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The Long-Term Effects of Brain Injury

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   March 2, 2013 13:56

Researchers from the University of South Florida and colleagues at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital studying the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) using rat models, have found that, overtime, TBI results in progressive brain deterioration characterized by elevated inflammation and suppressed cell regeneration. However, therapeutic intervention, even in the chronic stage of TBI, may still help prevent cell death. 

Their study is published in the current issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

"In the U.S., an estimated 1.7 million people suffer from traumatic brain injury," said Dr. Cesar V. Borlongan, professor and vice chair of the department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida (USF). "In addition, TBI is responsible for 52,000 early deaths, accounts for 30 percent of all injury-related deaths, and costs approximately $52 billion yearly to treat."

While TBI is generally considered an acute injury, secondary cell death caused by neuroinflammation and an impaired repair mechanism accompany the injury over time, said the authors. Long-term neurological deficits from TBI related to inflammation may cause more severe secondary injuries and predispose long-term survivors to age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and post-traumatic dementia. 

Since the U.S. military has been involved in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the incidence of traumatic brain injury suffered by troops has increased dramatically, primarily from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to Martin Steele, Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), USF associate vice president for veterans research, and executive director of Military Partnerships. In response, the U.S. Veterans Administration has increasingly focused on TBI research and treatment. 

"Progressive injury to hippocampal, cortical and thalamic regions contributes to long-term cognitive damage post-TBI," said study co-author Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, USF senior vice president for research and innovation. "Both military and civilian patients have shown functional and cognitive deficits resulting from TBI." 

Because TBI involves both acute and chronic stages, the researchers noted that animal model research on the chronic stages of TBI could provide insight into identifying therapeutic targets for treatment in the post-acute stage. 

"Using animal models of TBI, our study investigated the prolonged pathological outcomes of TBI in different parts of the brain, such as the dorsal striatum, thalamus, corpus callosum white matter, hippocampus and cerebral peduncle," explained Borlongan, the study's lead author. "We found that a massive neuroinflammation after TBI causes a second wave of cell death that impairs cell proliferation and impedes the brain's regenerative capabilities." 

Upon examining the rat brains eight weeks post-trauma, the researchers found "a significant up-regulation of activated microglia cells, not only in the area of direct trauma, but also in adjacent as well as distant areas." The location of inflammation correlated with the cell loss and impaired cell proliferation researchers observed.

Microglia cells act as the first and main form of immune defense in the central nervous system and make up 20 percent of the total glial cell population within the brain. They are distributed across large regions throughout the brain and spinal cord.

"Our study found that cell proliferation was significantly affected by a cascade of neuroinflammatory events in chronic TBI and we identified the susceptibility of newly formed cells within neurologic niches and suppression of neurological repair," wrote the authors.

The researchers concluded that, while the progressive deterioration of the TBI-affected brain over time suppressed efforts of repair, intervention, even in the chronic stage of TBI injury, could help further deterioration.


Article from Science Daily 

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Impact - The Latest Edition of the BIAC Newsletter

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   February 13, 2013 17:50

If you haven't checked it out yet, you can download the latest edition of the Brain Injury Association of Canada's latest edition of their newsletter, Impact.

You'll notice some friendly faces on the cover in a story that highlights our Regina Chapter's weekly drumming group!

Download Impact: 

Impact-Feb2013.pdf (3.68 mb)

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Caleb Moore dies after Accident at X-Games

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   February 5, 2013 15:28

Caleb Moore was a Texas kid drawn to the snow, rehearsing complicated tricks on a snowmobile into a foam pit back home until they became second nature and ready for the mountains.

With his younger brother following along and constantly pushing him, Moore became a rising talent in action sports.

The innovative freestyle snowmobile rider, who was hurt in a crash at the Winter X Games in Colorado, died Thursday morning. He was 25.

Moore had been undergoing care at a hospital in Grand Junction since the Jan. 24 crash. Family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson confirmed his death, the first in the 18-year history of the X Games.

“He lived his life to the fullest. He was an inspiration,” Lawson said.

AA former all-terrain vehicle racer, Moore switched over to snowmobiles as a teenager and quickly rose to the top of the sport. He won four Winter X Games medals, including a bronze last season when his younger brother, Colten, captured gold.

Caleb Moore was attempting a backflip in the freestyle event in Aspen last week when the skis on his 450-pound snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area, sending him flying over the handlebars. Moore landed face first into the snow with his snowmobile rolling over him.

Moore stayed down for quite some time, before walking off with help and going to a hospital to be treated for a concussion. Moore developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to a hospital in Grand Junction for surgery. The family later said that Moore, of Krum, Texas, also had a complication involving his brain.

