Traumatic Brain Injury: out of the “game”, but not out of danger! by Carol Henricks, M. D.

Awareness of concussion as a consequence of playing professional football and other sports and exposure to blast injuries for military veterans has reached an all – time high. A single bomb blast causes soldiers NFL – like brain trauma. The message has been received by the public: concussion is a real injury and you should NOT “go back into the game” after the injury. However the long term medical consequences of the injury – particularly if the brain has not healed – are less well established. With the recognition of acute and sub – acute concussion, players make decisions to stop playing sports altogether – they “get out of the game” while they believe they are still “cognitively clear”. But does that solve the problem ?

 

Young military veterans taken out of active duty or medically discharged don’t recover from their concussions even years after their injury and are often never able to re-enter the work force. The American Headache Association presented data at their July 2012 meeting that even 8 years post concussion – injury, most veterans continued to have persistent headaches, sleep disturbance, cognitive and emotional problems. The link between concussion injury and neurodegenerative conditions in the NFL has been acknowledged ( at least by the players and the judge ) and resulted in a huge settlement to compensate injured players – and studies of concussion injured military veterans are supporting that conclusion. It is clear that a new approach to post – concussion management is necessary. It is time to put together a game plan to save the brain.

 

Our brains are like computers.

 

The brain is a complex network of fiber tracts: to carry out any brain function there is a locus of control and a network that needs to be activated.   Our brains are much more like computers than we would have believed. If the locus of control that triggers the algorithm / pathway is knocked out or there are “glitches in the system” the network cannot function as a cohesive system and the task is not completed. Multiple concussions destroy the control and networking of the brain and result in poor cognitive ability and a consequent failure to function in society.

 

 

Connections that extend from the neuron cell body and make connections with other areas of the brain are called axons. Axons gathered together form fiber tracts. The hallmark of concussive brain injury is diffuse shear injury to axons. The shear injury may involve only the fatty covering around the axon ( the myelin ) or it may also involve the underlying axon structural components. The extent of injury to the axon affects the ability to recover from the injury. A shear injury in the brain is like a glitch in a computer network.

 

Network connections are critical.

 

Fiber tract connections create networks. Fiber tracts formed from the right hemisphere ( for example ) connect to the left hemisphere through the corpus callosum. Connections through the corpus callosum allow the right side of the brain to know what the left side of the brain is doing and vice versa. Fiber tracts from the parietal lobes of the brain ( which perform sensory integration / visual association ) connect with the occipital lobes of the brain ( primary visual information processing ) so we can tell the difference between our visual reality versus stored visual images: is it real or a hallucination ? Fiber tracts connect the frontal lobes (which are responsible for decision making) with the temporal lobes of the brain (which store our memories of past experiences) so we can use our experience to help us make good decisions.   All these connections form networks which allow us to function in our world. If you disrupt these connections throughout the brain these disconnections or “glitches” result in poor cognitive function. And then things get worse.

 

Disconnections and loss of brain cell function are the basis for post – concussion symptoms.

 

Disconnections create problems in an acute injury, but if these connections never heal, there is chronic brain injury. Even if new networks are formed by “re-wiring”, the injured brain cells begin a degenerative process and as the neurons “die back” brain cells are lost. Dysfunction worsens over time if new connections are not formed and old connections and damaged neurons do not heal. Healing is not guaranteed. Spontaneous healing in both the Central Nervous System ( CNS ) and the Peripheral Nervous System ( PNS ) is a very slow process. Amazing cases of people “waking up” after spending many years in a persistent vegetative state following brain injury are examples of people naturally healing over time.

 

A traditional approach to recovery is observation and supportive care.

 

Medications do not create healing. Medications do not inhibit cell death or any neurodegenerative process. Non-healing is where the pathology of neurodegenerative disease begins. The current medical model of treatment for an individual who has sustained a concussion is to avoid further injury and let the brain heal itself over time using adjunctive therapies such as physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Re -evaluations by neurologists may establish that a concussion injured person has achieved a certain baseline of functional recovery, but that is not confirmation that injury has healed and that an individual will avoid future consequences of that injury. There is no standard of care therapy that has been recognized to treat brain injury.

 

Making the connection: the consequences of injury.

 

The consequence of significant untreated concussion injury is early onset neurodegenerative disease. The more concussions, the worse the cumulative brain injury. Injured brain cells that do not heal die, and may help to create the clinical syndromes of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS for example. SPECT scans have been a helpful tool to identify injured areas of brain. New imaging techniques such as brain MRI with DTI may be a better choice to show the disruption of connections caused by concussion as well as providing a follow – up measure of healing. It’s time to refocus our thinking on healing. The future is now and therapies to recover brain function are available.

