An Interesting Conversation

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I am interested in studying traumatic brain injuries as a medical student. I know some things about it, but not holistic treatments yet. I rely on traditional medicine for basic approaches but want to extend my research to new ways of coping and curing this malady. Few people think about TBI unless they know someone affected. I am interested in helping a young boxer my fellow students and I know from our gym. We see him punching the bag every evening and he has shared the fact that he has the condition and enjoys a workout to alleviate symptoms. Thus, the first piece of the puzzle is in place: exercise. He also jogs for his training and this compounds are certainty that working out helps TBI in many cases. We will test our hypothesis.  We have interviewed him extensively and also some of his friends, many of whom served in the armed forces in the Middle East.

We know that traumatic brain injury means that brain cells die from some kind of trauma such as might occur in combat, or from lack of oxygen. This is most common in children. Blood plasma seeps into surrounding brain tissue resulting in dangerous inflammation and a compromised blood flow. The damage area then can become dormant or fully non-functional. Hyperbaric oxygen is the recommended treatment and can bring out significant healing. I am going to suggest to the boxer that he seek this road to recovery.

With boxers, a TBI can happen after a sudden jolt which may occur after a fall or a wayward jab. This occurs as well with motorcycle and bicycle riders. The brain in effect hits the skull. It can cause TBI or a concussion, a mild version. Most of you have heard of this. If the jolt is strong enough, the afflicted may experience a reduction in cognitive abilities including loss of emotional control, limited mobility, and compromised speech and use of the senses. It is a serious illness. Fortunately, our boxer didn’t get this far and he can enjoy the sport at any time. It often then comes down to treating mental health.

People with TBI can have emotional outbursts, experience difficult sleeping, feel dizzy, have headaches or memory loss and confusion. They may have trouble concentrating and are sensitive more than normal to light and noise. Controlling one’s environment is part of holistic treatment. Every patient has a different combination of symptoms and so there is no one formula for a cure. Psychiatric treatment is in order in many cases since behavioral problems often are symptomatic. It was heartening to see that our young boxer is not an extreme case and that he copes quite well as a result of his favorite sport. Research shows that the cure rate can be high if the right methods are used for treatment. My fellow students and I have learned a lot from our frequent conversations and observations. There is much more to know.

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