Colten Moore was injured in a separate crash that same night. He suffered a separated pelvis in the spill.

The family said in a statement they were grateful for all the prayers and support they have received from people around the world.

X Games officials expressed their condolences and said Moore, a four-time X Games medallist, would be remembered “for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends.”

The Twitter accounts of many athletes from a wide range of sports expressed their sympathy Thursday:

·      New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow: “So sad to hear about the passing of snowmobiler Caleb Moore. My prayers go out to his younger brother Colten & their entire family.”

·      Freestyle skier Kaya Turski: “The spirit of Caleb Moore will be floating among us forever. RIP.”

·      Surfer Kelly Slater: “Tragic. Don’t even know what to say.”

·      Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler: “Our world has lost another bright light. Sending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Caleb Moore.”

·      Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria, who made a visit to Winter X last weekend: “Tragic day for the family of Caleb Moore. Our deepest sympathies go out to all who he influenced and touched. RIP.”

·      Motorsports standout Travis Pastrana: “So sad to hear about Caleb Moore. My condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

·      NASCAR driver Austin Dillon: “Just heard about Caleb Moore. I don’t know what to say other than I’m praying for his family and friends. He was a true Action Sports Hero.”

B.C. Vaught, Caleb Moore’s agent for almost a decade, said he first saw Moore when he was racing an ATV in Minnesota and signed him up to star in some action sports movies.

Later, Moore wanted to make the switch from ATVs to snowmobiles and Vaught helped him. A natural talent, it only took Moore two weeks to master a difficult backflip.

Moore honed his skills in Krum, a town about 5,000 people 50 miles northwest of Dallas that rarely sees snow. Instead, he worked on tricks by launching his sled into a foam pit. After a brief training run on snow ramps in Michigan, he was ready for his sport’s biggest stage — the 2010 Winter X Games.

In that contest, Moore captured a bronze in freestyle and finished sixth in best trick. Two years later, his biography on ESPN said, “Caleb Moore has gone from ‘beginner’s luck’ to ‘serious threat.”’

That was hardly a surprise to Vaught, who said, “Whatever he wanted to do, he did it.”

In that contest, Moore captured a bronze in freestyle and finished sixth in best trick. Two years later, his biography on ESPN said, “Caleb Moore has gone from ‘beginner’s luck’ to ‘serious threat.”’

Vaught said Moore didn’t believe his sport was too extreme, but rather “it was a lifestyle.” He was good at it — along with ATV racing — as he accumulated a garage full of trophies.

Still, Moore’s death is sure to ignite the debate over safety of the discipline. Whether action sports are too dangerous is an issue that’s been raised before.

When freestyle skier Sarah Burke died in a training accident a little more than a year ago in Park City, Utah, there were questions about the halfpipe. Before that, the sport was examined when snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a severe brain injury in a fall in the same pipe as Burke two years earlier. Pearce has recovered and served as an analyst at Winter X.

But in general, the athletes accept the risks and defend their disciplines.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

“I just look at it like this: Yes, we’re in a dangerous sport,” fellow snowmobile rider Levi LaVallee said. “Anytime you’re doing a backflip on anything, it’s dangerous. But we’re training to do this. This is what we practice, what we do day in and day out. We’re comfortable with doing this stuff.”

LaVallee recently described Moore as a “fierce competitor.”

“A very creative mind,” LaVallee said. “I’ve watched him try some crazy, crazy tricks and some of them were successful, some of them not so much. But he was first guy to get back on a sled and go try it again. It shows a lot of heart.”

X Games officials said in a statement that they would conduct a thorough review of freestyle snowmobiling events and adopt any appropriate changes.

“For 18 years, we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts. Still, when the world’s best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain,” they said, noting that Moore was hurt performing a move he had done several times before.


This article is via the National Post.

Other related articles:

The Guardian

USA Today

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Connections: Winter 2013

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   January 30, 2013 09:00

The latest edition of our Connections newsletter is out and loaded with upcoming events and programs, as well as stories from our community! 

Inside the edition there is a report from our Fall Retreat in October 2012; information about the upcoming Spring Retreat, and our annual Brain Blitz Gala; we have included Nikita's Story, as we have begun to include some survivor stories in Connections; and you will also find information about our regular programming.

