Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
  #5Thoughts Friday
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Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
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Let me be honest with you: I am not a morning person. Then again, I’m not a particular fan of parking in Annapolis. When the choice came to driving down to Annapolis or taking a charter bus to Harm Reduction Advocacy Day, I chose to get up earlier than usual, park in the outskirts of a Safeway parking lot, and hop on the bus. Though I was quiet (again, not a morning person), the bus was full of people and friendly chatter. By the time we got to Annapolis, people were passionately discussing the things that mattered to them most. For some, it was access to abortion, homeless services, infectious disease research; but the overarching message was that these people cared about people. This only became more apparent throughout the day.

Before we dive into the day: if you’re new to harm reduction or you don’t know what that means, that’s great! Welcome. Let me share a little about what harm reduction is and why it matters to me. Harm reduction, to me, is a philosophy about how we treat people who engage in higher-risk behaviors and a set of strategies we can use to help keep those folks safe. What’s high-risk behavior? In the context of harm reduction, that usually means drug use and sex work. But we all engage in risky behaviors on a day to day basis too: I drive and that carries risk of accident and injury, so to reduce that risk I wear a seatbelt and drive the speed limit. I’m a redhead meaning I’m prone to sunburn, so I wear sunscreen to keep my skin safe and reduce my risk of skin cancer.

People have a lot of feelings, biases, ideas, and personal/familial history related to people who use drugs which is why you might hear harm reduction cast as controversial. I try to operate from a place of compassion and empathy when it comes to all that I do, whether I work with people with brain injuries, people who have experienced trauma, or people who use drugs and alcohol.
CLICK HERE to find out more about Jess's insights and photos from her day at the Harm Reduction Advocacy Day in Annapolis.
WE may have missed the Conference that doesn't mean we can't hand out some awards.

Please CLICK HERE for the 2020 Alicia Cignatta Spirit of Independence Awards Presentation. We thank everyone who who told us about all of our wonderful nominees and we congratulate all of this year's recipients.

CLICK HERE for a transcript of this event.

Expanding the housing policy of the State to include providing for fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; stating the Act seeks to deconcentrate poverty by providing additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods; prohibiting a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income; establishing qualifications and limitations on the prohibition against discrimination in housing based on source of income; etc.

SB530 and HB 231 have passed both chambers and are with Governor Hogan awaiting his signature.   

Zoom Room Support Group Meeting for Caregivers

If you're missing your in-person Brian Injury Caregiver Support Group due to cancellations but still would like to join in with others caring for a Brain Injury Survivor, please join our Zoom Room Support Group Meeting for Caregivers this Sunday evening from 7:30-8:45pm (Eastern Time).
Login with this link:
Find out more information on our website:  
or contact Tom Gallup at
Photo by  Thomas Willmott  on  Unsplash
Insights into how pathological fear memory
in PTSD could be suppressed
How does the brain form "fear memory" that links a traumatic event to a particular situation? A pair of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, may have found an answer.

Using a mouse model, the researchers demonstrated the formation of fear memory involves the strengthening of neural pathways between two brain areas: the hippocampus, which responds to a particular context and encodes it, and the amygdala, which triggers defensive behavior, including fear responses.

Study results appear today in  Nature Communications .
"It has been hypothesized that fear memory is formed by strengthening the connections between the hippocampus and amygdala," said Jun-Hyeong Cho, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology and the study's lead author. "Experimental evidence, however, has been weak. Our study now demonstrates for the first time that the formation of fear memory associated with a context indeed involves the strengthening of the connections between the hippocampus and amygdala."
According to Cho, weakening these connections could erase the fear memory.

"Our study, therefore, also provides insights into developing therapeutic strategies to suppress maladaptive fear memories in post-traumatic stress disorder patients," he said

CLICK HERE to read the article about this study.

CLICK HERE to read the study.
Photo by  Cassandra Hamer  on  Unsplash
Process that uses smell can strengthen memories
stored in one side of the brain
A new joint study by Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Weizmann Institute of Science researchers has yielded an innovative method for bolstering memory processes in the brain during sleep.

The method relies on a memory-evoking scent administered to one nostril. It helps researchers understand how sleep aids memory, and in the future could possibly help to restore memory capabilities following brain injuries, or help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for whom memory often serves as a trigger.

The new study was led by Ella Bar, a PhD student at TAU and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Other principal investigators include Prof. Yuval Nir of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, as well as Profs. Yadin Dudai, Noam Sobel and Rony Paz, all of Weizmann's Department of Neurobiology. It was published in Current Biology on March 5.

"We know that a memory consolidation process takes place in the brain during sleep," Bar explains. "For long-term memory storage, information gradually transitions from the hippocampus -- a brain region that serves as a temporary buffer for new memories -- to the neocortex. But how this transition happens remains an unsolved mystery."

"By triggering consolidation processes in only one side of the brain during sleep, we were able to compare the activity between the hemispheres and isolate the specific activity that corresponds to memory reactivation," Prof. Nir adds.

CLICK HERE to read the article, then go take your nap!
CLICK HERE to check out this fantastic Brain Injury Awareness month Public Service Announcement from the Kennedy Krieger Institute!
2) What We are Reading This Week and Know You Will Enjoy
Jack Price is Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at King's College London and Head of the Division of Advanced Therapies at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control.

Stem cell therapies are the subject of enormous hype, endowed by the media with almost magical qualities and imagined by the public to bring about miracle cures. Stem cells have the potential to generate new cells of different types, and have been shown to do so in certain cases. Could stem cell transplants repair the damaged brain? In this book, neurobiologist Jack Price assesses the potential of stem cell therapies to treat such brain disorders as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injuries.

New technologies, Price reports, challenge the very notion of cell transplantation, instead seeking to convince the brain itself to manufacture the new cells it needs. Could this be the true future of brain repair?

CLICK HERE to find out more.
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

"We will either find a way or make one."

Have you ever clicked on the pictures posted at the end of every #5ThoughtsFridays? Try it. You might learn something fun!
Photo by  Henry & Co.  on  Unsplash

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  Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.