 

HBOT is essential because every healing reaction requires oxygen.

 

Revolutionary emerging technologies will change neurological recovery forever. The operative term here is the recoverable brain. Our brains are designed to learn all throughout our life, and brain cells may heal given the proper support. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy ( HBOT ) is the first therapy that has been demonstrated to heal brain injury. The extensive research of Dr. Paul Harch covers the basic science of healing with HBOT, animal research and human research and his work has been submitted to the FDA confirming the effectiveness. There has been more research on HBOT than on any drug or device ever approved by the FDA. Dr. Harch’s textbook “The Oxygen Revolution” outlines his years of research and experience in treating brain injury. HBOT therapy is radically different than simply providing oxygen by nasal cannula in a hospital setting at atmospheric pressure. HBOT creates oxygen radicals which in a hyperoxic environment stimulate healing mechanisms including activation of intracellular healing processes, stem cell mobilization and modification of gene expression.

 

Brain recovery requires building from basic nutritional essentials.

 

For healing to take place, nutrient optimization including consumption of proper fats, adequate proteins, critical trace minerals, balanced electrolytes and smart sugars. Without the proper building blocks for recovery, the brain cannot recover. Please see our article, written with neuropharmacologist Dr. Tim Marshall: “Nutrition for the wounded warrior: it takes more than a vitamin” for details.

 

Neurobiofeedback is a simple retraining of the brain.

 

Brain waves may be retrained to a pattern that will minimize an anxiety reaction or to help activate less active areas of the brain. Even an injured brain is able to learn, re – wire, re – network. Brain Paint for example is an excellent Neurobiofeedback program for recovery. Re-establishing the normal rhythms of the electrical activity of the brain promotes functional recovery.

 

Magnetic fields enhance intracellular energy so that healing can take place.

 

Magnetic fields, particularly pulsed electromagnetic field therapy or PEMF results in direct energy transfer intracellularly to facilitate healing. PEMF has been used in Germany to treat advanced dementia and Down’s syndrome with great results. It is being studied in the US for TBI recovery. A similar but more focused tool is transcranial magnetic stimulation ( TCMS ) which has been FDA approved to treat depression and is being studied in various neurology centers to treat patients post – stroke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autologous stem cell transplants boost recovery.

 

Safe, effective mechanisms for obtaining autologous stem cell transplants are available in the US. These procedures are primarily still under IRB protocols and are self – pay but are proving to be a powerful adjunctive therapy for recovery. Initial results from physicians performing that procedure indicate that it is a very safe treatment and results for patients with neurodegenerative conditions including severe TBI have been positive.

 

Save your brain.

 

Concussion is a major contributing factor to neurodegenerative conditions; although there are many other factors impact brain health and healing. A potentially huge “at risk” population for neurodegenerative disease exists and it is not only an “end – of – life” phenomenon. Functional recovery of an injured brain has never been as possible as it is now. Combining available therapies, a good nutritional baseline and lifestyle habits the best neurological recovery can be achieved. It is critical to anticipate the consequences of post – concussion injury and actively pursue healing therapies.

 

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Patriot Clinics: Uniquely Organized to Respond to the Veteran’s National Emergency

by William Duncan, PhD.

patriotclinics hobot chambers

 Providing Real Hope and Recovery for Shattered Lives

Answering the Nation’s Call                                                                                   

With the end to the Draft, and the beginning of the all-volunteer U.S. Armed Forces, a new age dawned. Today the U.S. service member must score in the top 50% of their age group to join the Army and the top 25% when they join the Air Force. These are the finest and best trained and equipped troops on the planet. It costs $20,000 to recruit one, $155,000 for infantry basic training, and $5 million to train a Special Forces service member.

So, why, today, are we losing 22 more to suicide, than we lost in combat, in theater, and under fire? Sadly, because the biggest myth in medicine is “there is no treatment for brain injury.” Instead the Veterans Administration researchers publish papers that blame the veteran for either being broken when they joined the military, or, for the “psychological” issue of PTSD, imply that they lack “moral fiber” and need to just “get over it.” When in fact to have PTSD you must have two of the three symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury, an organic injury that has nothing to do with moral fiber.

