DCoE Blog

  • From Car Accident to Beauty Pageant

    Read the full story: From Car Accident to Beauty Pageant
    Photo courtesy of A Head for the Future

    Service members who deal with traumatic brain injury (TBI) find different ways to overcome it. Tina Garcia, who experienced a TBI in a car accident 15 years ago, found a unique platform of expression. A Head for the Future shares Tina’s story of her participation in the Miss Colorado Senior pageant and overcoming her TBI:

    Air Force veteran Tina Garcia woke up in a daze after her car was rear-ended in 2002. When she was rushed to the hospital, she was told not to move and that her neck was probably broken. Garcia was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Recovery was tough but eventually led her down a surprising path.

  • Top 10 Concussion Research Articles of 2016

    Read the full story: Top 10 Concussion Research Articles of 2016
    DoD photo by Sgt. Christopher Giannetti

    There is no shortage of clinical research articles on traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, a team of experts from Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) recently reviewed more than 250 abstracts from literature published in 2016. The team, with a variety of clinical backgrounds, reviewed the latest in brain injury research and selected 10 articles that advance brain injury research.

    In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, here is our top 10 list of TBI research articles, with summaries, categorized by topic. Click on the article title to access the abstract or article on PubMed, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

  • Celebrate Good Times! No Luck, Charms or Alcohol Required

    Read the full story: Celebrate Good Times! No Luck, Charms or Alcohol Required
    DoD photo by Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

    Unless you’ve been hiding under the Blarney Stone, you’ve seen the shamrocks — St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. In America, many adults celebrate the holiday with Irish jigs, witty toasts — and a lot of alcohol. But, if you are coping with posttraumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury (TBI) you may want to pass up that pint of green beer.

    Many trauma survivors use alcohol to relieve pain and other symptoms, but the relationship between combat stress and substance use is counterproductive and can be dangerous. And drinking alcohol with a TBI can complicate your injury or delay recovery.

  • Partner with DVBIC to Promote Brain Injury Awareness Month

    Read the full story: Partner with DVBIC to Promote Brain Injury Awareness Month

    As the Defense Department’s center of excellence for traumatic brain injury (TBI), the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center focuses on conducting and synthesizing TBI research to ensure it translates into the best possible care for service members, veterans and their families. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and DVBIC needs your help to spread an important message about prevention: Think Ahead.

    Think ahead means being safe by taking the precautions necessary to prevent brain injuries, knowing the signs of concussion (another word for a mild traumatic brain injury), and accessing care when necessary. It is important to seek help as soon as possible after a TBI because early detection and treatment can facilitate recovery.

    Since last year, we have run a social media campaign during March to remind everyone to “#ThinkAhead” to avoid brain injury. The goal is to get as many people as possible to use social media to remind friends and family to be safe, know the signs of concussion, and seek care.

    To help DVBIC spread the word, print a hashtag card from the DVBIC A Head for the Future website, share a personal message, and take a selfie to share on social media with the hashtags #ThinkAhead and #BIAmonth. DVBIC will retweet and share many of these messages.

  • Health Care Professionals Give On-Demand Summit High Marks

    Read the full story: Health Care Professionals Give On-Demand Summit High Marks
    DCoE 2016 Summit. Enroll today at dcoe.cds.pesgce.com. Did you miss it? It's OK. You can register for on-demand sessions and apply for continuing education credits now through April 2017.

    The reviews are in. Health care providers give high marks to the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Summit home study sessions. The 2016 summit, “State of the Science: Advances, Current Diagnostics and Treatments of Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury in Military Health Care” is offered on demand until April 30.

    For another 10 weeks, providers can receive continuing education credit for completing the summit webinars, said Dr. Lolita O’Donnell, DCoE chief of planning and logistics.

  • Seek Help Early for Substance Abuse Following TBI

    Read the full story: Seek Help Early for Substance Abuse Following TBI
    U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jarvie Z. Wallace

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and substance use disorder share many symptoms, and one condition may often complicate the other. Experts from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) discussed the problems service members can face when the two conditions intersect during a webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    Research shows that substance misuse is responsible for 37-50 percent of all TBIs. The majority of individuals who experience a TBI have a history of substance misuse, which often continues after the injury. In addition, a TBI itself can lead to substance misuse, said Lars Hungerford, a senior clinical research director for DVBIC.

    “TBI is actually a risk factor for binge drinking, even after controlling for PTSD and demographic factors,” Hungerford said.

    Substance misuse, particularly alcohol use, can complicate TBI in several ways:

    • Increased likelihood of another TBI. That’s because substance misuse can impair balance, coordination and judgment.
    • Lowered seizure threshold. TBI may increase the risk of seizure from drinking, and alcohol can impede anti-seizure medications.
    • Delayed or halted brain recovery. Alcohol can cause inflammation of the brain, which inhibits its ability to heal.

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