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Can’t believe its been 5 months already. This day changed my life and my outlook on everything. I never thought I would meet Taylor let alone in her own home where she knew who I was. Taylor not only gave me the gift of her music but the gift of friendship. Her own and these amazing people who I met there. A day hasn’t gone by where I haven’t thought about October 4th and the amazing experience I had. Thank you Taylor and thank you TBI for forever changing my life.

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5 months. 5 months on this day is something I’ll never forget. All I can say is thank you Taylor. For everything and for introducing me to some amazing people. I could make a long post, but this time I am keeping it short and simple. Because there is really only one thing I can say and I’ve said it. Thank you Taylor. I love you.

Researchers Propose Novel New Treatment of Stroke, Other Neurological Diseases

Medicine should reconsider how it treats stroke and other neurological disorders, focusing on the intrinsic abilities of the brain and nervous system to heal themselves rather than the “modest” benefits of clot-busting drugs and other neuroprotective treatments.

Michael Chopp, Ph,D., internationally renowned stroke researcher and scientific director of the Neuroscience Institute at Henry Ford Hospital, and Zhenggang Zhang,M.D., Ph.D., senior scientist at Henry Ford’s Department of Neurology, make their case for the change in treatment strategy in an editorial published online in Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy.

The co-authors argue that pharmacologically enhancing the brain’s own restorative abilities could benefit not only stroke patients, but those suffering other neurological damage or disease including traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple sclerosis (MS) and peripheral neuropathy – nerve damage that afflicts the elderly, chemotherapy patients and especially diabetics.

Central to their proposal is a new pharmacological agent developed by Dr. Chopp and his colleagues, a synthetic version of a peptide that occurs naturally in humans and other mammals called Thymosin beta-4.

“Pioneering animal studies at Henry Ford have shown Thymosin beta-4 is highly effective for the treatment of neurological diseases in part by increasing the formation of protective myelin around nerve fibers in the central and peripheral nervous systems,” says Dr. Chopp.

In their editorial, the authors first detail the limited effectiveness of current standard drug therapy, using tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), more commonly known as a “clot buster,” to treat neurological disease.

Offering stroke as an example, they cite research showing that only about 5 percent of patients receive tPA, and of those only about 30 percent show significant improvements.

Similar conditions exist for nerve injury after TBI, MS and peripheral neuropathy, the authors write, and for those patients “there is a paucity of therapeutic options.”

Among tPA’s limitations is that it must be administered within a very short time after stroke to prevent “cascades” of irreversible cell damage.

In contrast, “restorative therapies” such as dosing with Thymosin beta-4 “may be applied well after the onset of injury or the onset of clinical symptoms for degenerative diseases” including stroke and others.

Says Dr. Chopp: “Rather than focusing on destroying clots or other lesions leading to nerve damage, restorative therapies are designed to ‘remodel’ or rebuild the nervous system by stimulating self-healing processes that already exist in the brain, spinal cord and the peripheral nerves connected to them.”

“It is therefore time to reconsider how we think about treating neural injury and disease,” the authors contend.

Last year, Dr. Chopp was honored with the Abraham White Distinguished Science Award for his discovery of the role of Thymosin beta-4 in the treatment of brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases.

March is brain injury awareness month

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in people ages 0-44 in the US.

More than 5 million Americans (2% of the population) live with disabilities caused by TBI

Estimates of annual TBI occurrences range from 1.4 to more than 2 million Americans every year, more than 50,000 of which result in death.

African Americans, Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives have the highest rate of TBI hospitalization in the US, and African Americans have the highest rate of death. Men are twice as likely to suffer a TBI than women.

When a brain injury occurs, the functions of the neurons, nerve tracts, or sections of the brain can be affected. If the neurons and nerve tracts are affected, they can be unable or have difficulty carrying the messages that tell the brain what to do. This can change the way a person thinks, acts, feels, and moves the body. Brain injury can also change the complex internal functions of the body, such as regulating body temperature; blood pressure; bowel and bladder control. These changes can be temporary or permanent. They may cause impairment or a complete inability to perform a function. (more)

Sources: x x x x

Brainline.org is an excellent resource for those looking to learn more about brain injury, from statistics and causes to leading research in rehabilitation and therapy. They collaborate with groups including the Brain Injury Association of America, the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators, and the North American Brain Injury Society to promote awareness, educate the public, and provide resources for TBI survivors and their families.  