Fortunately, we have two major treatments for brain injury in the United States, one in use since 1937, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)[i] and one in use since 1980, Cognitive Rehabilitation[ii]. This author, at the request of Chairman Murtha, Defense Appropriations Committee Chair in the U.S. House in 2008, turned in the “High Altitude Mortality Reduction Program,” (HAMR)[iii] that would, for $15 million, have put four hyperbaric chambers, plus chambers for helicopters, into theater in Afghanistan. HAMR would have demonstrated that with as few as 10 hyperbaric treatments, delivered acutely, we could have achieved a 59% reduction in mortality, and prevented the degradation of our forces due to repeated blast exposure, and repaired these men and women before they came home. Our current crisis would have never happened. Instead, the Army Surgeon General fought the proposal to a standstill. Helicopters were purchased instead of a few hyperbaric chambers.

In fact, DoD medicine could easily repair a brain injured veteran for $480 with the 80 HBOT treatment protocol, while still in the service. The VA can do the job for about $4,800. If they are sent to the civilian treatment facilities, the listed Medicare reimbursement rate, which just covers the cost of treatment, is $25,000 in one-time costs for the protocol.

Instead, VA and DoD medicine, according to the RAND Report, are spending about $32,000 per year on ineffective medications that have significant side effects. DoD already owns the hyperbaric chambers and has trained personnel to use them. In the place of such rational action, each untreated, current war veteran with traumatic brain injury or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is costing the federal, state and local governments about $60,000 per year if they are not homeless and $100,000 per year if they are homeless. There are over one million casualties whose lives have been significantly affected by these injuries.

How effective is HBOT treatment? It results in a 15 point IQ increase, the difference between a high school dropout and a college graduate, and equates to about $20,000 in annual income. It results in a 39% reduction in Post-Concussion Syndrome (sleep disorder, photophobia, headaches and executive function challenges), a 30% reduction in PTSD (the largest of any treatment published), and a 51% reduction in depression. It causes a 50% increase in brain metabolism and a 96% improvement in emotional control. The Israeli’s have replicated the research and built a new $10 million facility in Tel Aviv to start treating 540 patients per day. DoD and VA medicine discount the effect of oxygen on wound healing in the brain and claim it is a “placebo-like effect” or that the positive results are a “statistical anomaly.” In fact, 100% of patients who receive 35 or more treatments experience clinically significant improvement.

It is far cheaper to fix the war-injured veteran than to leave them untreated. Unfortunately the federal bureaucracies and the medical agencies with the authority and responsibility for treating these men and women, are perfectly willing to shift the costs of treatment out of their budget onto the veteran, the veteran’s family, or state and local governments. Fortunately, there is a remedy.

The Oklahoma Veteran Recovery Plan: Repairing a State’s Broken Budget

In 2013, the State of Oklahoma took charge of the federally run veteran homes because of neglect and poor care. This author was asked to create a system to provide effective treatment for brain injury, called the Oklahoma Veteran Recovery Plan.

The legal discovery that made this possible, is the fact that under the Veterans Bureau Act of 1921, that created what is now the Veterans Administration, this cost shift of war injuries to the states happened after World War I. Therefore the states responded by requiring that when a state paid for a veterans care, the federal government was required to reimburse. This is the way all state run nursing homes are paid to this day.

As a result, using the revolving fund, created by SB1604, “The Oklahoma Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Recovery Act,” when a state pays for HBOT, which is not routinely paid by Tricare or VA Medicine, though they have paid in select cases, the Federal government must reimburse the state. This makes it possible to routinize care and get all of the hospital-based hyperbaric centers to start treating Oklahoma’s veterans.

In Oklahoma, the 2013 plan passed both the House and Senate, unanimously, and then was blocked from final passage by one key senator. The following year the current version of the legislation passed, and was signed into law, and is currently in the regulation creation stage.

When the author testified before the Texas State Legislature, a member of the Texas State House Appropriations committee told us that the Texas state budget is being broken by all of the untreated veterans that have returned from the war. It was the same in Oklahoma, where this author served as a U.S. House Member’s Appropriations Committee staff member for 10 years, as one of the 32 staff in the Congress that controlled the health care spending in the United States.

While serving Congress, the author discovered that, if fully integrated into the medical system, hyperbaric oxygen therapy would reduce the costs and outcomes of surgery by 20%,[iv] virtually eliminate outlier patients in the hospital system, and if applied correctly in the Emergency Room, HBOT implementation will likely cut mandatory spending costs like the prison system, in half in about 10 years. The research has already been done and the implications are clear. Just getting Diabetic Foot Wound Treatment approved by Medicare, which this author helped accomplish, cut the cost of amputation by $348 million, and would have saved $3 billion per year if it had been implemented as Medicare was instructed by the Congress to do. So, it is a real savings in efficiency and effectiveness to deploy effective treatment into the medical system, instead of the current symptom management practices of managed care.

