Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
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"Making Your Best Move"

The 2019
Brain Injury Association of Maryland Annual Conference

Registration is now
Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
Credit: Gong Chen Lab, Penn State
A simple drug cocktail that converts cells neighboring damaged neurons into functional new neurons could potentially be used to treat stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and brain injuries. A team of researchers at Penn State identified a set of four, or even three, molecules that could convert glial cells--which normally provide support and insulation for neurons--into new neurons. A paper describing the approach appears online in the journal  Stem Cell Reports  on February 7, 2019.

"The biggest problem for brain repair is that neurons don't regenerate after brain damage, because they don't divide," said Gong Chen, professor of biology and Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences at Penn State and leader of the research team. "In contrast, glial cells, which gather around damaged brain tissue, can proliferate after brain injury. I believe turning glial cells that are the neighbors of dead neurons into new neurons is the best way to restore lost neuronal functions."

Chen's team previously published research describing a sequence of nine small molecules that could directly convert human glial cells into neurons, but the large number of molecules and the specific sequence required for reprogramming the glial cells complicated the transition to a clinical treatment. In the current study, the team tested various numbers and combinations of molecules to identify a streamlined approach to the reprogramming of astrocytes, a type of glial cells, into neurons.

CLICK HERE to become "Limitless"?.
The 9-to-5 workday originated with  American labor unions  in the 1800s, and today, the eight-hour workday is the norm. But however normalized the schedule, it is directly opposed to something more powerful: biology.

In  a new study , scientists report that people whose internal body clocks tell them to go to bed late, but are then forced to wake up early, have a lower resting brain connectivity in the regions of the brain linked to consciousness.
Scientists shared their findings Friday in the journal  SLEEP , with the article, “Circadian phenotype impacts the brain’s resting state functional connectivity, attentional performance and sleepiness.”

Lead author and University of Birmingham researcher  Elise Facer-Childs, Ph.D. , explains to Inverse that while varying levels of brain connectivity do not always relate to something negative, in this study, lower levels were less than positive.
During the experiment, the scientists evaluated the brain function of 38 people while they slept, measuring their levels of melatonin and cortisol with MRI scans. They were also asked to report on their levels of sleepiness and when during the day they felt most alert.

Ultimately, they found that “morning larks” had higher resting brain connectivity — which in turn was associated with better attentional performance and lower daytime sleepiness over the course of the working day. Facer-Childs explains that this likely means their brains were more primed for doing tasks and being less sleepy.

CLICK HERE , especially if you are reading this after 2 am.
For the past 14 years, I’ve been living a reasonably productive life with a brain injury. All things considered, I’ve done pretty well except for one big stumbling block. Some of the most fundamental problems I faced early on just won’t go away. Isn’t it enough already? After coming so far, I’d expect to have gotten over them by now. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

I could give you plenty of examples, but I’ll get right to the heart of the matter. Early in rehab, when I was asked a question, my response may have started on topic, but I was quickly distracted by another thought and changed direction. That only lasted until my next distraction, which sent me off on another tangent, then another, until I was so far from the original subject I had no idea where I’d started, or where I was going.

The problem was, I just couldn’t get to the point. Sad to say, I still can’t. I was taught strategies to self-monitor: delay, breathe, and think before I speak. I try to catch myself before digressing, but it rarely works. At least by now, I know when I’m screwing up and stop before I get too far. That’s when I say, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you,” or “What was I talking about?” It works in a conversation, but not when I’m writing my blog.

That’s a whole other story, although in many ways it’s the same. I start with an idea, the computer, and the determination to stay on task. However, once I write my first draft, the process starts to unravel. One rewrite after another and I’m headed down the rabbit hole. I go round in circles trying to figure out what I am really talking about. Sometimes I edit so much that I find myself back where I began. Other times I throw it all out and start something entirely different. The process can take weeks… and weeks.

CLICK HERE to read more of Laurie's story.

Each year The Heritage Players , a non-profit community theater group performing on the grounds of Spring Grove Hospital Center, stage a concert of a famous musical or movie. And each year, the Heritage Players donate a portion of the proceeds of the concert to a local non-profit organization serving the community.

This year the Heritage Players are singing Stephen Sondheim's
and have selected
the Brain Injury Association of Maryland
to be the recipient of this year's donation.

to buy tickets and
find out more about this unique concert event.

BIAMD would wholeheartedly like to thank The Heritage Players for selecting the Brain Injury Association of Maryland to be this year's recipient of such a wonderful community reinvestment.

2) What We Are Reading That You Might Enjoy
A narcoleptic's tireless journey through the neuroscience of disordered sleep

Whether it's a bout of bad jet lag or a stress-induced all-nighter, we've all suffered from nights that left us feeling less than well-rested. But for some people, getting a bad night's sleep isn't just an inconvenience: it's a nightmare.

In Sleepyhead, science writer Henry Nicholls uses his own experience with chronic narcolepsy as a gateway to better understanding the cryptic, curious, and relatively uncharted world of sleep disorders. We meet insomniacs who can't get any sleep, narcoleptics who can't control when they sleep, and sleep apnea victims who nearly suffocate in their sleep. We learn the underlying difference between morning larks and night owls; why our sleeping habits shift as we grow older; and the evolutionary significance of REM sleep and dreaming. Charming, eye-opening, and deeply humanizing, Sleepyhead will help us all uncover the secrets of a good night's sleep.

CLICK HERE for Zzzzzz.

 If you decide to buy this book, please don't forget to use  Amazon Smile  and select the Brain Injury Association of Maryland as your donation beneficiary.
5) Quote We Are Contemplating...

 "If the world is cold,
make it your business to build fires."

Stay Safe. Stay Warm.

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  Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.