Still at home, still worried about Pádraig’s tremors – though they have got better today. If only they’d stopped altogether. Therapies will resume in the NRH tomorrow. We have also decided that we will get a bit more pro-active and make sure that Pádraig will have access to the physio equipment he requires. I think I mentioned that the HSE office that will submit Pádraig’s application for a home care package (once they have reviewed some aspects of it), will be closed until 04 January. No date given for the final submission. No date given for a decision. What they have made clear is that they will require more training on how to look after Pádraig.

Read.

Two days ago, The New Yorker published an overview of the most interesting psychology papers of 2015 (with links to the articles).

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In between “Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science” and “Facilitating Psychological Resilience Through Boys’ and Girls’ Closest Friendships”, there is “What Works in Inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation?” (from Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation).

They are saying that, finally, “traumatic brain injury, or T.B.I., is becoming a topic of conversation“. They are also saying that “TBI is a huge problem” – well, we knew that much already. But The New Yorker also presents figures: “in 2010, an estimated 2.5 million people in the USA sustained such a TBI, and between 3.1 and 5.3 million were living with long-term, or even permanent, disability due to its effects”.

They highlight that despite the huge effect TBI has on the population, TBI “has been understudied” until recently. There is now an entire issue of Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation dedicated to TBI,  examining the effects of traumatic brain injury and possible future treatments.

Some of the findings are dispiriting, they say because it turns out that “we really don’t have a good sense of what works to treat these injuries, and a kitchen-sink-like approach remains the norm” – to be honest: I could have told them so. Apparently, the best predictor of your eventual outcome seems to be the severity of the injury, rather than any particular treatment you might receive.

BUT: some evidence is promising: Rehabilitation therapy, especially therapy that requires demanding physical or mental activity, does seem to help patients regain function.

Again – I could have told them so without expensive and complicated studies. The Romans already knew that “mens sana in corpore sano“, meaning that only a healthy body can support a healthy mind – therefore, we should strive to keep our bodies in top condition. Now: here is, again, the scientific evidence. It’s not really drugs, it’s not really ‘maintenance’, we don’t really need doctors (primarily), we’re not talking about an illness. We are talking about an injury that requires therapy, and it’s especially demanding physical or mental activity that does seem to help patients regain function.

Please pass this on. To health planners. To Nursing Homes. To the HSE. To therapists. To doctors. To parents. – And than make change happen!

Read.

PS: You just have to concentrate as Rey does in Star Wars VII, use the Force, keep at it, and you won’t believe yourself what you can achieve:

Rey: [Trying to use the Force to compel the guard] You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.

Stormtrooper: What did you say?

Rey: You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.

Stormtrooper: I will tighten these restraints, scavenger scum!

Rey: [Concentrating harder] You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.

Stormtrooper: I will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.

[he does so]

Rey: And you will drop your weapon.

Stormtrooper: And I’ll drop my weapon.