Patriot Clinics: After 20 months approaching 10,000 Free Treatments to Veterans and Others in Need of Hyperbaric Treatments

Patriot Clinics was born from the fact that despite our successes and public support from the state government for HBOT, veterans were not being treated. The state non-profit corporation was set up, eligible for 501c3 charity status, and modeled after the 90 charity hyperbaric centers in Great Britain, and began treating patients in January of 2014.

To date we have treated hundreds of veterans and currently have 60 veterans in active treatment in Oklahoma City, with a second clinic to open in Lawton, Oklahoma (Fort Sill) to begin to start treating 6,000 young veterans there. As of September 14th, we are approaching the delivery of 10,000 hyperbaric treatments, starting with a two person multiplace where we were delivering 600 treatments per month, to the addition of three more treatment berths where we are now doing 1,200 treatments per month.

No one is charged for hyperbaric treatment at the Patriot Clinics, though third parties, like workers compensation and automobile carriers, will be billed when appropriate. We exist on charity donations and have to raise as much as $20,000 per month to accomplish the 1,200 treatments. We ask all patients that experience success in treatment, to give us a $10 charitable donation for the future to help offset the costs of their treatment today. Many who have gone back to work, donate much more than that each month. Others do not.

We removed every possible barrier, and the goal with a young veteran in crisis is to get them into the chamber within three hours of arriving at the clinic. All brain injured patients are immediately eligible for the full 80 treatment protocol, $25,000 at Medicare payment rates. If we charged someone on VA or Social Security disability just $10 per treatment, they would look at the $800 bill, realize it was an entire month’s income, and walk out the door untreated. Because brain power is a public good, that is an unacceptable outcome.

We have even treated a female Native American soldier who was a captive of the Afghan Islamic forces. Compared to the ½ hour it took to get her to move 20 feet into the building, and the inability of our physician to complete a full physical on her, and her fear of all males in the building, today after just 10 hyperbaric treatments, she is reengaged, joking, and volunteering at the clinic. She is no longer afraid of every man, even one of our volunteers with long hair and a very bushy black beard.

The mother of one of our war veterans wrote:

“Thank you and God bless you for what you are doing for my son. The last seven years have been a nightmare and now I am seeing the person he was before he went off to the war. I felt like I had lost a son even though he came back. I watched as members of his platoon committed suicide and wondered if he would be next. I am amazed at the change in him and so thankful for it. Just wanted to let you know that this mother is very emotional and grateful for what you have done for Anthony. It has changed everything. I am seeing my son return to the person he was before. I really thought he was gone forever. I have shared this story and I will continue to share. I owe you so much more than I can ever repay.”

Anthony’s results of improved mood and cognition and restored family relationships are typical of those who complete their HBOT treatment (and we received the above note after he had completed just 10 treatments).

Inconceivably, Anthony’s Company of 160 men has now experienced 7 non-combat deaths after returning home–including one overdose on VA-prescribed pharmaceuticals, and sadly, as of the morning of Saturday, April 25th, 2015, that 7th death in his company, added to the rest of them for his Battalion, is more deaths than they suffered in theater! That is unacceptable.

With hyperbaric medicine, and the other integrated therapies we use at the Patriot Clinics, we have the tools to do better for those who served their country, and with your help, we plan to continue doing just that.

All veterans, police officers, fire fighters and victims of crime are treated anonymously. We are and have been the busiest hyperbaric center in the nation, and have seen the routine miracles any of the hyperbaric practitioners that are following the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation’s National Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation Project’s HBOT 1.5 protocol have experienced.

Additionally we have treated quite a number of cancer, wound care and Lyme disease patients. We have done a large number of pre-post-surgery treatments, following the IHMF’s Hospital Outcomes & Profit System’s model, with significant success in improved healing, reduced complications and pain, and great patient satisfaction compared to surgery without the benefit of pre-post hyperbaric treatment.

We have removed all possible barriers to brain injured persons receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy. As an economist, the author considers that maximizing the brain capacity of injured persons is a “public good” just like an aircraft carrier. If the State of Oklahoma is willing to pay $34,000 for every Associates degree granted, and those seeking the degree have a 17% graduation rate, (Bachelor’s degree completion is 34%), and the persons in these programs struggling with brain injury had their brains rebuilt, under the Patriot Clinic model, Associates Degree completions would more than double, and state education savings would be many millions.

