Brain Waves: UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Newsletter Volume 16 | Number 2 | Page 2

LIFE AFTER TBI Spain Rehab Launces Post-Concussion Syndrome Clinic Concussions What is a concussion? A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. What causes a concussion? The most common causes are motor vehicle crashes, falls, assaults, and sports injuries. • • • • • • • • Headache Nausea or vomiting Balance problems or dizziness Blurry or double vision Sensitivity to light and/or noise Feeling more tired Confusion or memory problems Mood or personality changes How long do concussion symptoms last? Most symptoms that happen just after the injury might last for a few minutes up to a couple of hours. Most that start a short time after the injury might last for a few of days up to a couple of weeks. Post-Concussion Syndrome What is post-concussion syndrome? Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) is a disorder in which concussion symptoms linger on for weeks and sometimes for several months. The stress of dealing with these lingering symptoms often leads to a cycle of added problems that can become worse and worse over time. • Depression • Anxiety • Inactivity • Irritability • Changes in the way the brain is supposed to work. • Mood changes • Sleep problems How do concussions happen? It happens one of two ways. • After an impact to your head • After a whiplash-type injury that causes your head and brain to shake quickly back and forth. What are common symptoms of concussion? It’s important to think about symptoms in two ways. 1. One or more symptoms that happen instantly after the injury and warning signs that a person has sustained a concussion. • Can’t recall what just happened • Brief loss of consciousness • Feeling dazed or stunned • Acting confused or clumsy • Slow to respond 2. One or more symptoms that start a short time after the injury UAB PCS Clinic Where is the UAB PCS clinic? It will be a new addition to the Spain Rehabilitation Center (SRC) medical clinics. SRC is an integral part of Get Involved In UAB Research! Brave Initiative The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) aims to improve the motor deficit of veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Potential participants must: • be at least 19 years old and 3 months post TBI; • have movement problems or weakness of the • • arms, but the ability to make at least some limited movements with the more affected hand; have no excessive pain; and be able to undergo MRI If you believe you meet the criteria above and would like to participate in this study, Go to the website, call 205- 934-9768, or email for more information. 2 What is the treatment for concussion? • Get plenty of rest • Do not use alcohol or other drugs • Do not do any activities that might create a risk for another concussion. • Slowly return to everyday activities when symptoms are improved. • Talk with health professionals before returning to work and driving. the UAB Health System and offers a patient-centered, team approach to care. This includes access as needed to health care professionals from all areas of the UAB Health System. What does the PCS clinic do for patients? Patients see a neuropsychologist. This is a clinical psychologist who treats brain-related problems. The neuropsychologist treats the problem issues brought on by PCS. There are three basic steps in treatment. 1. The initial assessment provides insight into how PCS has impacted behavior, thinking and daily living. • Review medical history. This is important because PCS is often made worse by pre-existing health problems, like a history of multiple concussions, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. • Review of all symptoms and added problems. 2. A neuropsychological assessment provides an objective measure of recovery goals. A typical assessment may last 2-3 hours and measures multiple domains of cognitive status including memory, attention, and speed of thinking, among others. Assessments are useful in determining readiness to return to work, school, driving, and participation in sports and other activities. They are also used to develop a plan to treat lingering symptoms and the cycle of added problems caused by symptoms. 3. Treatment options • Educate patients and their families to help them to better understand PCS and the ways PCS has impacted their behavior, emotion and the way their brain normally works. • Provide cognitive behavioral therapy to patients and family to help manage PCS symptoms. • Provide support to return to former lifestyle routines (work, school, socializing, etc.). • Recommend community resources and other health- related services as needed. • Work closely with other health providers to provide the care that you need and to determine readiness to drive, work, or resume other activities. How do I make an appointment to the PCS clinic? Referrals to the PCS clinic are accepted from both internal UAB providers and external providers. • Ask your doctor to make a referral and send your relevant medical records for review. • Call the PCS clinic for an appointment at 205-934-3454. Referrals and records may be faxed to the clinic at 205-934- 2769. UAB-TBIMS Research Results Scale Up Project Evaluating Responsiveness to Home Exercise And Lifestyle Tele-Health (SUPER-HEALTH) This study evaluates the effects of an exercise program on improving pain, fatigue, physical activity, and physical function. The program is delivered through a tablet app in the convenience of the home using exercise videos. Criteria to Participate • Ages 18-64 • Mobility Impairment/Disability • WiFi Internet access in Home Participants receive a tablet and Fitbit to use during study and are eligible to keep all equipment at the completion of last study visit. Visit, call (205) 403- 5509, or email [email protected]. The UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model System led a 5-year study to look at height and weight data of people with moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The goal was to find out what percentage of people with TBI are underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese, and what factors might be related to higher rates of overweight or obesity. The researchers found that: • About 3% of the participants were underweight; 39% were normal weight; 36% were overweight; and 23% were obese. • Participants ages 30-80 had higher rates of overweight or obesity than those younger than 30 or older than 80 years old. • Participants who were 20-25 years post-TBI had a higher rate of being overweight or obese (66%) than those who were 1-2 years post-TBI (55%). • Injury severity and the length of hospital stay were not related to being overweight or obese. • Participants who were overweight or obese reported higher rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes than the participants who were underweight or normal weight, and the participants who were overweight or obese rated their overall health lower than the participants who were underweight or normal weight. Over time, people with TBI may have difficulty following a healthy lifestyle, like regular exercise or balanced diet. If they become overweight or obese, they seem to have added chronic health conditions and poorer overall health than those who are not overweight or obese. Therefore, people with long-standing TBI can likely benefit from weight screening and obesity prevention education. UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Information Network 3