Well, March is here. Hello, March! I’m always happy to see you again, and glad to be on the downhill roll toward spring, although here in Northeast Ohio, famous for its lake-effect gray skies, it’s hard to predict when we’ll actually see the sun. No matter. I can hear birds and there’s a nice, ozoney snap in the air. That will do for now.
March is also TBI and Brain Injury Awareness Month and as we learn more about the workings of the brain and count the casualties coming in from combat, sports and accidents, it’s worth paying some attention.
It’s estimated that each year, 1.2 million people in the US sustain a TBI – 475,000 of them children. They’re caused by falls (35%); car crashes (17%); workplace accidents (16%); assaults (10%) and assorted other things.
Of those, 52,000 will die. 275,000 will be hospitalized. 1,365 million will be treated and released in the E.R. The costs for treatment are astronomical, estimated by the CDC at $76.3 billion a year.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is we’re expanding what we know about the brain by leaps and bounds; and the research on what is variously called “mental imagery”, “motor imagery”, “mental practice” or “guided imagery” from sports medicine and physical rehabilitation – with both stroke and TBI patients – is yielding exciting and hopeful outcomes… so much so, it’s hard to keep up with it all.
Just to give you a quick look, you can find 94 studies on mental imagery and stroke here at PubMed, and another 60 on mental imagery and brain injury here. There are 55 on mental practice and sports rehab here. These by no means overlap; and in the short space of the time between my writing this article and when this page gets posted, the list will have grown.
These are your tax dollars at work, people, courtesy of the National Library of Medicine. I love the place, and it’s yours to root around in and get edified, as much as you like. So by all means, avail yourselves and feel better about what we’re learning.
Okay, take care and be well.
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