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  • Military Continues Brain Injury Research to Improve Care

    Read the full story: Military Continues Brain Injury Research to Improve Care
    Col. Sydney Hinds, national director of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Centers

    Although research is critical to improving treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI), service members currently coping with TBI receive the best available care, said Army Col. Sidney Hinds, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) national director.

    “Our goal is to provide the best care possible for our patients using carefully evaluated research and clinical practice knowledge,” said Hinds, a neurologist, during his presentation at the annual meeting of the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology in February. “We use solid, state-of-the-science therapies to help patients today, while we continue to conduct research to improve TBI treatments for tomorrow.”

    An estimated 2 million Americans sustain a TBI each year, and more than 320,000 service members have experienced them since 2000. The vast majority are concussions, known to researchers as mild TBIs. Gaps in TBI knowledge make understanding traumatic brain injury challenging. There have been more than two dozen failed clinical treatment trials. However, experts are optimistic that information derived from research endeavors will propel the field forward.

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  • Specialists Do a Little of Everything to Get TBI Patients Care [Q&A]

    Read the full story: Specialists Do a Little of Everything to Get TBI Patients Care [Q&A]
    Harold Thibodeaux, a TBI recovery support specialist with Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. (Photo courtesy of Harold Thibodeaux)

    At regional sites around the country, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center offers its Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Recovery Support Program. Leading the program are recovery support specialists, who work one-on-one with service members and veterans diagnosed with TBI and their families, to provide support and guidance throughout the recovery process.

    Harold Thibodeaux, a TBI recovery support specialist since 2008 at San Antonio Military Medical Center, Texas, talks about his work.

    Q: What exactly do you do?
    A: When clients ask what I do, I tell them “everything.” Recovery support specialists ensure that service members and veterans with a TBI stay engaged in their treatment and know about TBI services and resources for recovery. We help patients navigate treatment, receive care in a military or civilian health care system, identify resources to help with nonmedical issues like financial aid, employment, family counseling … the list goes on. My job is to help patients stay on the path to recovery by helping them manage issues that may come up.

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  • Initiative Highlights Military TBI

    Read the full story: Initiative Highlights Military TBI

    A Head for the Future, a public awareness initiative from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), aims to change the way you think about traumatic brain injury (TBI).

    While you might believe that TBI in the military mainly happens in combat, A Head for the Future addresses the fact that most are diagnosed in nondeployed settings. Through the launch of a redesigned website, the initiative highlights the signs, symptoms and treatment of TBI. A Head for the Future also serves to educate service members and veterans — as well as their families, line leaders, health care providers and caregivers — about the significance of preventing brain injuries that can result from incidents like motorcycle and bicycle collisions, sports-related accidents, altercations and falls.

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  • Teach Yourself to Meditate Mindfully

    Read the full story: Teach yourself to meditate mindfully
    U.S. Army photo by Jana York, Public Health Command Region Pacific

    This is the second article in a series on the practice of mindfulness. The series focuses on programs and therapies proven to help improve psychological health and overall well-being.

    Mindfulness meditation is a popular form of meditation that helps treat various psychological health concerns – and it has clinical evidence to show that it works. Although there are many programs led by certified instructors to teach you mindfulness meditation, you can also try the practice on your own.

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  • Moral Injury Poses Hidden Risks for Service Members

    Read the full story: Moral Injury Poses Hidden Risks for Service Members
    Dr. William Nash address the Mental Health Integration for Chaplain Services program. A video of his presentation is available.

    About 30 years ago, two Navy ships were approached by refugees begging for rescue who had escaped Vietnam in underequipped boats. At the time, so-called “boat people” rescues had become so frequent that they were taking Navy ships from their missions. Officers were directed to rescue refugees only when their crafts were not seaworthy.

    Capt. Corwin Bell, in command of the USS Morton, a 415-foot Navy destroyer, decided to pick up the refugees since a storm was approaching. He was later reprimanded.

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  • Former Army Medic Supports Service Members with TBI [Q&A]

    Read the full story: Former Army Medic Supports Service Members with TBI
    Photo courtesy of Randy Gross

    A regional education coordinator is one of a team of people that Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) stations at 16 regional sites around the country. The regional education coordinator serves as a key resource for service members, veterans, family members and health care providers, offering information on treating, managing and preventing traumatic brain injury (TBI).

    Randy Gross, regional education coordinator at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, talks about his work.

    Q: What exactly do you do?
    A: Regional education coordinators educate the community about traumatic brain injury recovery, prevention and best practices in treatment. We work with a variety of people, from individual meetings with patients to presentations before large groups of families or doctors. Most of my interactions with patients and families are at the hospital; however, I also talk with people in the community, which expands our outreach. I meet with approximately 200 individuals a year and go to 40 outside events, where I typically host an information booth and participate in panel discussions relating to military and veteran health care. These events have included veterans’ welcome-home gatherings and military-focused workshops hosted by student veterans associations at local universities.

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