Read personal stories from brain injury survivors.

Learn more about TBI advocacy.

Learn more about TBI in the US through the CDC’s brain injury site.

Graphic from biausa.org.

vimeo

Taylor, we at TBI have been working over the past month or so to put this little video together as a way to say thank you. Thank you for everything that you have done for us. Thank you for bringing us all together. Thank you for inviting us into your home, sharing your stories, your cookies, your music, and your life with us. Thank you for being you. This video is for you, from all of us at TBI. We love you taylorswift

catcronin shakeitsoff but-im-still-trying-to-find-it iswearillloveyou we-couldnt-quite-forget marc-cast amandatoth13 br0keninfinity youu-took-a-polaroid-of-us andguns heldyourheadlikeahero on-swifts-side swiftly-forevermore almostthefool watchthelightsgowild13 taaylorr94 breakrinalikeapromise anawfulmess inthenameofbeingghonest katieoo87 sugaryswift messofadreamer331 happyfreeconfusedlonelyinthebest fearlessfallon amanderr11 theblameisonme itsbeenwaitingforyou drinkingmaplelattes kayscott810 swiftlyawarrior

[please dont ever forget that bucky barnes was diagnosed with severe brain trauma in the comics by the russians who found him, and that because he didnt have any serum or regenerative properties in the comics he suffered with those brain traumas, and that the only reason he became the winter soldier is because the doctors took advantage of that brain trauma to psychologically abuse him. ]

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Sam & Dean : "I’ve been following you around my entire life. I mean, I’ve been looking up to you since I was four, Dean. Studying you, trying to be just like my big brother. So yeah, I know you - better than anyone else in the entire world."

A brotp Winchester mix for Harriet [

(cover creds to Cordelia)

Watch on jtmaster13.tumblr.com

Taylor, we at TBI have been working over the past month or so to put this little video together as a way to say thank you. Thank you for everything that you have done for us. Thank you for bringing us all together. Thank you for inviting us into your home, sharing your stories, your cookies, your music, and your life with us. Thank you for being you. This video is for you, from all of us at TBI. We love you taylorswift

catcronin shakeitsoff but-im-still-trying-to-find-it iswearillloveyou we-couldnt-quite-forget marc-cast amandatoth13 br0keninfinity youu-took-a-polaroid-of-us andguns heldyourheadlikeahero on-swifts-side swiftly-forevermore almostthefool watchthelightsgowild13 taaylorr94 breakrinalikeapromise anawfulmess inthenameofbeingghonest katieoo87 sugaryswift messofadreamer331 happyfreeconfusedlonelyinthebest fearlessfallon amanderr11 theblameisonme itsbeenwaitingforyou @drinkingmaplelattes kayscott810 swiftlyawarrior

Hve you seen HBOs The Crash Reel? It’s an amazing documentary about Kevin Pearce and the traumatic brain injury (TBI) he survived with the help of doctors, family and friends. He will never be the same and this documentary shows the unvarnished truth about head injuries. This infographic has already saved one life.  If you have any of these symptoms after hitting your head DO NOT WAIT TO SEE A DOCTOR “in the morning” - go to the ER IMMEDIATELY. Don’t let a doctor tell you that if your CT scan is normal and you are not vomiting you are fine. YOU STILL MAY HAVE A CONCUSSION.

Half of homeless men had traumatic brain injury

Study finds almost half of homeless men had traumatic brain injury in their lifetime, vast majority before they lost their homes

Almost half of all homeless men who took part in a study by St. Michael’s Hospital had suffered at least one traumatic brain injury in their life and 87 per cent of those injuries occurred before the men lost their homes.

While assaults were a major cause of those traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, (60 per cent) many were caused by potentially non-violent mechanisms such as sports and recreation (44 per cent) and motor vehicle collisions and falls (42 per cent).

The study, led by Dr. Jane Topolovec-Vranic, a clinical researcher in the hospital’s Neuroscience Research Program, was published in the journal CMAJ Open.

Dr. Topolovec-Vranic said it’s important for health care providers and others who work with homeless people to be aware of any history of TBI because of the links between such injuries and mental health issues, substance abuse, seizures and general poorer physical health.

The fact that so many homeless men suffered a TBI before losing their home suggests such injuries could be a risk factor for becoming homeless, she said. That makes it even more important to monitor young people who suffer TBIs such as concussions for health and behavioural changes, she said.

