The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is excited to announce our theme for the national Brain Injury Awareness Month in March of this year.
Our 2020 theme is:
Creativity is a Superpower ⚡💡
All month long, we’ll be exploring creativity in self-care, education, awareness, sharing resources, conversations and much more.
By exploring our superpower of creativity, we’ll engage, energize, and empower ourselves, each other, our communities and the world!
Here are our specific plans!
Whether you’re a brain injury survivor or caregiver, we’d love to hear from you!
How do you explore creativity?
What kinds of superhero creative solutions do you use to approach your injury or your caregiving?
Send your thoughts to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can private message us on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest).
Prefer to drop us a line by mail? Send your thoughts to:
Kim Thompson, Brain Energy Support Team
3800A Bridgeport Way W #393
University Place, WA 98466
(Editor’s note: Writer and BEST guest blog contributor Isaac Peterson, ponders the concept of recovery and what it means to him as a brain injury survivor. KT)
I was just asked an interesting question: How will you know when you’re fully recovered?
An interesting question.
But I didn’t know how to answer.
As far as I know, other traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors have that same uncertainty.
But the question remains, and I don’t think it’s an easy one to answer, especially since no two brain injuries are alike. There are too many factors to take into account: severity of the injury, location of the injury in your brain, how well you take care of yourself, how positive or negative your attitude is, and more. A person’s age and their physical condition at the time of the injury play into recovery as well.
So how can I tell when I’m completely recovered? What does full recovery look like? Will there be a day I wake up and suddenly I don’t have a brain injury any more? What’s the cutoff point between brain injured and no longer brain injured?
In my search for an answer, I couldn’t find anything concrete about full recovery; it seems there are people who never fully recover, even after many years, and others with mild injuries who recover in weeks or months. The first few months apparently sees the most rapid progress in many cases, but as time passes the rate of recovery slows down, but the survivor most often will or can continue to gain more function for years.
And again, brain injuries and the rate and extent of recovery varies from person to person. That suggests it’s not a good idea to dwell on how long it’s taking to recover, and definitely not to compare your recovery to someone else’s.
Doctors seemed to consider my initial rate of progress pretty remarkable, but after three years I haven’t noticed much progress since then. I can get around and function for the most part, but many activities are still pretty difficult. I still can’t run or jump, can’t play guitar very well, still have a lack of balance and dizziness, some absent-mindedness and chronic fatigue, but those are a good deal less problematic than they were at first.
I consider the fact that I woke up from a severe stroke and am still here to be a pretty good amount of recovery, though.
So I guess the answer to the question I was asked about how I’d know when I’m all recovered is there just isn’t any way to know.
I still have a good long way to go to get back where I was and I just don’t know how long it will take for me to get there. All I can really say is that I fully intend to recover.
This battle isn’t over until I win it. Maybe that’s the correct answer.
Isaac Peterson grew up on an Air Force base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he embarked on a career as an award-winning investigative journalist and as a semi-professional musician in the Twin Cities, the place he called home on and off for 35 years. He also doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab. Peterson also welcomes reader comments. Email him at email@example.com.
(Editor’s Note: Our BEST friend, Dr. Jannine Krause, penned an article exclusive for BEST on the best supplements to support our brains after a brain injury. Thank you, Dr. Krause, for your words and wisdom. KT)
Best Supplements to Support Your Brain After a Brain Injury
by Dr. Jannine Krause
Chances are you’ve seen a few ads touting the benefits of various supplements for your brain health.
Perhaps you took at look at a few in the supplement aisle at the store, but didn’t buy anything as the amount of options overwhelmed you.
Now you’re wondering – what supplements are the most beneficial to support your brain after a brain injury? And will they help your focus, concentration, memory, headaches and irritability?
Focusing on Quality NOT Quantity is Key
It’s easy to be tempted to take a handful of supplements every day to counter every symptom you have.
Unfortunately, this can be really hard on your kidneys and your wallet!
While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest supplement option on the market, this can be dangerous, as many products have added fillers, dyes and oils that are irritants to your body and brain, creating more inflammation and irritation than good.
The less ingredients the better.
When choosing a supplement, you want to consider what is at the core of your brain injury – inflammation.
An inflamed brain struggles to concentrate, is sensitive to lights and noises, is quick to anger, prone to depression and anxiety, in addition to headaches and migraines.
The best supplements to help with brain inflammation include:
- Fish Oil
- Liposomal Tumeric
- Alpha – GPC – (alpha-glycerophosphocholine)
One of the best supplements for countering brain and nerve inflammation is fish oil.