At Patriot Clinics, we simply got tired of “managed care” managing symptoms. Instead we have implemented “effective care,” using therapies that actually work to improve a patient’s medical condition. We have integrated computerized cognitive rehabilitation with a number of patients, for example, providing the HBOT healing of a brain injury with the CCogRehab[v] capacity expansion (25 IQ points).

Experience shows that if you take 100 veterans in transitional living and give them hyperbaric medicine, half will be back to work within 40 treatments, and 80 will be back to work after completing the full protocol. The cost of this treatment is exponentially less than the millions it costs our state each year to leave our wounded veterans untreated, or treated ineffectively. Many injured veterans have lost hope of ever recovering. After years of living with “shattered life” symptoms, they are more than pleased when the headaches disappear, normal sleep returns, the anger issues subside and the ability to think, reason and have healthier family relationships returns.

You have the ability to help us reduce the terrible epidemic of 22 veteran suicides a day. Together, let’s help Anthony’s Battalion and others like it lose fewer vets to suicide. The Patriot Clinics has the ability to help. The IHMF stands ready to get funds donated from a state back into that state to foster each state’s veteran recovery plan. We are asking for your partnership in restoring our injured veterans to health by making the donated funds in your state’s Veteran Recovery plan available as soon as possible. You can help restore your state’s suffering and wounded warriors to lives of dignity, purpose, health and peace. At Patriot Clinics we are honoring our pledge to leave no one behind. Join us or another local charity in your state dedicated to getting effective treatment for these wounded men and women.

HBOT Background:

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been used to treat brain injuries since 1937, with the most effective HBOT protocol to treat brain injury in use now for nearly 40 years. Brain injury is so endemic in our society that its symptoms are largely unnoticed. Our veterans suffer terribly from brain injuries incurred in warfare today, as well as from PTSD—and HBOT is the only truly effective treatment for these conditions.

Currently, federal, state and local government bear enormous costs from untreated brain injuries from incarceration, substance abuse, and shattered families (which increases the state’s TANF and Medicaid rolls), lost tax revenue from disability, to remedial education, and the terrible tragedy of 22 veteran suicides a day, the costs of which are nearly impossible to calculate. (The Texas legislature estimates that their untreated, brain-injured war veterans are costing their state billions.)

Hyperbaric medicine can and does reduce those costs—drastically. In the multi-center hyperbaric oxygen study on brain injuries done by OSU and LSU (NBIRR-2), the pre- and post- cognitive and psychological diagnostics demonstrated that 100% of the study participants who completed 35 hyperbaric treatments had clinically significant improvement.

There are some who have trouble accepting these results. However, anyone who examines the studies from 1937 onward will see that hyperbaric medicine is extremely well-studied. HBOT is already FDA approved for 14 different conditions, including 3 different types of brain injury and 3 types of chronic, non-healing wounds.

We know why and how pressurized oxygen works. Oxygen is essential in 5769 cellular processes, and HBOT activates 8101 genes–most of them involved in inflammation reduction and other healing processes. There is more evidence for the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy than ANY other treatment currently used by the VA and DOD. In a recent study published in JAMA, the VA’s own Colonel Miller even admitted that the hyperbaric treated individuals (one group getting 35% more oxygen, while another getting 700% more) did better than anyone treated with the best TBI and PTSD therapies currently used by the DOD and VA.

 Patriot Clinic in the News:

Be sure to watch the recent news segment KFOR Channel 4 News did on our OKC clinic. NBC ran the story as well, so we are making national headlines. Please help us show the nation that Oklahoma knows how to help our struggling veterans by making a proven, effective therapy available to help them get their lives back on track. http://link.kfor.com/1d0iNWS

Patriot Clinics Budget Current OKC Location Treatments/month      Monthly Annual
11,000 Square Feet Lease 600 $4,950 $59,400
Utilities $1,200 $14,400
Oxygen 4 $2,400 $28,800
Labor        Volunteer $0 $0
Insurance $2,100 $25,200
Incidental Costs & Supplies $1,000 $12,000
Cost: $20/Treatment $11,650 $139,800
Revenue at Medicare Rate for OK if paid $192,600 $2,311,200
Person/mo (Equiv) 7.5
OKC Expansion to 10 Treatment Berths*        Treatments/Month
11,000 Square Feet 3600 $4,950 $59,400
Utilities $1,400 $16,800
Oxygen 4 $14,400 $172,800
Labor $10 $36,000 $432,000
Chamber Lease Payment @ $25/treatment $25 $90,000 $1,080,000
Insurance $2,100 $25,200
Incidental Costs & Supplies $2,000 $24,000
Cost: $41/Treatment $150,850 $1,810,200
Revenue at Medicare Rate for OK if paid $1,155,600 $13,867,200
Person/mo (Equiv) 45 or 540/yr       

[i] Developed for treating U.S. Navy Divers in 1937 by CAPT Behnke, and finally adopted for U.S. Navy diving in 1968, after all of the other Navy and Air Forces of the world were already using it.

