Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD
The " Hobbit First Edition " Edition
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The 2018 BIAMD
Scarecrow Classic
Sun, Sep 30, 2018 8:30 AM EST
Scarecrow Classic 5k and 1 Mile Walk
University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Catonsville

SEPTEMBER 30, 2018
Scarecrow Classic 5k/1Mile

This year we are
Celebrating the life of Chris Burdette
Sun, Sep 30, 2018 8:30 AM EST
DONATE NOW - TEAM DONATION PAGE for Scarecrow Classic 5k and 1 Mile Walk
University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Catonsville
Don't want to run but still want to help!

Join Scarecrow Ops Team as a Volunteer !

Click Below, select your Job, your Shift,
and join the fun!.

Great way to receive Community Service Hours for Graduation Requirements.
Here are the 5 things we thought were
worth sharing with you this week:
Study reveals how, when a synapse strengthens, its neighbors weaken.
Our brains are famously flexible, or “plastic,” because neurons can do new things by forging new or stronger connections with other neurons. But if some connections strengthen, neuroscientists have reasoned, neurons must compensate lest they become overwhelmed with input. In a new study in Science, researchers at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT demonstrate for the first time how this balance is struck: when one connection, called a synapse, strengthens, immediately neighboring synapses weaken based on the action of a crucial protein called Arc.

Senior author Mriganka Sur said he was excited but not surprised that his team discovered a simple, fundamental rule at the core of such a complex system as the brain, where 100 billion neurons each have thousands of ever-changing synapses. He likens it to how a massive school of fish can suddenly change direction, en masse, so long as the lead fish turns and every other fish obeys the simple rule of following the fish right in front of it.

This finding, he said, provides an explanation of how synaptic strengthening and weakening combine in neurons to produce plasticity.

CLICK HERE to see see more on MIT's study.
Therapists working with people at risk for suicide rely on the patient's words to determine how serious they might be. They can't look inside the patient's mind to know for sure. Researchers in Pittsburgh are hoping to change that.

With the help of a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, they will analyze the differences in brain scans of suicidal and non-suicidal young adults to detect those most at risk and develop personalized therapies. The ultimate goal is to use brain imaging to predict who will attempt suicide, researchers said.

"We've shown retroactively we can tell who has made an attempt," said Marcel Just, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, who is conducting the research with David Brent, endowed chair in suicide studies at the University of Pittsburgh. "But it would be enormously valuable if we can tell who's going to make an attempt. That could actually save lives."

Suicide rates have been rising across the country, and it is the second leading cause of death among college students. By identifying levels of risk, "you may be able to give people at higher risk more intensive treatment," Brent said.

CLICK HERE t o learn more about this encouraging study.
3) The Maryland Department of Health Invites Comments on the Proposed Changes to the way certain state plan participants and families obtain and manage their services.
The  Community First Choice Program  and  Community Personal Assistance Services   are Medicaid state plan services for people who need assistance with  activities of daily living   (ADLS) and  instrumental activities of daily living  (IADLS).  The programs provide assistance with activities of daily living to qualifying Medicaid recipients who have a chronic illness, medical condition or disability which includes individuals living with a brain injury. These services are intended help people get the supports that they need to stay in the  community  in their own homes instead of living in an institution or transitioning individuals from institutions back to the their own homes in the community.
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has proposed a processing for implementing a  self-directed service  option to its CPAS and CFC services. 

The traditional model of services managed through a provider agency will still be available. Participants can choose move from self directed services to traditional by contacting their Supports Planner to submit a change to their service plan. Additionally, MDH is proposing to change the management of  transition service  funds to be changed from individual supports planning agencies to one fiscal management services (FMS) vendor for the entire state.  The FMS vendor will also be responsible for training participants in becoming an employer and rights and responsibilities of self direction. This change was made because the supports planning agencies lacked capacity to continue to administer transition service funds.

For people with brain injury and their caregivers, it is important to note that the proposed self directed services model does not change the rule that prohibits legally liable relatives from becoming the personal assistance providers for their family member. However, the new model does allow the participant to designate someone else to direct their services under the self directed service model. 

Generally, the addition of the self directed models allow participants and families additional options for how to obtain and manage their services.

The public has the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes found HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Send your comments .   Links are imbedded above that link to federal or state definitions used to define the terms for purposes of the CFC and CPAS programs.
2) What We Are Reading We Think You Might Enjoy
Winner of "A Change of Mind: One Family’s Journey Through Brain Injury" by Janelle Breese Biagioni in last week's "Read What We are Reading” Giveaway.
Hey! You Can Win The Book Below!

Send an email to with the
Subject Line: I Like To Read! and your name and mailing address in the email . We will enter your name into a drawing to receive a free copy of the book mailed to you for your reading pleasure!
At the age of 27 Karen Wells was an Olympic contender & successful corporate manager. Within one step of fulfilling her Olympic dream, a bicycle accident left Karen with a severe traumatic brain injury, which changed her life completely & forever.

Blessed tragedy is the story of her dramatic journey. Karen shares how her shattered skull resulted in living her worst nightmare, while encountering denial, despair, anger, helplessness & doubt. She eventually found peace & is comforted by the most brilliant endless hope one can imagine, but not without traveling a very humble road of endless complications. Severe headaches, loss of speech & major cognitive deficits devastated Karen, not to mention the development of a seizure disorder, compounded by the delayed diagnosis of cerebralspinal fluid leaks, which resulted in twelve shunt surgeries and nine brain surgeries. In the midst of physical chaos, Karen road an emotional rollercoaster.

Her promising career in shambles & seven year marriage crumbling, Karen attempted suicide. Hitting rock bottom was the cornerstone for Karen's recovery.

Blessed tragedy is an inspiration to all who read it.
  (If you decide to buy anything mentioned in #5ThoughtsFriday, don't forget to use  Amazon Smile  and select the Brain Injury Association of Maryland as your donation beneficiary.) 
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

"Perhaps we don’t really hate Mondays. What we really hate, maybe, is the nagging sensation that we are not fully present in our own lives. Mondays nudge us to ask:

In how much of this life am I truly free?"

Recruiting Registered Nurses of Individuals with SCI, TBI, and/or Burn Injury

The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center   is conducting interviews with registered nurses (RNs) who provide care and services to individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and/or burn injury. Answers from the interviews will be used for research purposes to better understand (a) the health information needs of RNs who provide care and services for such injuries and (b) their participation in research studies. To be eligible to participate, RNs must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have provided services and care to patients with SCI,TBI, and/or burn injury in post-acute rehabilitation settings in the past 5 years
  • Must have 5 or more years of experience treating these injuries
  • Interviews will last approximately 60 minutes. Participants will receive $125 for their time.

Contact: If you’re interested in participating, please contact Dr. Ali Weinstein: 703-993-9632 or .  
Test Your Brain Injury Prevention Skills.
Can You Spot the Potential Brain Injury?

Did you enjoy #5ThoughtsFriday? If so, please forward this email to a friend! 

Got a story we need to follow or share? Send it to .  

Want to find a story from a past #5ThoughtsFriday blog posts, visit the archive by clicking HERE .

  Please let us know your requests and suggestions by emailing us at or contacting us on Twitter. 

  Which bullet above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Let us know! Just send a tweet to  @biamd1 and put #5ThoughtsFriday in there so we can find it.

  Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.