Download the article here: 

Connections-Winter 2013.pdf (803.26 kb)



The passing of Lissette Coulling (nee Baker)

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   December 12, 2012 20:00

Below is the memoriam that appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix

It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Lissette. Her 4 ½ year courageous struggle with cancer has ended and she has gone to her eternal reward. She lived a life dedicated to helping others, particularly those with physical, intellectual, social, and financial challenges.
Born in Regina on Nov. 11, 1950, she passed away on Dec. 9, 2012, in the Palliative Care ward of St. Paul’s Hospital. She leaves to mourn her husband George, son Ryan, daughter Mica (Mike) Meier, mother Doris Baker, sister Colette Baker, sisters-in-law Edith (Doug) McBain and Yvette (Al) Oleschuk, brothers-in-law Barry Coulling and Greg (Cec) Coulling, as well as numerous other relatives and many dear friends. 

She was predeceased by her father A.J. (Bert) Baker, her brother Randy, her mother-in-law and father-in-law Irene and Bob Coulling, and her sister-in-law Heather Coulling.
We want to say a special thank you to Dr. S. Ahmed and the wonderfully compassionate people at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, as well as all the doctors, technologists, and other health care professionals who helped during her treatment. Thank you to all who offered prayers and good wishes as we journeyed. You helped more than you will ever know. 
In lieu of flowers, please donate to:
Mass of Christian memorial will be held at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, 123 Nelson Rd., Saskatoon, on Friday, Dec. 14, at 10:30 AM, with Fr. David Tumback presiding. 
Arrangements entrusted to Saskatoon Funeral Home, (306) 244-5577 



Study out of Boston University - Brain Damage and Contact Sports

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   December 5, 2012 00:08


The world’s largest study of the brains of dead professional athletes has found that the majority were suffering from a degenerative brain condition before they died, giving a sobering glimpse into the potential long-term impact of violent contact sport.

Of the 85 brains Boston University researchers studied, 68 were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease brought on by repetitive hits to the head and linked to depression, memory loss, aggression and dementia. Half of those 68 were former professional football players; 16 more played football as their primary sport.

The study is to be published on Monday in the scientific journal Brain. A copy was obtained by The Globe and Mail.

While the prevalence of CTE is unknown, the Boston researchers say their work shows a clear link between the disease and football – and potentially other sports played by donors in the study, including rugby, wrestling and hockey. The brains of five former hockey players were analyzed. Four were found to have CTE. Most played the role of enforcer. They were NHL stars Reggie Fleming, Derek Boogaard, Bob Probert and Rick Martin.

Donors in the study also included two NFL Hall of Famers, tight end John Mackey and running back Ollie Matson, and former NFL and CFL running back Cookie Gilchrist. All were found to have advanced CTE.

“I don’t think we can ignore it any longer. It’s not going to go away if we pretend it doesn’t exist. It does exist,” said Anne McKee, a professor of neurology and pathology at Boston University and the study’s lead author. “And if you talk to any of [their] family members, they will tell you it’s devastating. Truthfully, working on this disease is really heartbreaking.”

The study is the first to classify the disease into degrees of severity, highlighting four stages as it slowly marches through the neurological system over decades.

Initially, CTE begins with damaged neurons in one area of the brain, and symptoms might include headaches or problems concentrating. In Stage 2, subjects may grapple with depression and impairment of their short-term memory, and then eventually progress to Stage 3, which includes difficulty with multi-tasking, planning and judgment. Stage 4 includes full-blown dementia.

Within the sample, which also included the brains of former soldiers, the authors also found that one-third of the CTE cases were diagnosed with additional degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Lewy body disease. Of the donors, seven died from suicide.

In most cases, the disease was the most severe in the athletes who died in their 60s, 70s and 80s, confirming what researchers already suspected: it is degenerative.

However, the researchers were perplexed to discover that a small number of the older donors had low-level CTE despite being exposed to brain trauma as young athletes. This suggests that a mystery factor – possibly genetic or environmental – may stop the disease from advancing in some people.

“It definitely opens up the question of why do the majority of people relentlessly progress with this disease, but not everybody. What is it unique about those people that don’t relentlessly progress? And that holds great hope, if we can figure it out, for treatment and prevention,” said Robert Cantu, co-author of the paper and co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute in Boston.

CTE results from what Dr. Cantu called “total brain trauma” – which includes multiple hits to the head that cause the brain to rattle off the skull, something that doesn’t always result in a concussion. Generally, athletes suffered the repetitive brain trauma over many years. Certain sports (such as boxing and football), and certain positions played (linebackers in football and enforcers in hockey), appear more prone to these sorts of repetitive brain traumas, Dr. Cantu said.

While scientists say it is likely that CTE is rare, they still don’t know many things, such as who is most susceptible, how it can be diagnosed while players are still living, and what can be done to prevent or treat it.

Dr. Cantu emphasized that people should not assume there is a direct link between CTE and concussions, especially if the concussions are diagnosed and treated properly. In fact, he said, some of the brains found to have CTE came from people who had never been diagnosed with a concussion.