[ii] Developed in 1973 to treat Yom Kippur War Casualties, and brought to the United States in 1980 at Oklahoma State University’s Medical School

[iii] This proposal will appear on the Patriot Clinic website at www.PatriotClinics.com very shortly.

[iv] Cardiovasc Revasc Med. 2010 Jan-Mar;11(1):8-19.

[v] Computerized Cognitive Rehabilitation as performed by the TeleTherapy software developed by Cognitive Systems, Inc.

Combat Traumatic Brain Injuries Part of Veteran Suicide Trigger

22-Veterans-a-Day-memorial
Memorial to 22 veterans a day committing suicide to be seen in Tucson September 18 at event in Armory Park and in many cities throughout the U. S.

by Carol L Henricks, MD

 It is Suicide Awareness Month and it is time to connect the dots and understand why the suicide rate is so high among our active duty military and military veterans. It is a consequence of the brain – blast injury (a form of TBI) they have sustained! Dr. Duncan, COO of Patriot Clinics, Inc. states that “Not since World War I have service members in a war theater been exposed to the level of blast injury that US service members have experienced in recent wars. “

A blast – brain injury has 2 mechanisms of injury to the brain: the concussive force of the blast and the decompression injury. You don’t need to hit your head or lose consciousness to be injured. Even one concussion brain injury is associated with an increased risk of depression and suicide – but military members are typically exposed to blast after blast after blast. Most of the military veterans I have seen in my office don’t even “count” the more distant blasts they experienced or view repeated blasts experienced in a single day as separate events. Every blast creates injury and the sooner after one injury you are exposed to more injury the worse the cumulative injury.

Blast – brain injury injures the whole brain. On a pathological level, the decompression injury causes ischemic lesions (like tiny strokes) all throughout the brain. When this occurs in an elderly person they are clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia. The axonal shear component of injury is also a diffuse injury and disconnects the networks in the brain. The networks that perform basic processes such as the cycling between wakefulness and sleep are destroyed. Attention, concentration, short-term memory and executive function (planning) are lost. Emotional control is unstable and unpredictable. Life with a brain injury is a life that feels out of control. It is disorienting and confusing. This cognitive – emotional state triggers suicide. When a psychiatric diagnoses is made medication is prescribed resulting in clinical worsening.   Substance abuse also causes clinical worsening.

If you don’t diagnose and correctly treat brain injury, there will never be a successful treatment program. Medications do not heal the brain. This is a call – out to all military veterans: if you have been exposed to IED’s, RPG’s and other blasts and concussive forces, be evaluated with a SPECT brain scan, brain MRI – DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) or some other high level technology. Routine brain MRI scans (even with contrast) or head CT scans (even with contrast) are not able to “see” the injury. It is a limitation of technology, not proof that the TBI is not there.

There is treatment for this type of brain injury: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). The Patriot Clinics, Inc. of Oklahoma and the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation have championed the cause to set up HBOT treatment facilities in every state. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State House, the Oklahoma State Senate and the Governor all signed a bill into law that would create a funding mechanism so that money would be available for their hyperbaric facility to treat all the military veterans in their state. The state of Oklahoma recognizes the connection between brain injury, PTS and suicide and the effective treatment. The goal is to have every state set–up a program for its military veterans so they can be treated at no charge.

Military traumatic brain injury and its consequences are at a crisis level. There are HBOT facilities, non – profit organizations and concerned citizens around the country that are prepared to come together and help insure that those who need it are treated. This is a grassroots movement and we the people must rise to the occasion. We must be heroes to our Heroes.

 

Carol L Henricks, MD

Behavioral Neurology, Epilepsy,Sleep Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury  & Hyperbaric Medicine.                     .

NorthStar Neurology PC…7596 N La Cholla Blvd…Tucson AZ 85741

Office Phone: 520-229-1238

Office FAX: 520-229-1242