You want a wild caught cold-water fish oil supplement.
The brands Nordic Naturals and Barlean’s are my favorites due to simplicity of ingredients and low mercury testing.
Research has shown 3 grams of fish oil a day is sufficient to support your brain.
Fish oil can improve concentration, focus, and lower agitation over time.
Fish oil combined with turmeric packs a one-two punch to de-inflame the brain and nerves.
What Type of Tumeric Is Best?
Nerves are surrounded by a fatty “insulation” called the myelin sheath.
To get nutrients to the nerves you need a liposomal delivery method that gets the curcuminoids, the active molecules in turmeric, to your brain.
Liposomal means that a molecule of turmeric (the curcuminoids) has been imbedded into a fatty molecule that is easier to absorb by the body.
Tumeric is key for reducing headaches, migraines, joint and nerve pain.
My two favorite types of liposomal turmeric are Curcum-Evail by Designs for Health and Quicksilver Tumeric.
Perhaps you’ve thought about adding fresh turmeric to your food or smoothies. This would be great for gut inflammation, but not as effective for your brain and nerves, as it’s harder for the curcuminoids to get where they need to be using this method.
What Supplement is Best For Actual Brain Repair?
While fish oil has good fats to help restore brain and nerve function, phospholipid based supplements supercharge the effect of fish oil.
Every cell in your body has an outer layer that has fats called phospholipids in it.
Nerves are no different, nor is your blood brain barrier.
Alpha-GPC is a supplement rich in phospholipid fats and the amino acid choline that when taken with fish oil helps strengthen your blood brain barrier to prevent it from allowing toxins to penetrate the brain.
Having a strong blood brain barrier also means you’ll be able to keep nutrients in the brain, too, meaning your supplements will get to the brain and stay there to boost your brain function.
Does Your Brain Need Anti-Oxidants?
The last supplement that I recommend to help the brain repair after a brain injury is resveratrol.
This is the antioxidant that is linked to the anti-aging and circulation benefits of drinking wine.
Now before you grab a bottle of wine, know that you’d have to drink a lot of bottles of wine to get the same results in a supplement.
So, that being said, grapes are high in resveratrol and eating plenty of fruits and veggies will get you more anti-oxidants to help you repair your brain.
Resveratrol by Thorne is my favorite resveratrol supplement.
Sometimes. it’s just plain hard to get those veggies in and in that case this supplement could be a game changer for your brain health.
Putting It All Together…
Now you might be thinking – 4 supplements – Uh! I can’t imagine taking all of those.
You’re in luck!
There is one supplement that has all 4 of these in it.
It’s called Cover 3 and it’s in an easy to take liquid pouch versus having to swallow pills. Check it out at Cover 3.
Supplements Can Be Tried Individually Too!
Now if you are the type of person that wants to try things out individually, start by going down the list as outlined above.
Try a bottle of each and take notes as to how you feel.
Then try combining certain ones to see if there’s a combination that you respond better to than others.
Be Patient with Brain Supplements….
Keep an open mind as these may take a few weeks to elicit their full effects.
Natural medicine isn’t always the quickest medicine.
Prior to trying any of these make sure to check with your doctor for any interactions of these supplements with other medications you may be taking.
Supplements are Not a Substitute For Eating Healthy
Eating fattier fish such as salmon, halibut, mackerel and more can provide added brain boosting.
Research has found a 3-4 oz serving of fish three times a week can help support your brain.
Choline is part of the Alpha-GPC supplement and eggs are rich in choline but a great source of good fat and protein for your brain.
Dr. Krause is a doctor of naturopathic medicine, an acupuncturist and podcast host dedicated to empowering people to take charge of their own health. Her unique approach is simplifying natural medicine and healthy habit formation. She believes that health starts with what we eat, how we move and how well we manage stress. She wants to help prevent little health issues from becoming big ones down the road. She’s committed to slowing down the aging process and wants to help others with this too. There’s a lot of health information available out there, and she’s here to help people focus on what’s important and sustainable for them. Learn more here.
BEST has created a virtual presence for reaching out to those with brain injury and their caregivers. BEST hosts a variety of social events, small group discussions, workshops, and skills training. Our goal in Second Life is to support those with brain injury engage in alternative and meaningful learning and PEER support. Our office can be found on Etopia Island in Second Life.
Our First Annual Cognitive Convention (Cognicon) is February 28 and 29, 2020. Day one (February 28th) begins at noon (PST) and day two (February 29th) begins at 10 am (PST).
