Changing a Common Belief About Brain Injury

As a scientist, I am impassioned to share research findings that upend conventionally-held wisdom about the brain – modifying viewpoints that are obsolete, wrong, and disabling.

The journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation has just published the results of a study conducted by our interdisciplinary team of experts at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. The study found that strategy-based cognitive training significantly improves the cognitive performance, psychological and neural health of those who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), long after the initial injury.

These findings should permanently put to rest the view, once commonly held among scientists and the medical community, that the brain can only recover lost functions for a period of one year following injury. Unfortunately, insurance companies still base their coverage policies on this outdated assumption. What’s worse, many of those afflicted with TBI may be tempted to give up on their recovery based on what we now know to be false.

The latest findings are sure to bring much-needed hope to the 5.3 million Americans living with TBI and their family members. TBI continues to be a leading cause of death and disability, and is a particular risk for our service members; more than 327,000 have been diagnosed with TBI since 2000. Whether caused by the blast of a bomb, or sustained in a car accident, a fall, or playing sports, such injuries–even those considered mild–can have consequences that last an entire lifetime.

Those who have sustained traumatic brain injuries often experience persistent cognitive difficulties, including poor ability to focus on the task at hand, to make decisions, or to anticipate consequences. They may feel overwhelmed or paralyzed when faced with too much information or the need to generate solutions —> Read More