A Run to Remember David McGuire is raising awareness across Canada Story Page 6

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1 BRITISH COLUMBIA S VOICE FOR THE BRAIN INJURY COMMUNITY Summer 2011 A Run to Remember David McGuire is raising awareness across Canada Story Page 6 Neurogenesis: Hope for Regeneration? Page 10

2 Major ICBC Injury Claim Lawyers Who Care DEALING EXCLUSIVELY WITH MOTOR VEHICLE CLAIMS FOR CLOSE TO 40 YEARS The hiring of your firm following our tragic MVA will be a time for gratefulness & appreciation never to be forgotten Katherine V. (mother of a child who suffered a severe brain injury) BERNIE SIMPSON C.M. Member Order of Canada Recipient of the Queen s Jubilee Medal E. ANTHONY THOMAS Dealing extensively with Motor Vehicle Accident Cases for over 15 years Our firm handles motor vehicle injury claims exclusively. Free consultation Low legal fees by percentage Reduced legal fees on major cases Home and hospital visits We handle all expenses Service in all languages including support staff who speaks Punjabi, Hindi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, Italian No recovery, No fees or expenses headline 2 Choosing a lawyer to represent you may be the single most important decision of your life! We can help you get your life back on track. Head Office Suite Nelson St. Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2H (24 Hours) Fax Surrey/Delta Office th St., Delta, B.C. V4C 6P5 BRAIN DAMAGE QUADRIPLEGIA & PARAPLEGIA WRONGFUL DEATH HEAD INJURY SPINAL CORD WHIPLASH

3 Sudoku The rules of Sudoku are simple. Place a digit from 1 to 9 in each empty cell so every row, every column, and every 3 x 3 box contains the digits 1 to Solution on page 22 Message from the Editor Janelle Breese Biagioni Greetings! We may be off to a slow start in terms of the good weather, but nothing has slowed down the work of the Brain Injury Associations province-wide who are preparing for Brain Injury Awareness month in June. Take time to support your local programs by volunteering, making a donation, or stopping in for a coffee to show your appreciation for the hard work done in your area no gesture is too small! In this issue, we are pleased to bring you the story of David McGuire. David, a brain injury survivor, is currently running across Canada to raise awareness and funds for brain injury. David s story is inspirational. His efforts will make a difference in the brain injury community and we are proud to show our support by providing you with up-to-date information on his travels. Check out his story and the website This issue also features thoughts about the hot topic of Concussion in Sports. While the world of professional athletes has been instrumental in keeping this issue current and bringing about some needed changes, there is a real concern about how to translate the same message into recreational sports and day-today activities. We welcome your thoughts on this topic and invite you to comments to shaw.ca. Headline includes information on the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference and the education and information-based website in this issue as well. In closing, as you turn your face toward the sun (I promise, there will be some!) have fun and stay safe! Headline is also available in PDF format. If you would like a copy sent to your address contact Mary Lou by at: Please add Headline to the subject line Raincoast Community Rehabilitation Services where you live, work and play 2392 Kingsway tel: Vancouver, BC fax: V5R 5G9 toll free: headline 3

