Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
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#5Thoughts Friday

Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:

Neuralink, Elon Musk's startup that's trying to directly link brains and computers, has developed a system to feed thousands of electrical probes into a brain and hopes to start testing the technology on humans in in 2020, Chief Executive Elon Musk revealed. And it's working already in animal tests. "A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain," Musk said at a San Francisco livestreaming the presentation on YouTube , revealing even more research results than the company's scientists expected.

Neuralink's initial goal is to help people deal with brain and spinal cord injuries or congenital defects, Musk said. The technology could help paraplegics who have lost the ability to move or sense because of spinal cord injury -- a medical treatment that's a lot less shocking than radical sci-fi ideas like "consensual telepathy." 

But the long-term goal is to build a "digital superintelligence layer" to link humans with artificial intelligence, a technology he views as an existential threat to humanity.

"Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interfaces where we can achieve a sort of symbiosis with AI," Musk said. One goal along the way will be letting people type 40 words per minute just by thinking.

CLICK HERE to read more about a new miracle implant coming to a brain near you.

CLICK HERE to see the latest Neurolink tests completed this week.
Group Check-In Chat
from Noon to 1pm.

Please CLICK HERE to sign up using our online registration.

Once we receive your registration, we will send you the link.

We hope to "see" you there!
We are witnessing mandated social isolation and social distancing on an epic scale. As part of BIAMD's interest in serving Maryland's Brain Injury Community, we are starting what we call "Check-In Chats".

We would like to "check in" with anyone looking to share their experiences and challenges with either an individual or in a social group setting.

Even though we can't meet in person, there are many ways open to us, and, if you are interested, we would like to hear from you about your needs and how we can help you feel more connected.

The Maryland Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program (MD VIPP) and the Partnership for a Safer Maryland (PSM) are hosting the 2020 MD Violence and Injury Prevention (MD VIP) Virtual Forum for individuals that are interested in and/or working on violence and injury prevention projects and programs. This includes intentional and unintentional injury topics such as intimate partner/sexual violence, suicide prevention, and alcohol/substance use disorder.
CLICK HERE to Register for this FREE Virtual Forum.
Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash
A new review outlines a three-stage classification of the impact of COVID-19 on the central nervous system and recommends hospitalized patients with the virus all undergo MRI to flag potential neurologic damage and inform postdischarge monitoring.
In stage 1, viral damage is limited to epithelial cells of the nose and mouth, and in stage 2 blood clots that form in the lungs may travel to the brain, leading to stroke. In stage 3, the virus crosses the blood–brain barrier and invades the brain.

"Our major take-home points are that patients with COVID-19 symptoms, such as shortness of breath, headache, or dizziness, may have neurological symptoms that, at the time of hospitalization, might not be noticed or prioritized, or whose neurological symptoms may become apparent only after they leave the hospital," lead author Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, medical director of NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center, McLean, Virginia, told Medscape Medical News.

"Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 should have a neurological evaluation and ideally a brain MRI before leaving the hospital; and, if there are abnormalities, they should follow up with a neurologist in 3 to 4 months," said Fotuhi, who is also affiliate staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. 

The review was published online June 8 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

It has become "increasingly evident" that SARS-CoV-2 can cause neurologic manifestations, including anosmia, seizures, stroke, confusion, encephalopathy, and total paralysis, the authors write.

The authors note that SARS-CoV-2 binds to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) that facilitates the conversion of angiotensin II to angiotensin. After ACE2 has bound to respiratory epithelial cells, and then to epithelial cells in blood vessels, SARS-CoV-2 triggers the formation of a "cytokine storm."

These cytokines, in turn, increase vascular permeability, edema, and widespread inflammation, as well as triggering "hypercoagulation cascades," which cause small and large blood clots that affect multiple organs.
If SARS-CoV-2 crosses the blood–brain barrier, directly entering the brain, it can contribute to demyelination or neurodegeneration.

"We very thoroughly reviewed the literature published between January 1 and May 1, 2020 about neurological issues [in COVID-19] and what I found interesting is that so many neurological things can happen due to a virus which is so small," said Fotuhi.

"This virus' DNA has such limited information, and yet it can wreak havoc on our nervous system because it kicks off such a potent defense system in our body that damages our nervous system," he said.

CLICK HERE to find out more on these recent COVID-19 links to brain injury.

CLICK HERE to read the journal article.

ONLINE Brain Injury Support Groups

CLICK HERE to find a list of Brain Injury Support Groups Currently Meeting ONLINE.

When the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, estrogen produced by neurons in both males and females hyperactivates another brain cell type called astrocytes to step up their usual support and protect brain function.
In the face of low brain oxygen that can occur with stroke or other brain injury, these astrocytes, star-shaped brain cells that help give the brain its shape and regularly provide fuel and other support to neurons, should become “highly reactive,” increasing cell signaling, releasing neuroprotective factors and clearing neurotoxins, scientists report in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Astrocytes also should start producing protective estrogen, but it’s neurons’ producing estrogen that is critical to the protective cascade, they report.

“Astrocytes are always there and hovering and supporting,” says Dr. Darrell W. Brann, neuroscientist and Virendra B. Mahesh Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience in the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

“When something bad happens, they are supposed to go into overdrive, get big and pushy, but this work suggests that you have to have neural estrogen for that to happen,” Brann says.
The scientists say that theirs appears to be the first report demonstrating that neuron-derived estrogen is critical to astrocyte activation following an ischemic injury like a stroke. They reason that by understanding how estrogen is controlled, it will unlock therapeutic targets to one day help regulate the hormone’s protection in the brain in the face of these maladies, as well as potentially normal aging.

CLICK HERE for more on this recent research out of the Medical College of Georgia.
CLICK HERE for more information about the the services, resources, and connections you can make with through the Maryland Coalition of Families.
Feature Event ONLINE : Sept. 22 and 23, 2020

Workgroup Sessions : Sept. 24, 25, 28, & 29, 2020

Podcasts Available : Beginning Sept. 22, 2020

Post-Intensive Workshop : Sept. 29, 2020

CLICK HERE for the Agenda (Tentative.)

CLICK HERE to Register
2) What We are Reading This Week
A National Bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year

It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.

In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of disease, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in.

CLICK HERE for more on this book.
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

  • "We are kept from our goals, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to lesser goals".

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


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 Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.