Dr. Topolovec-Vranic looked at data on 111 homeless men aged 27 to 81 years old who were recruited from a downtown Toronto men’s shelter. She found that 45 per cent of these men had experienced a traumatic brain injury, and of these, 70 per cent were injured during childhood or teenage years and 87 per cent experienced an injury before becoming homeless.

In men under age 40, falls from drug/alcohol blackouts were the most common cause of traumatic brain injury while assault was the most common in men over 40 years old.

Recognition that a TBI sustained in childhood or early teenage years could predispose someone to homelessness may challenge some assumptions that homelessness is a conscious choice made by these individuals, or just the result of their addictions or mental illness, said Dr. Topolovec-Vranic.

This study received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation.

Separately, a recent study by Dr. Stephen Hwang of the hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health, found the number of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed and who have also suffered a TBI may be as high as 61 per cent—seven times higher than the general population.

Dr. Hwang’s study, published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, is one of the largest studies to date investigating TBI in homeless populations. The findings come from the Health and Housing in Transition Study, which tracks the health and housing status of homeless and vulnerably housed people in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa.

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"Veterans need to share the moral burden of war."

(Opinion editorial by Sebastian Junger, originally published in the Washington Post, 24 MAY 2013.)

Sebastian Junger is an author and documentarian whose works include the book “War” and the film “Restrepo,” which tell the story of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan.

Recently I was a guest on a national television show, and the host expressed some indignation when I said that soldiers in Afghanistan don’t much discuss the war they’re fighting. The soldiers are mostly in their teens, I pointed out. Why would we expect them to evaluate U.S. foreign policy?

The host had made the classic error of thinking that war belongs to the soldiers who fight it. That is a standard of accountability not applied to, say, oil-rig workers or police. The environment is collapsing and anti-crime measures can be deeply flawed, but we don’t expect people in those fields to discuss national policy on their lunch breaks.

Soldiers, though, are a special case. Perhaps war is so obscene that even the people who supported it don’t want to hear the details or acknowledge their role. Soldiers face myriad challenges when they return home, but one of the most destructive is the sense that their country doesn’t quite realize that it — and not just the soldiers — went to war. The country approved, financed and justified war — and sent the soldiers to fight it. This is important because it returns the moral burden of war to its rightful place: with the entire nation. If a soldier inadvertently kills a civilian in Baghdad, we all helped kill that civilian. If a soldier loses his arm in Afghanistan, we all lost something.

The growing cultural gap between American society and our military is dangerous and unhealthy. The sense that war belongs exclusively to the soldiers and generals may be one of the most destructive expressions of this gap. Both sides are to blame. I know many soldiers who don’t want to be called heroes — a grotesquely misused word — or told that they did their duty; some don’t want to be thanked. Soldiers know all too well how much killing — mostly of civilians — goes on in war. Congratulations make them feel that people back home have no idea what happens when a human body encounters the machinery of war.

I am no pacifist. I’m glad the police in my home town of New York carry guns, and every war I have ever covered as a journalist has been ended by armed Western intervention. I approved of all of it, including our entry into Afghanistan. (In 2001, U.S. forces effectively ended a civil war that had killed as many as 400,000 Afghans during the previous decade and forced the exodus of millions more. The situation there today is the lowest level of civilian suffering in Afghanistan in 30 years.) But the obscenity of war is not diminished when that conflict is righteous or necessary or noble. And when soldiers come home spiritually polluted by the killing that they committed, or even just witnessed, many hope that their country will share the moral responsibility of such a grave event.

Their country doesn’t. Liberals often say that it’s not their problem because they opposed the war. Conservatives tend to call soldiers “heroes” and pat them on the back. Neither response is honest or helpful. Neither addresses the epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder afflicting our veterans. Rates of suicide, alcoholism, fatal car accidents and incarceration are far higher for veterans than for most of the civilian population. One study predicted that in the next decade 400,000 to 500,000 veterans will have criminal cases in the courts. Our collective avoidance of this problem is unjust and hypocritical. It is also going to be very costly.

Civilians tend to do things that make them, not the veterans, feel better. Yellow ribbons and parades do little to help with the emotional aftermath of combat. War has been part of human culture for tens of thousands of years, and most tribal societies were engaged in some form of warfare when encountered by Western explorers. It might be productive to study how some societies reintegrated their young fighters after the intimate carnage of Stone Age combat. It is striking, in fact, how rarely combat trauma is mentioned in ethnographic studies of cultures.