4 headline is published quarterly by Mike Rossiter 5851 Kittiwake Drive Richmond, BC V7E 3P1 Editor Janelle Breese Biagioni 2031 Gourman Pl Victoria, BC V9B 6A9 HEADLINE welcomes letters and relevant articles for publication, and reserves the right to edit any accepted submissions for clarity and length. A signature, address, and telephone number are required. Please contact Janelle Breese Biagioni for copy deadlines. Mike Rossiter and HEADLINE editors take no responsibility for, nor do they necessarily agree with, the opinions contained in articles, letters or advertising. Contact Janelle Breese Biagioni at for information CHANGE OF ADDRESS? We would like to keep our mailing list up-to-date! If you have moved or would like to be on the mailing list, please contact Mary Lou at: or her at: (Please put HEADLINE in subject line of ) Government Resources Regional Health Authority s ABI Coordinators: Fraser Health - Aquired Brain injury Program Interior Health Authority , Contact Name: Deborah Preston Acquired Brain Injury Program, Northern Health Call Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Vancouver Island Health Authority , Contact Name: Judith Armstrong Enquiry BC-to locate Provincial Government Departments Lower Mainland Outside Lower Mainland Victoria Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology: Open Learning Information: In and Outside Lower Mainland Student Loan Information: Lower Mainland Outside Lower Mainland select 1 then 5 Public Guardian & Trustee of British Columbia: West Hastings St. Vancouver, BC V6B 3L3 Victim s Info Line: Adult and Youth Addiction Services: Lower Mainland Outside Lower Mainland Community Resources BC Coalition of People with Disabilities Advocacy Access Program for assistance with provincial and federal disability benefits Lower Mainland Outside Lower Mainland Bus Pass for Persons with Disabilities and Seniors Lower Mainland Outside Lower Mainland Tim Readman, Executive Director Stroke Recovery Association of BC Phone: Toll Free: Cerebral Palsy Association of BC Lower Mainland Voice and TTY Outside Lower Mainland Community Brain Injury Program for Children & Youth in BC Toll Free Epilepsy BC Lower Mainland Outside Lower Mainland Victoria Information Services Vancouver headline 4

5 AWARD HONOURS UVIC PSYCHOLOGY PIONEER CATHERINE MATEER Acclaimed clinical neuropsychology professor and University of Victoria administrator Dr. Catherine Mateer is the inaugural recipient of a new award from the BC Psychological Association, created in her name the Catherine Mateer Scientist- Practitioner Award. Mateer is widely known for her groundbreaking work in the area of cognitive rehabilitation for survivors of head trauma. She has helped people who have suffered problems with memory, attention and selfregulation following car accidents, falls and blows to the head. Her work in neuroscience has demonstrated the tremendous neuroplasticity of the brain that can help people compensate for problems, leading to better recoveries and more independence. In my work with people who are experiencing cognitive impairments as a result of brain injury, I have always tried to use scientific theory and methods to develop new interventions and to evaluate their effectiveness, says Mateer. The work has been rewarding in and of itself, but to be recognized by a science-practitioner award named for me is an incredible honour. The BC Psychological Association created the award to recognize individuals who have made significant and distinguished advancements in the field of psychology using a scientist-practitioner model to bridge science with the application to real people in real situations. Mateer is a professor in UVic s Department of Psychology, a previous director of Clinical Training and former department chair, and is currently UVic s associate vice-president for academic planning. She has authored three books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Most of them address the management of acquired impairments in memory, attention, executive functions, emotional adjustment and behavioural self-regulation. Mateer is also known for her kind heart, generous nature and willingness to go the extra mile for students, clients, colleagues and staff. You re in Good Hands. Our goal is to assist our clients by obtaining funding for all of their immediate needs in order to maximize their potential for recovery, while we proceed toward obtaining settlement or judgment that allows a sustainable and encouraging new future. Columbia Speech & Language Services Inc. Providing speech and language services to children and adults throughout the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley since West Broadway Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 1J3 T: E: Treatment aimed at community reintegration Personal Injury & Insurance Law #1-505 Fisgard Street Victoria, BC V8W 1R For more information, contact: Barri Marlatt or Lorenzo Oss-Cech JOB #H CLIENT: HUTCHISON, OSS-CECH, MARLATT INSERTION DATE : SPRING 2009 PUBLICATION: HEADLINE MAG headline 5

