Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
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Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
After Kevin Pearce suffered a serious brain injury, he and his brother, Adam, founded LoveYourBrain Yoga.

The effort to expand LoveYourBrain to Maryland was spearheaded by Tom Longest, a Baltimore native [and long-time friend and supporter of BIAMD] who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2007 after falling off a ladder. 
Longest, 51, completed a 200-hour course to become a certified yoga instructor and another 18-hour session at a LoveYourBrain yoga studio in Philadelphia to help others such as himself.

“At first, it was exclusively physical, but what I quickly realized was that there was some phenomenon there happening with my body and my mind, and it was through the breathing that allowed me to sort of notice it much more on the mental side than on the physical side,” said Longest, who will help teach the sessions at Yoga on York and teaches yoga to seniors as a volunteer at a gym in Timonium. “I didn’t even expect that. I was a typical guy raised in the city, and talking about yoga for a guy, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s not for me.’ It was a stretch to get there, but when I did, I realized that there was a lot more there than just the physical aspect.”

CLICK HERE to read the recent Baltimore Sun article on this wonderful new Maryland program.
Funded by the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, a group of researchers at Dartmouth assessed the effectiveness of the program by conducting semi-structured interviews of 13 participants with traumatic brain injury and 3 caregivers who had completed the 6 week, 6 session program. The results are published in the February, 2019 issue of Disability Rehabilitation,
which concluded LoveYourBrain Yoga successfully promoted community integration for people with traumatic brain injury. It also facilitated diverse and meaningful physical, psychological, and social health benefits, which suggest that it may be an effective mode of community-based rehabilitation.

Kevin Pearce, a Vermont resident and world leading professional snowboarder, suffered a near fatal traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 winter Olympics. Kevin’s remarkable resilience since his injury has inspired millions through the award-winning HBO documentary, The Crash Reel. Using the visibility generated by his success as a professional snowboarder and the international acclaim achieved by The Crash Reel, Kevin and his brother Adam created the LoveYourBrain Foundation, a non-profit organization that is working to connect, educate and empower people with Traumatic Brain Injury and to promote prevention programs. Building on Kevin’s own experience, the LoveYourBrain Yoga program has become central to the Foundation’s mission. The program incorporates group-based breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and psychoeducation. The first six weekly sessions of the program are open only to the TBI community. Participants who complete the program can remain in the yoga community by taking gentle classes at studios throughout the country taught by yoga teachers with specialized training through the Foundation (at a discounted rate.)

As most yoga teachers recognize (including the author of this blog) one of the important benefits of the yoga program was building, through this shared experience, a sustained sense of community connection. This is particularly important to a TBI survivor isolated by her injury and impaired in the ability to make those connections. About half of the participants in the program sustained relationships built during the program and felt more capable of accessing other activities in the community. Most participants also reported physical benefits including improvements in strength, balance and flexibility and cognitive benefits, particularly the ability to control attention. Participants also reported ongoing use of tools such as breathing exercises to cope with negative emotions and stress.

The study concluded LoveYourBrain Yoga successfully promoted community integration for people with traumatic brain injury. It also facilitated diverse and meaningful physical, psychological, and social health benefits, which suggest that it may be an effective mode of community-based rehabilitation.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the study.
CLICK HERE to see the study abstract.
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A pilot study offers “a very promising start” in the effort to help people recover from traumatic brain injuries.
More than 3 million Americans live with disabling brain injuries. The vast majority of these individuals are lost to the medical system soon after their initial treatment, to be cared for by family or to fend for themselves, managing fatigue, attention and concentration problems with little hope of improvement.

On Saturday, a team of scientists reported a glimmer of hope. Using an implant that stimulates activity in key areas of the brain, they restored near-normal levels of brain function to a middle-aged woman who was severely injured in a car accident 18 years ago.

Experts said the woman was a test case, and that it was far from clear whether the procedure would prompt improvements for others like her. That group includes an estimated 3 million to 5 million people, many of them veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with disabilities related to traumatic brain injuries.

“This is a pilot study,” said Dr. Steven R. Flanagan, the chairman of the department of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Langone Health, who was not part of the research team. “And we certainly cannot generalize from it. But I think it’s a very promising start, and there is certainly more to come in this work.”

The woman, now in her early 40s, was a student when the accident occurred. She soon recovered sufficiently to live independently. But she suffered from persistent fatigue and could not read or concentrate for long, leaving her unable to hold a competitive job, socialize much, or resume her studies.

“Her life has changed,” said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, a professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine and a member of the study team. “She is much less fatigued, and she’s now reading novels. The next patient might not do as well. But we want keep going to see what happens.”

CLICK HERE for the rest of NY Times Article.
What We are Reading We Think
You Might FInd Interesting
For fans of  Brain on Fire  and  My Stroke of Insight , an incredible first-person account of one woman’s journey to regaining her language and identity after a brain aneurysm affects her ability to communicate.

Lauren Marks was twenty-seven, touring a show in Scotland with her friends, when an aneurysm ruptured in her brain and left her fighting for her life. She woke up in a hospital soon after with serious deficiencies to her reading, speaking, and writing abilities, and an unfamiliar diagnosis: aphasia. This would be shocking news for anyone, but Lauren was a voracious reader, an actress, director, and dramaturg, and at the time of the event, pursuing her PhD. At any other period of her life, this diagnosis would have been a devastating blow. But she woke up...different. The way she perceived her environment and herself had profoundly changed, her entire identity seemed crafted around a language she could no longer access. She returned to her childhood home to recover, grappling with a muted inner monologue and fractured sense of self.

Alternating between fascination and frustration, she relearns and re-experiences many of the things we take for granted—reading a book, understanding idioms, even sharing a “first kiss”—and begins to reconcile “The Girl I Used to Be” with “The Girl I Am Now.” Deeply personal and powerful,  A Stitch of Time  is an unforgettable journey of self-discovery, resilience, and hope.

CLICK HERE for more.

 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...

"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and
decorate your own soul." 

Have you ever clicked on the beautiful pictures posted at the end of every #5ThoughtsFridays? Try it. You might learn something fun!
Stay Safe. Enjoy the Warmth.

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  Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.