Typically, warriors were welcomed home by their entire community and underwent rituals to spiritually cleanse them of the effect of killing. Otherwise, they were considered too polluted to be around women and children. Often there was a celebration in which the fighters described the battle in great, bloody detail. Every man knew he was fighting for his community, and every person in the community knew that their lives depended on these young men. These gatherings must have been enormously cathartic for both the fighters and the people they were defending. A question like the one recently posed to me wouldn’t begin to make sense in a culture such as the Yanomami of Brazil and Venezuela or the Comanche.

Our enormously complex society can’t just start performing tribal rituals designed to diminish combat trauma, but there may be things we can do. The therapeutic power of storytelling, for example, could give combat veterans an emotional outlet and allow civilians to demonstrate their personal involvement. On Memorial Day or Veterans Day, in addition to traditional parades, communities could make their city or town hall available for vets to tell their stories. Each could get, say, 10 minutes to tell his or her experience at war.

Attendance could not be mandatory, but on that day “I support the troops” would mean spending hours listening to our vets. We would hear a lot of anger and pain. We would also hear a lot of pride. Some of what would be said would make you uncomfortable, whether you are liberal or conservative, military or nonmilitary, young or old. But there is no point in having a conversation about war that is not completely honest.

Let them speak. They deserve it. In addition to getting our veterans back, we might get our nation back as well.

[H/T Operation Zeus for bringing this article to my attention. -R]

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Apps For Social Workers/Therapists

  • Waze (free)This is a must have if you do home visits.  It is my favorite GPS app and it finds you the fastest routs and alerts you to hazards/police/weather .
  • Dropbox (free)Dropbox lets you share documents among all of your devices and is an easy way to share files with others.
  • Evernote (free): Evernote is an electronic organizer that allows you to take nots and save web pages, photos, research, articles, etc. It is not HIPPA-compliant so refrain from using for client notes.
  • The Square and Paypal: 
  • Social Work Helper (free): This app provides up to date social work related information.
  • GoogleVoice (free)Google voice lets you create a second phone number/work line for your phone.  This is great if you need to call clients while you are in the field but do not want to disclose your actual cell phone number.
  • Line2 (free):  This app lets you have a separate phone line.  You can port your office number to it, and stop carrying two cell phones. While downloading the app is free, the second phone line costs $9.95/month.
  • Card Munch (free): CardMunch allows you to snap photos of a colleague’s business card and convert it to a digital one which it stores in your contacts.  It also synchs with LinkedIn.
  • Remind 101 (free): This app was created for teachers but would be useful for social workers who want to text clients reminders without disclosing their number.
  • PsychDrugs (free)When a client brings up a medication you aren’t familiar with this is a quick way to determine what they are being prescribed.
  • IbisMail ($3.99): This program allows you to set up automatic filters, so you can sort through mail.  But it also allows you to set up folders for client emails, so that you can have them all in one place.  Then it is up to you to decide when you review your patient communications, rather than have everything coming through one inbox.  Supports multiple email accounts.
  • GoToMeeting (free): This is a good app for therapists who want to do online sessions.  It has both desktop and app versions of videoconferencing software, which is HIPAA-compliant.  
  • iAnnotate ($9.99): iAnnotate allows you to mark up .pdf files on your mobile device.  It also supports highlighting and annotating research articles and synchs with Mendeley and Dropbox so you can store your research library with notes online.
  • Mendeley (free): One part social network, one part research library,  Mendeley allows you to store research articles and annotations online and on your device.  It allows you to network with other colleagues to see what they are researching, share articles, and store all of your articles in one place.  Often it can even pull up the bibliographic entry from the web just by reading the .pdf metatag
  • Paypal (free): This is one option for billing clients and paying vendors.  You can invoice by email, transfer money to your bank account, and keep track of online payments on the website. There is usually a small transaction fee but if your client initiates a direct transfer to you then you can get around that. They recently came out with a credit card reader.
  • Square (free): When you register with Square they send you a free credit card reader that you can connect to your smart phone or tablet.  They charge a 2.75% transaction fee.
  • Google Translate (free): It’s good to have a translation tool handy.  It even translates speech.
  • The Savvy Social Worker (free): This app was created by the UB School of Social Work to help social workers stay current with new developments in best practices.
  • Psychological First Aid Tutorial (free): This is a review for previously changed health professionals.
  • Prezi (free): This presentation software allows you to create dynamic visual presentations on your computer or mobile device.  Prezi supports importation from powerpoint, and provides free online hosting of your prezis as well as tons of templates and tutorials.  You can also upload Prezis to your LinkedIn profile.  They look really cool so check out their website for examples.
  • TED (free): This app allows you to stay inspired and experience innovation daily, by beaming TED talks to your mobile device from the offical TED site.  You can favorite, search, and share your favorite ones, or hit “Inspire me” for random ideas.
  • CamScanner (free):  This ap turns your phone into a portable scanner and would be useful for child welfare social workers who often have to make copies of client documents/paperwork.
  • Co-Occuring Conditions Toolkit (free): A quick reference when treating patients presenting with mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and common co-morbid conditions.
  • Narrative Therapy QuestionsThis app is interactive and demonstrates narrative therapy questions.
  • 101 Theory ($1.99): This is a social work theory app that contains over 101 theories for practitioners.It allows you to quickly conduct a search and find a description as well as an overview of whatever theory you want to know more about.