6 A Run to Remember ~Melissa Wild Just a little run...across Canada! David McGuire is running a marathon a day across our country to raise awareness and funds for brain injury, something that has affected him, his family and his friends very personally and dramatically. In 2005, David suffered a traumatic brain injury - the last thing he remembers is the TV exploding (not literally) - his brain was bleeding, his life was at risk. David s girlfriend, Mandy found him in a pool of blood in his apartment and immediately called emergency services. He was rushed to the hospital where his family was given a choice: consent to an operation that would remove a portion of his scull to allow his brain to swell without further damage, or don t consent and take a moment to say your good-byes. Needless to say, they gave their consent and then anxiously waited at the hospital. After the surgery there were many unknowns; his family was told he may not wake up and if he does he will likely not walk or talk again. David did wake up after being unconscious for seven days. He was confused; he had tubes in his arms, mouth, and places tubes shouldn t be. He didn t know why he was there or why the nurse wouldn t let him scratch his head. A part of his skull was still in liquid nitrogen and his brain was still exposed and swollen beyond the limits of his remaining scull - he was trying to scratch his brain essentially - this was not recommended according to the doctor. David didn t have any memory of what happened to him, he didn t have much memory at that point at all. Twenty-nine days later, after having his skull put back and his head stitched up, David was discharged to the care of his family and a myriad of health professionals who focused on helping him re-learn to do the things we all take for granted: walking, talking, dressing ourselves, eating. His life had been saved but now he had to learn to live again. He spent over a year seeing every discipline of rehabilitation professional available to him. The good news is that David is one of the lucky ones as he likes to say. He did learn to walk and talk again and he can do a lot of things many people with brain injury can t, but life is not easy even for the lucky ones. David has a large scar on the left side of his head, which is the only physical sign of his injury, but on a daily basis he struggles with short-term memory loss and aphasia. He is often treated poorly because his disability can t be seen - it s invisible - like so many brain injuries. David explains some of the frustrations of living with his injury... People look at me and don t see anything wrong with me because you can t see my brain injury. I have to shave my head and show my scar for people to accept that I am disabled, but then I get talked down to...it s a catch 22. Life is frustrating when I can t get simple words out; I struggle with the most common things. It s not funny that I can t get the word milk out at the local store. People don t know how to react so I get smirked at, it happens all the time. I know it s not their fault, they just don t understand. Where is the training? No one teaches the people around me how to deal with that. No one teaches me how to deal with it either. I feel judged. People look at me like Why are you not working? What s wrong with you? I have to re-live and explain one of the most horrific moments of my life to people around me every day just to be accepted. headline 6

7 It takes everything I have to remember to put on shoes, plan a run, take my water, set my training watch, and find my way back home. Every time I go out I am on my own. I have no mental map that guides me. I have no memory of where I am or mental link to where I am going. It is a scary thing, a huge thing...just going for a normal run outside on my own. I depend on technology and my family to get me to my destination, to get me home, and keep me safe....and yet he is considered one of the lucky ones. Overnight David went from being an employee at a national bank to being told to just sit at home and collect his disability cheque. He was not about to just sit and do nothing. But how does someone who can t remember how to get home or what he had for breakfast get out, get a job, keep a job, and get home at the end of the day? David s frustration with his new self, new life, and new dependencies led to immense frustrations. He was dependent on everyone around him to go to the store, the bank, and earn a living. There weren t any supports available to him to help teach him or his family how to deal with this new person he had become. One day he decided to go out on his own - so he ran. He didn t know where he was, where he was going or how to get home but he could run without anyone s help - he felt fantastic! It was David s new found independence through running and the frustration of seeing local brain injury associations close due to lack of funding that inspired him to do A Run to Remember: a marathon a day from St. John s, NL to Victoria, BC. He is breaking the silence that plagues brain injury and bringing a voice to this cause so the next David McGuire won t have to fall through the cracks and struggle the way he did. David has partnered with BrainTrust Canada, a progressive non-governmental organization whose mandate is to aid in the prevention of brain injury; and to improve the quality of life for persons with brain injury. The association works with organizations such as the National Ski Patrol System (CSPS) on national concussion management, and coordinates social marketing programs targeted at the highest risk group for traumatic brain injury, young males BrainTrust s protectyourhead.com campaign garnered 9 international awards, and named the organization the 7th most creative advertiser in Canada. ~ Read The objective of A Run to Remember is to bring to light the issue of brain injury to Canadians. Despite being an epidemic, occurring at comparable levels of serious mental illness, and having terrible economic and human costs, brain injury remains 28 years of experience helping brain injured victims and their families. Joe Murphy, Q.C. Joe Battista, Q.C. J. Scott Stanley Wes Mussio Steve Gibson Brian Brooke Derek Mah Kevin Gourlay Angela Price-Stephens Irina Kordic Eric L. Goodman T: Toll-free Fax E: West Georgia Street Box 11547, Vancouver Centre Vancouver, BC V6B 4N7 headline 7

