PCS Fiction

I often Used to wake up covered in little bruises & cuts down my side, legs & arms, but never because of a heavy night out, or debauchery! No, this was another matter completely.
Unsought intoxication of my sanity by rogue forces of a horrific nature. Unwelcome & heavy shifting thoughts which I still dread to remember, yet fail to put aside…

Black Hole disease. Right brain exhausted, over fried left & logic-less oblivion a certainty. Welcome to 3:20AM madness, as regular as a chronometer, with missing chapters & fragments of remembrance not supplied. No refunds given. Thank you very much!
From a practical point of view, my body-clock knows the score OK. It chimes with all the regularity I need to keep me at my premium requirement of three hours & forty minutes slumber in those close quiet hours each night.
Reviewing matters now, in hindsight I analyze & rate my actions over, away & beyond any normal mortal man’s rational thinking. All I recall to be true or all I could seem to make up is the ‘half-world’ I inhabit.

It had to be this way because the ‘black-hole’ that squats in my skull requires it to be so. It demands this all to be compressed like tarmac laid to cover old, cracked & crooked cobblestones!

You can almost hear something outside at that dead hour worth listening for. I open the floral pained bathroom window to let out the nights’ warm, trapped odor of over used bleach.

I pitch my tired, sleep worn ears & listen, taking a rightful seat on the crap-throne. Still now, not even a bird’s burp, cheep or whistle to serenade me from the suburban tree tops outside on the crescent. Shit! I am fucked. No birds?

I wake while society & normality slumbers out. I’m for now, as far as I can tell, truly numb & constipated from over medication. My tongue has desiccated to a dried, battered, rust covered iron rasp! Numb mouth & dwarf’s daggers silently twisting around in my scalp. The pain, once again shoots up my left torso to my neck & in to brain. Oh man! Much worse than yesterday & ten times as bad as Monday.
My vision starts to fade out a little around the edges, sort of cartoon-like ending. Bright yellow & pink speckled spots, points of fuzzy-wuzzy  light cloud my vision. I start to sway a little, my head & upper body round in lolling half circles of a drunkard! Breathing now slow in to the bottom of my lungs with chest swelling slightly. This brings me back a bit.

If I could somehow preserve this condition on film, or in some live-time action snapshot for the world. “Here just have five minutes of this! What You don’t believe me?” Well Sir/Madam, just come this way, & please enter into my life & then we will discuss my personal role & requirements. We can level the playing field to suit your unfeeling doubts, make me seem more human & less of a cumbersome liar in your eyes! “By the way how is your vision & sanity now Boss? It’s been a good five minutes at least.” Yeah, I’d have some trouble faking & making this up alright, is my job safe then?

This ‘Black-hole-ness’ must be brought to task, made to talk & spill it’s nasty secrets out on to the floor. While it squats in my head there is no one at home in command savvy enough to play General or defender against the rebellion going on ‘upstairs’.
I shirk & shudder in mini convulsions rapidly, as I must continue to be a harshly affected, semi-dumb mule of a man. A self engrossed, lame ‘sitting duck’ ready to be shot, plucked & stuffed in to some superior predator’s pancakes!

First, second or eleventh time it does not count for a lot where recall & recognition are concerned. It is a no go zone! Come down & fake living, hold that breath & tongue as long as you can. This way we may avoid choking on life, unless we pass out through overwhelming fear, although by that point we’re normally surrounded by voyeuristic onlookers . Time drags on then with scant significance.

My physician Dr Desouza says I’m not to fret like I do when we sit & talk weekly, or brood on my ‘Black-hole’ dilemma. His surgery is my sole confessional box, although catholic I am not.
The man actually listens & interprets intelligibly, responding with real concern. I sometimes have to pinch myself & wonder where the battery compartment is? On the back of his neck maybe?
He lifts his chin slightly above normal height, wrinkles a light, wry smile, almost undetectable underneath his white-grey beard & then proceeds to remind me that despite all, I have a heart which beats as strongly as a pump house.
His conviction does provide a hollow if short lived high, a bit like a heroic whiff of petrol fumes, a sort of gold-plated ‘dog-end’ drifting down the gutter of hope!

My cranium? This brings a squat frown of concern at first. “Of course we never fully understand what actually happens in these kind of cases, despite all the modern MRI scans & other procedures. How much is a secondary or somasomatic error brought on by the brains’ apparent malfunction. All part of the healing process. Rehabilitation…” He continues “Of course the body knows best. It is simply a matter of time & aided recovery Mr Bude.”. Yeah I hear you. My attention is already waning rapidly, at it’s own command.
This cannot be helped, as to fight it will bring forth another thunderbolt of mental torment upon me, designed to smite me down!

Excerpt from unpublished ‘Black-Hole Disease, A Cautionary Tale For The 21st Century’

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Brain Injury Global picnic is Today!