“Just because somebody’s had three, four, five concussions, don’t suddenly think you’re going to wind up with CTE – that’s not the way it works,” Dr. Cantu said.

He added that concussions should be taken seriously and treated properly to prevent other serious medical conditions, including post-concussion syndrome and second-impact syndrome.

Article from the Globe and Mail


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December Office Hours

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   November 30, 2012 16:59

If you were hoping to stop by our office, to give a donation or for a visit, this holiday season, please check out our December office hours. We'd love to see you!

SBIA Office Hours.pdf (107.38 kb)

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News | Support the Cause

Connections: Fall 2012

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   September 24, 2012 12:32

The latest edition of Connections has been released.

Inside you will find information regarding the upcoming Fall Retreat, local chapter events, Photos from the Brain Boogie, an event notice for the Take Brain Injury Out of Play Pledge & Charter Signing, and MORE!

Download it below, and share it with your friends!

Connections-Fall 2012.pdf (796.93 kb)

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Moose Jaw Brain Boogie Article - Moose Jaw Times

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   September 17, 2012 11:26

For the first time, a walk-a-thon to raise awareness and funds for the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association (SBIA) is taking place in Moose Jaw.

The SBIA is putting on a Brain Boogie in Connor Park on Saturday. Registration is at 10 a.m. and the walk will begin at 11 a.m. After the boogie, there will be a barbecue and a Two Bits Family Fair that will include educational games from noon to 2 p.m. 

“We know that there are people who are looking for programs and looking for an opportunity to get together with other people who may share some similar situations,” said SBIA executive director Glenda James. “So we also use the Brain Boogie as a social gathering, as a way for people to come out and meet other folks.”

All of the funds from the Brain Boogie raised will stay in Moose Jaw to support activities and programs in the city for those with a brain injury, James said. The rest of the money will go to support SBIA events such as retreats around the province.

“One of the things that I hear a lot is that people who are brain injury survivors and their families experience a lot of isolation because a lot of things change for the family and everything is just harder to do,” said James. “A lot of our activities are just to give them a chance to get out, to be aware that they’re not alone (and) that there (is) support in the community.”

Article from the Moose Jaw Times

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News | Support the Cause

Brain Injury and Violence - In progress Research

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   September 12, 2012 13:00

Traumatic Brain Injury and Violence: Reducing the risks, improving the outcomes (CIHR Strategic Teams in Applied Injury Research)


Patients suffer Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) at seven times the rate of breast cancer and 30 times the rate of HIV/AIDS each year. TBI is responsible for more trauma deaths than injury to any other region of the body, accounting for 50% or more of all trauma deaths in Canada. For severe TBI, immediate medical costs are more than $400,000 at the time of injury. Added post-treatment costs can amount to more than $60,000 each year, with indirect costs 10 times higher. In industrialized countries like Canada and the USA, it is estimated that 2% of the population live with lifelong disabilities resulting from TBI and roughly one in four adults with TBI are unable to return to work one year after injury because of physical or mental disabilities.

In addition to the substantial financial costs of TBI, adverse long-term behavioural and personality changes resulting from TBI may predispose individuals to violent behaviour. Of the more than 100,000 people in Canada admitted to hospital with mild to moderate closed head injury, 85% will have injuries to the frontal or temporal lobes. People with TBI, especially those with frontal brain dysfunction, often develop traits such as disinhibition and impulsivity, display aggressive behaviour and engage in violent acts.

While it is unknown how much violent behaviour is directly linked to TBI, it's possible that a substantial proportion may be linked and, in turn, a substantial proportion of these violent acts result in TBI among victims, thus perpetuating the cycle.

Studies have shown that individuals with disabilities are at a greater risk of violence, abuse, and neglect but very little research has focused specifically on persons with TBI.


This research program is intended to improve our understanding of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its link to violence. It is our hypothesis that vulnerable populations carry the mutual burdens of violence and TBI for which there are shared, modifiable risk factors. The research program will examine the social causes and social, cognitive and behavioural effects of TBI and the reciprocal links between TBI and violence. 


  1. TBI and Vulnerable People: This section aims to identify the links between TBI and violence in various vulnerable populations.
  2. Culture and TBI: The objective of this section is to examine aggression and TBI in sports and assess the influence of culture in promoting violent behaviour.
  3. TBI and Society: The series of studies that form part of this subgroup will investigate community and societal level impacts of TBI and violence in Canada.
  4. Knowledge Translation: The objective of this group of projects is to raise awareness of the risk factors for TBI and violence in vulnerable populations, as well as to develop a variety of interventions in order to influence policy and educate the public.

For more information about the research, and how you can become involved, check out the St. Michael's website.


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