Monday, February 10, 2014



Hard to believe that it is February already!  This Saturday will be our second for 2014 and hopefully there will be a lot of new & familiar faces around the table.  It will also be our final meeting before the UW's Brain Awareness open house event, March 4th.

I'm looking forward to this year's Brain Awareness event.  Our booth should be very interesting & we will be meeting lots of Western Washington state kids (grades 4-12) during the four hour event, as well as parents & teachers.  It is always a fun event for us.  I'm hoping that a surprise I've been working on for awhile will happen at the event this year.  Crossing my fingers.

As always, I'm trying to get the meeting & the group listed as a resource on a number of fronts.  Not hearing back from a lot of people, but what else is new?!  It would also be great to find some funding for some aspects of events, like Brain Awareness, to help us do more every year with our booth.

It seems that with every new development in the CTE & brain injury stories, we find a connection to hydrocephalus.  Adding to that, the Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) issues and we are finding more & more that includes hydrocephalus.

I am still shocked that there is even talk out there (some supposed scientists included) saying that Shaken Baby Syndrome isn't real.  Huh?!  The basic facts are pretty clear, the brain & spine of a child aren't developed yet & aren't strong enough to endure shaking.  Add to that the fact that the interior of the skull is rough & jagged, not rounded & smooth like the exterior & it is a disaster ready to happen.  The soft brain tissue was never meant to bang against the interior of the skull.  Even slight bruising or bleeding can cause serious, long term damage--particularly in children.

CTE is, in so many ways, the same thing.  The brain was never meant to make contact with the skull's interior--ever.  While someone may be functional after a blow to the head, it doesn't mean that there hasn't been any damage.  Some of that damage may not show up immediately, or even for years.  While helmets are giving a false sense of security to parents, coaches & players--of all ages, there is a sad reality that is increasingly difficult to ignore.

I will admit that it is a bit frustrating to see stories being done on the news about Alzheimer's & Parkinson's, with no mention of NPH--which is all too often missed because medical professionals mistakenly diagnose 5-15% cases of NPH as either Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.  NPH is treatable, especially if found early!  

I recently saw a tv interview with a victim of abuse.  As a child she had been slammed, head first, into a floor on several (?) occasions.  The interviewer attributed tremors & physical 'ticks' to the emotions in telling her story, but I was curious about the possible damage done to her head & spine with this abuse.  I noticed some of those tremors & ticks when she wasn't talking about the abuse as well, just more subtle ones.  Just an observation.

Hope to see everyone on Saturday.  For potential newcomers, we meet from 12:45 pm to 3:00 pm in the Casey Conference Room at Swedish Hospital's Cherry Hill campus (17th & E. Jefferson, Seattle).  Drop ins & kids are welcome.  We also welcome parents, families, caregivers & those wanting information about the condition of hydrocephalus, as well as those (of all ages) living with the condition.

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