Our theme: Creativity Is A Superpower.
The goal is to raise awareness about BEST in Second Life, share information about brain injury, brain health, and supportive communities and programs in Second Life.
There is no charge to attend this event.
Gloria has 30 years independent consulting experience focusing on helping nonprofits and cooperatives develop capacity through training, information management, and organizational systems development. Gloria has degrees from SUNY Stony Brook and Syracuse University, a background in Information Resource Management and Organizational Development, plus a passion for sustainability, both environmentally and organizationally. Since 2008 she has infused her experience, knowledge, and unique leadership style into the operation of BEST. She is also the creative force behind the Etopia Sustainable Communities in Second Life.
Gentle Heron is Alice Krueger. Alice is a former teacher of sciences, mathematics, English, and special education from kindergarten through college level. She has also been an education researcher and professional development provider. She is now permanently disabled with multiple sclerosis. Her world contracted due to the isolation of disability, and in response, she founded the Virtual Ability community in Second Life. Alice is also president of Virtual Ability, Inc., the nonprofit which supports the Virtual Ability community and its activities through collaborative projects with educators and researchers
(3) Wisdomseeker / Lynne Berrett
Lynne Berrett is a co-founder of the Ageless Mind Project and Director of the online brain training program “Virtual Whole Brain Health.” Virtual Whole Brain Health is hosted at Inspiration Island in Second Life where visitors can find interactive builds, engaging activities, and professional presentations on brain health and aging. The approach in all cases is based on current research into lifestyle choices that keep your brain growing. What do you know about the kinds of diet and sleep and mental and physical exercise that make a real difference? We give you solid information and, more important, opportunities to experience the ingredients of a healthy life right in Second Life.
(4) Marly Melina / Niela Miller
Marly Melina (aka Niela Miller) is a musician, artist and poet, with a background in Gestalt therapy. She studied with top therapists, including Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy and other pioneers of the human potential movement. She loves to explore the creative process, and the method she has developed to do that within Second Life is Symbolic Modeling (or SymMod for short). Using Symbolic Modeling allows workshop participants to use the tools available within Second Life to help others explore feelings, values, or challenges within their own lives. It is intended to be a tool for educators, coaches, therapists and group leaders. Her indomitable spirit and love of learning prompts her to challenge her reluctance of all things technical and plunge into Second Life. “As soon as I heard about Second Life, I got excited and curious since I saw its potential for creative projects of all kinds, for doing teaching and therapy in new ways, for meeting people from all over the world, for finding just about any interest group I could think of, and for having a lot of fun,” Miller noted.
(5) Dorothea Beatrix / Marysa Rogozynski
At the beginning of her university education, Marysa encountered a softball accident that resulted in a brain injury. Although this was an obstacle, she was not expecting she completed her BS in Psychology from the University of Jamestown. After completing her bachelor’s, she moved to Spokane, WA, to work on her MS in Psychology and Adult Education. When she is not studying for classes, she enjoys playing with her cats, baking delicious sweets, watching movies, and yoga. Marysa is the Eastern WA Program Manager for BEST, along with a support group facilitator in the Spokane area and an event organizer/volunteer coordinator for the Northwest Brain Injury Symposium.
Renne is an artist, instructor, and superhero promoting the importance of creative education and community participation in the arts and sciences that are active and inclusive. She creates one of a kind handcrafted art, apparel, textiles, computer assemblages, sculptures, videos, and publications that embrace the empowerment of brilliant hues, individualism, and acceptance.As Zinnia Zauber in Second Life she teaches at Peninsula College in Second Life and encourages students to explore the full range of their creativity while connecting them with nonprofits and businesses.
Here are some other opportunities where you can join us in Second Life on a regular basis as well!
Click here to see the PEER Center activity calendar.
Intrigued? Ready to begin your virtual world adventure? Click here to get started today!
The 2020 Washington State Brain Injury Conference will be held on April 15, 2020 from 3 pm to 7 pm and April 16, 2020 from 9 am to 4 pm at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington.
Here is the save the date flyer with information, schedules, costs and more:
Please note, a limited number of scholarships are available to TBI Survivors or Unpaid Caregivers of TBI Survivors. If you feel you qualify, and would like to apply for a scholarship to cover registration and/or hotel for a night, please do not fill out registration above. Instead, request a Scholarship Application by emailing Sara Cravens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholarship applications are DUE NO LATER THAN MARCH 1, 2020. Please follow the instructions on the form when you receive it.