8 unrecognized by the federal and provincial governments. By undertaking this run, David and BrainTrust Canada hope to help people across the country bring the epidemic of brain injury to light, encourage prevention strategies, and aid in the development of effective programs specifically for people living with acquired brain injury. David began this journey on March 31, 2011 in St. John s, NL and has currently completed 915 km which has brought him into the province of Nova Scotia as of May 4, He has been speaking to the schools and youth at every opportunity along the way as well as the media and whoever else will listen. He is reaching out to others with injury or their families to speak out and tell their story - he wants to show Canada how many people have been affected by brain injury and how drastic the effects are personally, professionally and financially. It is more common than most people realize; in every room of people he speaks to he is hard pressed to find someone who s life hasn t been affected by brain injury - so many people just don t recognize it....she hit her head falling off her bike...he had a stroke...it s just a concussion These are just some of the common phrases we hear every day but how often do we remind ourselves that that stroke and that concussion are brain injury? We may have fancy words for it but at the end of the day it is brain injury and each one is serious no matter how it is labeled. headline 8 Organizations such as Foot Solutions, Honda, Rogers, BDO, Best Western, We Care, BrainStreams, ThinkFirst, SmartRisk, Preventable and The Canadian Ski Patrol have joined David and BrainTrust to make this event possible and start a movement in Canada. Every three minutes someone sustains brain injury; that is a lot of Canadians just in the time it has taken you to read this article. sponsored by Pave the way for David... Buy a Kilometer Online or Text ʻ brainʼ to to donate $5 A Marathon a Day for B r a i n Injury I have brain injury but I can run and I am going to make a difference. ~ David McGuire working to reduce preventable brain injury Join the Movement Help us stop preventable brain injuries It s about making the right decision, take only the smart risks such as; check how much water there is before you dive in don t drink and drive, or get in the car with someone who has been drinking Be a part of the don t text movement while driving and inspire change in wear the gear - helmets prevent up to 88% of brain injuries Canada. 175,000 people in Canada get brain injury every year - that s 480 people per day - more than a Boeing 747! Make a donation! Become a sponsor! Share your Youth are at the highest risk for brain injury. story! Your brain controls everything - breathing, sense of smell, personality, walking, memory, and your ability to learn and make decisions... but... your brain doesn t heal like your arms and legs... brain injury is permanent. Donations can be made in the following ways: Prevention is the only cure! online through PayPal at Through events such as A Run to Remember, we seek to create a lasting legacy for this cause. For more information or to provide support go to: and by texting brain to to donate $5 on your cellular phone bill* HOW? by mail to BrainTrust Canada Industrial Ave, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 7E8 in person to the run team enroute or at any Scotiabank across Canada Share your story: Visit our website or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr by searching username: r2rcanada For more information or to become a sponsor visit or contact the run team: braintrustcanada.com or *All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most Canadian carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of A Run To Remember by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to 45678

9 Brain injury is devastating. Lives are turned upside down. We offer not just a house, but homes for people at all levels of abilities, a foundation to build relationships and be connected to the community. Our transitional and residential rehab programs are developed and guided by rehab professionals, designed for each individual s unique needs and implemented on a daily basis. CONNECT s mission is simple...to make lives better. In Langley call In Lake Country call Janette Jackman Christy McKeating Please visit our website at headline 9