Apps for Adult Clients (and clinician self-care)

  • Unfrazzle (free)This is an ap for caregivers that helps them keep track of their day-to-day tasks, and appointments.  They can set remindser and share tasks with others.
  • PTSD Coach (free): Mobile app created by the Department of Veteran Affairs to track PTSD symptoms and provide information and support to sufferers.  Review from a follower: “I can’t speak highly enough of this app, it’s been an instrumental tool in my recovery from PTSD.  It prompts you to do a variety of exercises and activities, allows you to rate the severity of the symptom and makes suggestions based on how severe the symptom is.  It’s very easy to use and I frankly can’t imagine not having it.”
  • PTSD Connect: This app aims to connect people with PTSD to accessible information and support.
  • CBTReferee ($4.99): A useful tool for clients in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to keep track of their thoughts and become their own “referee.”
  • eCBTCalm ($.99): CBT Calm helps people who are feeling stressed and want to learn relaxation skills. It assesses your stress level, provides relaxation skills, and also includes links to online resources for stress and anxiety.
  • Micromedex (free): Keeping up-to-date on medications is pretty daunting, but this app, with frequent updates, helps you keep track od a medication, its Black Box warnings, contraindications, drug interactions, adverse effects, alternate names, standard dosages and more.
  • Unstuck (free): Unstuck is an ipad app for personal growth, designed to kick-start success for specific kinds of stuck moments
  • DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach ($4.99): THis is a DBT resource manual that provides an easy way to fill out diary cards.
  • eMoods Mood Tracker ($1.99)This ap lets clients track their moods, medication, triggers, etc.
  • Live Happy ($.99): This is a strengths-based ap that draws on principals of positive psychology.  It helps clients to engage in coping tools, exploration and mindfulness.
  • GPS For The Soul (free): This app helps you track and self-regulate your stress.
  • My Pain Diary ($4.99): This is an award-winning app that helps clients manage chronic pain.
  • Gothere ($4.99)This ap provides directions and compares cost and travel time between driving and taking a bus, train or taxi.  There is a free Safari version of this ap.
  • One Love Lite (free): This app helps people detect abusive patterns in their relationship and aids in seeking professional assistance.  Remember that having this kind of app on ones own phone can be dangerous for someone in a current abusive relationship.  
  • Circle Of 6 (free): This app connects abuse victims who are not currently in abusive relationships with a circle of support.
  • Intend (free): The change reminder app for people who are working to create positive change in their lives.
  • Happier (free): This app encourages people to reflect and share a few happy moments each day.

Apps for Child Clients

  • Don’t Feed The Worry Bug ($2.99): This is an interactive story book from the Worry Woos collection that helps kids learn how to manage their anxiety.
  • Calm Counter ($2.99): This is a social story and anger management tool for children with special needs that helps them choose different calm down strategies.
  • The Sesame Street Incarceration App (free): This app provides parents and caregivers with tools to help children ages 3-8 cope with the many transitions related to a parent’s incarceration.
  • Sesame Street For Military Families (free): The Sesame Street for Military Families app puts all of Sesame’s bilingual (English & Spanish) resources for military families right in one place.

This list was compiled from apps featured in a number of articles, on pinterest  and in my phone.  I have not tried many of these apps personally so do your research before downloading.  To view the source articles click herehere, here, and here.  Does anyone have any favorite apps they want to share?

If you are interested in social work related technology then check out this great blog: SocialWorkTech