Marie Payne (Via Facebook)
This is just to let everyone know our voices are being heard – WORLD WIDE TODAY!!

Today is the day that WE ALL can come together to agree on one thing (I mean world wide agree) that Brain Injuries are silent no more!! (I say this with a tears streaming down my cheeks). We can collectively use all our voices into one BIG VOICE and say WE’RE HERE!! You can be heard, you can be noticed, you are not ignored or pushed to the side – YOU MATTER. Enjoy you picnics today, enjoy the time you spend with family, friends, loved ones, and your neighbors world wide. Your voice counts, we hear you from around the world. Thank you ~ each and every one of you for gathering today and for making noise and celebrating that we’re alive, we matter, we will continue to move forward collectively to educate and inform the world that Brain Injuries are NOT SILENT any longer. ♥ Marie.

Brain Injury Global Picnic today!!! Yah Hoooo

The Hidden epidemic – A Film About Post Concussion Syndrome

The purpose of the film is to provide victims, parents and care-givers with knowledge of the possible consequences of post concussion syndrome (PCS). This knowledge will include the symptoms of PCS as well as available treatments, medications and techniques for healing. These techniques include diet, biofeedback, cognitive therapy, natural supplements, aerobic exercise, as well as art and singing therapy.

 

The Hidden Epidemic – A Worthy Cause!

Patient : Dr, Dr I Have a Hidden Disability! Dr : Who Said That?

Well that’s joking aside for now; seriously this isn’t a chance to moan about how fakers & benefit fraudsters dis-empowering the thousands who suffer in silence, simply because they don’t have a clear, physical manifestation of illness visibly. Nor is this a post to complain about Drs or Specialists who make excuses for those of us who do suffer ‘Hidden Disability’ or ‘Invisible Illnesses’ to avoid offering them rehabilitation or alternative treatments! Lets face it we all must know someone whom we cannot be sure about how ill they are because of their behaviour? So what’s really going on out there?

There is a growing interest also from progressive medical scientists in places like Sheffield University (making breakthroughs studying M.E/Fybromyalgia/C.F.S) which mean that such conditions that have been dismissed because they are open to ‘Fakers’ may soon be easily detectable as real, neurological conditions identifiable in the brain. Others in the USA are light years ahead of the rest in ‘Head Trauma’ & ‘Post Concussive Illnesses’, they have devised clear rehabilitation & treatment plans that work!

I want to tell you about the other side, the rising tide of genuinely disabled people who are taking their fight to the World via the Internet & connecting with others like them all over the planet, from New Zealand to Africa, Asia, Europe & the Americas.

How these people found each other was simply like anyone else, through social networking sites such as Twitter & Facebook etc. I should know I started alone in the Spring of 2010; it was not long after a dear friend & neighbour of mine had died suddenly, unexpectedly & because his invisible illness had spiralled out of control causing his premature passing!

So this was my catalyst & I began setting up a page on the net as there was previously not even 1 group to be found anywhere on the web dedicated to the awareness of Post Concussion injuries (such as Shellshock), one of the most common yet unheard of ‘Hidden Disabilities’. What I soon began to realise was that there were so many people out there all who had been going through similar nightmares with their disabilities, and they were on every continent! Well with much dedication & lots of long hours spent connecting with others, the thing started to run itself… It became an online community where hundreds come to discuss their treatments, tell their stories & provide each other moral support.

‘Post Concussion Awareness Worldwide’ tells the ongoing story of how so many have struggled against discrimination after suffering head injuries in car crashes, explosions, falls, sporting concussions & much more who have fought each day just to do what most healthy people take for granted; they are real people all whom have been told at some point post-injury that ‘Well, you don’t look sick to me!’ & have chosen to make a positive contribution instead of giving in to the negatives of their situation.

I use my own group as example because it’s easiest for me to talk about such a ‘Hidden Epidemic’ but the mood is changing towards hidden disability, all I can do is try tell at least one new person a day something positive that has come from my illness rather than blaming it for my past homelessness. On June 24th 2012 we held the 2nd ever PCS Worldwide Awareness Day!

Hope + Action = Change ~ simple equation!

Hello world of Healthblogs & bloggers!

Since early 2010 I have been building an online group for Post Concussion syndrome sufferers worldwide, together with the help of other sufferers in various countries. This followed my own P.C.S diagnosis in 2006 when I sank into a dark & sometimes terrifying world, that was the world of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury…

Here, at long last I feel ready to spill some of the beans on what that journey through P.C.S in the UK is really like, the discrimination, denial of basic human & patient’s rights, losing one way of life in favour of a fight for survival. There’s not much we can’t do to improve matters in the UK for anyone with P.C.S, so don’t give up…..