Archive for the 'Biology' Category

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

March 5th, 2010 by xformed

This CT scan is an example of Subdural haemorr...
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Via backchannel, a request to highlight the “signature” wound of the current war: Traumatic Brain Injury.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month for the Brain Injury Association of America.  Pass the Word, please, as you can and know this is a very probable issue with our injured Vets.

For those who have long supported the Soldier’s Angels Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops (VALOur-IT), this is one of the things the program has been addressing, along with the coputer contact with the world, by providing GPS Units for those wounded service members who are getting out and about. The reason: TBI has an associated symptom of loss of short term memory, and the GPS Units help remind the driver where they were headed.  (Note:  You don’t have to wait until this November to donate to VALOur-IT…SA will be happy to accept donations all year long…even today to help this great cause)

Below is the article Chelsea asked if I could post to help get attention to the cause:

Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Military

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming a common wound of modern warfare. It has even been coined the “signature wound” of the War on Terror. While TBI is becoming more prevalent in wartime activity, many service men and women continue to go undiagnosed. Institutions, like the US Department of Veterans Affairs, are working to make quick and accurate diagnoses in order to prescribe appropriate and effective treatment.

TBI is caused by forced trauma to the head, either by being shaken or hit. The severity of a TBI varies from case to case, but symptoms range from mild concussions to a debilitating state. The majority of TBI’s acquired by military personnel are classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI). Initial symptoms of MTBI consist of loss of consciousness, disorientation, loss of memory, headache, and temporary loss of hearing and vision. They are often partnered with anxiety, irritability, difficulties processing information, limited concentration amongst other problems experienced down the road. While MTBI is most common amongst the men and women of the armed forces, more severe cases of TBI are happening much more frequently and often require the victim to attended specialty rehabilitative nursing centers, like CareMeridian.

The most common cause of a TBI in the military is due to blasts. There are three degrees of blast injuries where a TBI is common; Primary (due to blast itself), Secondary (due to objects being propelled by a blast) and Tertiary (due to a collision with a third party object). According to the Veterans Health Initiative, active male members of the military from the ages 18-24 are hospitalized with a TBI at a rate of 231 per 100,000 and females 150 per 100,000. Based on military force projections this would mean that 4,141 military personnel are hospitalized on average each year with a TBI, and these numbers often rise during wartimes.

The best prevention for veterans to avert the long-term effects of a brain injury is to recognize the symptoms of a TBI. Once the symptoms are identified an individual should take basic precautionary measures in order to begin the healing and recovery process until a more specific diagnosis can be made.

Service men and women give so much to protect this country and they deserve to come home to a happy and healthy life. Creating awareness about TBI will help ensure their long term health. By helping our veterans, their friends and their families recognize the early warning signs of a TBI, treatment can be sought as early as possible.

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Category: Air Force, Army, Biology, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Education, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Science, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | 5 Comments »

Go Figure: The Brain runs on Chaos!

July 13th, 2009 by xformed

Well, I’m not a real scientist, but I play one on this blog sometimes. The naming of this blog had this concept in mind, as formulated by the reading of “Chaos: The Making of a New Science” by James Gleick, about 15 years ago. Actually, my entire point, I think missed by many, is James Gleick pointed out that chaos is actually organization at a level we fail to take the time to dig for. It’s in the way past the decimal point places, that we round off before we get there, either out of “good enough,” laziness, or computational limitations. It’s order at a very subtle level, while looking exceptionally random to those who don’t take the time to take the journey. Over 20 years ago, I began playing with the creation of fractals on my Macintosh II, sometimes leaving it running all night, just to generate the image way down in the insides of the fractal form. Now, such things are easy to make quickly, and are widely used to generate scenery for movies.

I had always planned, from day one of the blog, to write about this, yet…almost 5 years later, and three iterations of this blog at different places, I have failed to get there yet, however, I feel vindicated today, by real scientists. Fallen rip

HAVE you ever experienced that eerie feeling of a thought popping into your head as if from nowhere, with no clue as to why you had that particular idea at that particular time? You may think that such fleeting thoughts, however random they seem, must be the product of predictable and rational processes. After all, the brain cannot be random, can it? Surely it processes information using ordered, logical operations, like a powerful computer?

Actually, no. In reality, your brain operates on the edge of chaos. Though much of the time it runs in an orderly and stable way, every now and again it suddenly and unpredictably lurches into a blizzard of noise.

Neuroscientists have long suspected as much. Only recently, however, have they come up with proof that brains work this way. Now they are trying to work out why. Some believe that near-chaotic states may be crucial to memory, and could explain why some people are smarter than others.

Lets go to the video:

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Take some time to read the article. When Harry Met Sally… video Maybe you’ll get a grasp on the chaos that reigns sometimes.

So, here I sit on the domain “Chaotic Synaptic Activity,” before the brain scientists figured it out. Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds an acorn in the snow.

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Category: Biology | Comments Off on Go Figure: The Brain runs on Chaos!

Attention High Altitude Residents (Temporary and Permanent)!

October 7th, 2007 by xformed

Linking, learning and OOPS! Information coming in!

Found at the Scientific American Mind website, the adventuring into the upper reaches of the atmosphere has a cumulative effect on the thing that makes you think.

From “Into thin air: Altitude’s toll on the brain”:

Douglas Fields
National Institutes of Mental Health
Washington, D.C.

Three attributes of a good mountaineer are high pain threshold, bad memory, and … I forget the third. – R. Douglas Fields

Climbing Mount Everest is not so difficult; the hard part is getting down intact. According to a recent brain imaging study, almost no one does. Of thirteen climbers in the study who attempted Mount Everest, none returned without brain damage. The study also scanned the brains of climbers who attempted less extreme summits. For those of us who love to climb, the results are less than elevating. It seems that almost no one, whether the weekend warrior chaperoned to the summit or the seasoned mountaineer, will return from the high peaks with a brain in the same condition it was in beforehand.

Some of us will be able, based on a propensity to “get high” in aircraft or climbing, will be able to use this as a defense in our more advanced years to cover our mental errors. But then we know the other people who “get high” also will have that excuse…

Watch Lex’s posts for signs of too many rides when he took his O2 mask off against the directives of NATOPS.

Category: Biology, Public Service, Science, Skydiving | Comments Off on Attention High Altitude Residents (Temporary and Permanent)!

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