Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Global Brain Awareness Week March 14 to 20, 2011

Global Brain Awareness Week dovetails well this week with the current discussion in the NHL re brain injuries sustained by players.

I discussed this yesterday in my blog post Traumatic Brain Injury: Giving TBI the Attention It Deserves.

The National Museum for Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. will put the focus on brain sciences as it celebrates Brain Awareness Week. Among its activities will be welcoming approximately 850 middle school students to the museum to learn about the brain and the dangers of traumatic brain injury or TBI.

According to the museum's website, "After a brief introductory lecture about brain anatomy, students will rotate through hands-on activity stations to learn about different brain functions, influences on the brain and brain disorders."

The web site lists the museum's nine Partners in Education for Global Brain Awareness Week. Anyone interested in learning more about how the brain works and brain injury may find it helpful to explore some of these sites.

 Two sites that I find very helpful are:
I find the second site especially helpful because of my own interest in issues related to former combatants when they return home from war. For them, both TBI and traumatic brain injury may be major issues.

The Dana Alliance first established National Brain Awareness Week programs five years ago, notes the museum's website. The purpose of the annual week was "linking scientists, clunicians, journalists, and other educators in an annual effort to raise public awareness about the brain and brain science."

There's a long way to go before we have adequate awareness of the risks of traumatic brain injury. The concussion of childhood accidents and sports are hardly as benign as they were once considered, never mind the head injuries sustained all too regularly in professional sports.

It's imperative that primary care givers, such as family physicians and walk-in clinic doctors, take the time to screen for the possibility of traumatic brain injuries.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists all need to have the question in their mind as to whether any of what their patients present with may be due to traumatic brain injury.

There are a variety of psychiatric sequellae, or side-effects, of sustaining a concussion or other traumatic brain injury. Health care and mental health professionals of all disciplines need to be more aware of this reality, and know how to determine whether there is a previous history of traumatic brain injury.

Mental health sequellae of traumatic brain injury may include episodes of anger, depression, addiction issues, apathy, and other issues.

Nest: We'll take a closer look at mental health issues following traumatic brain injury.

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