10 Neurogenesis: Hope for Regeneration? ~Larissa Szlavik Every day, thousands of new neurons are produced in the human adult brain. So then why is that people who suffer substantial neuronal loss, such as brain injury survivors, or Alzheimer s patients, have permanent deficits? You can have a partial liver transplant, however with current technology there is no way to replace even small portions of the brain. This is because neurons form elegant networks with astounding complexity. At a given moment a single neuron may communicate through thousands of connections. Imagine trying to add new noodles to a mound of spaghetti without disrupting any existing contacts. For this reason, it was thought that once all these networks are established, the brain doesn t change. However this is not the case. Whoever told you that you were born with all the brain cells you will ever have was wrong. In the same way you are not the same person you were ten years ago, the configuration of your brain is also influenced by a decade of experiences. In the previous article, the concept of brain plasticity was introduced. This is simply put as the brain s ability to change. A central aspect in being shaped by your experiences is your capacity for learning and memory. While the implications of adult neurogenesis aren t completely understood, it makes a whole lot of sense that in order to be able to create new memories, you need to produce new cells. As it turns out adult neurogenesis only occurs in two regions of the brain, the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus. The former is involved in odor perception, and the latter is responsible for the consolidation of new memories. The classic case of a man named HM is a stark illustration. HM suffered severe anterograde amnesia after having his hippocampus scooped out for treatment of epilepsy. A great deal of research suggests that some of the memory impairment in Alzheimer s is associated with a decrease in neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Also chemotherapy prevents neurogenesis, and patients frequently complain of memory problems. While researchers are still trying to better understand this process it means one thing exciting, the brain has an innate capacity to regenerate. It begs the question: can we coax the brain into fixing itself? The only way a cell can be produced is from the division of an existing cell (mitosis). Chances are if you ve paid attention to the news in the last ten PAINE EDMONDS LLP - PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS headline 10 Kirsten Madsen Steve Heringa Brad Garside LET OUR EXPERIENCE WORK FOR YOU ICBC CLAIMS BRAIN INJURY SPINAL INJURY DISABILITY INSURANCE Free Initial Consultation No fees until you collect Home and Hospital Visits Call us now or toll free

11 years, the term stem cell carries a lot of weight. Neural stem cells reside in the adult brain. They have the capacity to grow up to be any type of neuron. However in the same way you need to feed and nurture a baby to make it grow healthy, developing neurons need specific environmental conditions to become functional neurons. Thus, there are only two regions that can act as neural nurseries. New neurons destined for the olfactory bulb come from a region lining the fluid filled sacs in the middle of the brain. Those that integrate in parts of the hippocampus are produced in a special hippocampal region. While these neurons seem to consistently adhere to the same fate, there is a lot of controversy whether they can be persuaded to move to parts of the brain outside these two structures. Neurogenesis occurs in four stages that were characterized by the German neuroscientist Gerd Kempermann. Neural stem cells need to proliferate, to produce special cells called neural progenitors. These progenitor cells being to commit to a special cell type, as if to say when I grow up, I will become a neuron! This stage is termed differentiation. As these cells differentiate into immature neurons, they have to migrate to the brain region where they will settle. Once home they then mature into grown up neurons with extensive branches with which they will integrate into neuronal networks (see figure). There are many cellular events that drive the stages of proliferation, differentiation, migration and maturation. By manipulating these cell signals with pharmaceuticals or environmental factors, it is possible to affect the different stages of neurogenesis. In the natural process, about half of the newly generated cells survive. There is much controversy over the purpose of adult neurogenesis. Why would the brain go through the trouble of a process that is energetically expensive if half the cells produced die? The brain cannot replace tissue in the vast majority of regions, however some speculate that the process of adult neurogenesis is the brain s way of trying. While medical technology is a long way from being able to manipulate this process without causing major complications, we at least know that the brain has the innate ability for regeneration. This is a great leap in the right direction. From Kempermann et al The stages of hippocampal neurogenesis. Type-1 cells are neural stem cells, giving rise to type-2a. Type-2a cells begin to commit to becoming neurons, and produce types 2b, and 3. Immature neurons have short processes and as they mature these processes grow extensive branches that allow them to integrate into networks. References Kempermann, G., Jessberg, S., Steiner, B., and Kronenberg, G Milestones of neuronal development in the adult hippocampus. Trends in neurosci. 27(8): About the Author Larissa Szlavik is currently a Master s student with the Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria. Her research focuses on understanding neural stem cells. She can be contacted at community therapists Building skills. Empowering people. TM Community Integration Driver Rehabilitation Vocational Rehabilitation OTs, PTs, SLPs, RAs GVRD, Fraser Valley, Van. Island, Sea-to-Sky , Ext 153 # Cambie St. Vancouver, BC V5Z 3A6 headline 11

