When Trauma Treatment Goes Out of the Box

Guest post by science writer Brenda Patoine

Yoga. Bodywork. Meditation. Chanting. Role playing. Tapping. Talking. These are all strategies used to try to heal psychological trauma, but only one of them (talk therapy) is backed by rigorous clinical studies of the sort that mainstream medicine deems acceptable–that is, randomized, blinded, controlled clinical trials that are published in peer-review medical journals. But does that mean the others are not useful?

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Michigan Mishandles Concussed Football Player

Credit: MGoBlog

Morris needs help to stay upright after a blow to the head. (Credit: MGoBlog)

The scene at Michigan Stadium on Saturday was not what we’ve come to expect in 2014, and that’s a good thing. In the fourth quarter of a college football game between the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota, Michigan quarterback Shane Morris was knocked to the ground by a helmet-first tackle directly under his chin. Morris exhibited signs of a concussion: he winced and walked gingerly towards the sideline before collapsing into a teammate’s arms. Apparently Michigan’s coaches and medical staff didn’t see, or figured his behavior was the result of a leg injury sustained earlier in the game. Either way, Morris returned to the game for the next play. “This seems a little dangerous to me,” the announcer said of the decision. Morris was then sidelined after that, but a few plays later re-entered the game. In the aftermath, Michigan has been roundly criticized by for its handling of the situation.

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Brain Awareness Week 20th Anniversary

Brain Awareness Week 2015—March 16-22—is less than six months away and this year it’s a big one: BAW is celebrating its 20th anniversary! The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives organized the first Brain Awareness Week in 1996, beginning with 160 organizations in the United States. The goal was to connect groups from different sectors—academic, government, business, and advocacy—and unite them through their shared interest in the brain. The unifying theme was that brain research is the hope for treatments, preventions, and possibly cures for brain diseases and disorders and to ensure a better quality of life at all ages. Almost 20 years later, that theme has united 862 organizations across 59 countries and 44 U.S. states. We are looking for an even bigger celebration for Brain Awareness Week’s 20th birthday.

A potential future neuroscientist at event at University of Miami neuroscience graduate students, BAW 2014

A potential future neuroscientist at the University of Miami, BAW 2014

March might seem far in the future, but BAW partners tell us again and again in their Partner Reports how important it is to plan early. Looking through these reports can also help you find other advice and ideas for your event planning.

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Dana Newsletter September

Below is the content that appeared in the latest Dana email newsletter. You can sign up to receive this (and other Dana email alerts and/or print publications) by going here.

Brain-to-Brain Interfaces: When Reality Meets Science Fiction

by Miguel A. L. Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D.

The scientist behind the robotic exoskeleton demonstration at the opening of last summer’s soccer World Cup writes about the research that led up to the historic event and its potential to help paraplegics and others suffering from spinal-cord injuries to move by controlling machines with their thoughts. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.

See also: “Truth, Justice, and the NFL Way,” a book review of League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth

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NIH Puts ‘Money Where Mouth Is’ Concerning Sex Differences Policy

Guest post by science writer Kayt Sukel

Earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health called for a sweeping policy change demanding that sex differences be addressed in future research programs funded by the agency [see Dana story, NIH Calls for ‘Sea Change’ Regarding Sex Differences in Research]. Most applauded the move as a vital first step in transforming how sex differences are currently handled in biomedical studies. But some worried that without proper funding, scientists would have difficulty complying with the new mandates.

“Money is a critical component of all this,” said Jill Goldstein, director of research for the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and Harvard Medical School. “There has to be funding to focus on sex differences or else it’s hard to see how it is really going to happen.”

Today, the National Institutes of Health announced it has awarded more than $10 million in supplemental funding to help grantees better investigate the effects of sex in their research.

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