12 Life Altering Concussions ~John Simpson I wanted to lend my voice to that of Janelle s regarding concussions and the real world and to support what she has been saying. We see on TV, we hear on the radio and read in newspapers and magazines about concussion in sport. Back in 1988, I attended a conference in Toronto and one of the presenters was Frederick G. Flynn, DO, FAAN, LTC, Chief Neurobehaviour at the Walter Reed Medical Centre in Washington, DC. What struck me about this presentation was the following comments: In 1928, Martland described the neurological cognitive and behaviour features seen in boxers after long careers. He coined the term, punch drunk for a syndrome manifested by vertigo, staggering gait, Parkinson features and mental deterioration. That was written some 83 years ago. Now, as I ve said, we see concussions in virtually every sport; however, those professional athletes get the best of attention and we see many donating their brain to science on their death. Much has been learned. I wonder just how much of this relatively new research is filtering down into the everyday system. I fear not that much in reality. Recently, I was assisting one particular family regarding their daughter, who was an avid soccer, basketball player and an honour student. They shared with me the run around they had from the medical profession until she ended up with at least two more concussions because the first one was not taken seriously. It was not until she was seen by Dr. Brian Hunt and later underwent a neuropsychological evaluation and received input from an education consultant, that her life started to improve. She may not have achieved what she could have prior to sustaining the concussions; however, at least some help for her and her family was realized. These situations are simply not acceptable. The chances are had she been a top athlete at university, she would have got immediate attention and the outcome would have been, in all possibility, a great deal better. I fear for those children and there are far too many involved in abusive situations or who may be injured in a playground or playing sports that do not get attention. Without the immediate attention and proper precautions the likelihood of second and third concussion is very high. If a child is abused the chances of getting help is even less likely. I have met far too many men in prisons who had concussions from abuse or a fall or from playing sports, who got no attention whatsoever. They ended up doing poorly at school and dropping out, turning to alcohol and/or drugs for self-medication and then crime. My big worry is that in spite of all the media attention, this is not trickling down into the everyday world. As an example, I had a phone call this year from a mother whose son was involved in an incident playing hockey. It was only through her persistence that they got the right medical help and the right help for him in school, because the school was certainly not prepared to recognize the effects of the concussion. I must say that parents are not totally blameless. There are parents who get very upset with coaches for keeping their son or daughter from playing because they have great aspirations of them becoming professionals. By the same token, coaches are not totally innocent. There are those coaches who teach and coach at school and coach in the community. In one incident the coach knew perfectly well that one of his students was not to be playing for the rest of a particular season, yet he played her on his community team where she sustained a second concussion. In another incident, two young men were taken to the same hospital following a motor vehicle crash. Both were similarly injured. One received extremely good information, including a check sheet, and was told if certain symptoms showed to contact the hospital or his family doctor immediately. The other got absolutely nothing and was just sent home. This is from the same emergency room but obviously handled by two very differently trained professionals. These examples in 2011 certainly indicate that there needs to be a lot more education and awareness before the system picks up on how damaging a concussion can be. The one phrase you hear so often on the radio, TV or read in the press is: one person was taken to hospital with non-life threatening head injuries. Maybe it was not life threatening, but very possibly life altering. headline 12

Brain Injury Association National Help Line: 1-800-444-6443 Brain Injury Association Web site: www.biausa.org Centers for Disease Control and

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