July 28, 2016 |
By sheer logistics, Ruth Donnelly and Dorothy Johnson-Speight might have never met. In 2001, Johnson-Speight was 52, living in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia, working as a mental health therapist. Donnelly was 43, living in Olney, and working in education. Five miles separated them. They lived in different worlds. But profound tragedy - and coincidence - linked the two: Both lost their sons to murder. Both sons were killed by the same man, just five months - and two blocks - apart.
July 3, 2016 |
Susan A. Masino, the Vernon Roosa Professor of Applied Science at Trinity College, studies links among metabolism, brain activity, and behavior. Brain disorders are expensive, and their costs to families and society can never be calculated fully. As a neuroscientist, I know that despite heroic research efforts our current medical treatments rarely cure neurological problems - and often can't treat them effectively. Devastating and complex problems with our fragile and amazing nervous system span all ages.
June 20, 2016 |
THE CAVANAUGHS have raised their son twice. They taught him to speak, twice. They taught him to walk, twice. Jack Sr. even taught Jack Jr. to ride a bicycle, twice. Jack Cavanaugh Jr. was 21 in August 2013 when he fell 12 feet from an indoor balcony at his parents' cabin in the Poconos. The fall caused a traumatic brain injury that left him comatose for a month. When he awoke, he couldn't walk, communicate, or swallow. His body was a strange machine he couldn't control. Cavanaugh had played soccer and run track at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Delaware County.
May 9, 2016 |
Hello there On a warm November Sunday in 2009, some friends decided the weather was just right for softball. At that game, played on the field of their former high school, Heidi first noticed Jack, and Jack first noticed Heidi. She was Hatboro-Horsham Class of 2003, he was Class of 2004. Though their social circles overlapped a little, they never really spoke back then. They didn't speak on the ball field, either. A week or two later, Jack and friends walked into the Brick House Tavern.
April 25, 2016 |
Few feats for a lacrosse goalie are more difficult than saving a shot that can't be seen. Just ask Hailey Andress. The junior goaltender for Agnes Irwin missed 10 weeks this season after suffering a dangerous brain injury during a February practice. At the Katie Samson Laxfest on Saturday, however, Andress, who has battled vision, balance, and spatial-awareness problems, stopped a career-high 16 shots in the Owls' 14-8 victory over Great Valley at Radnor High. "This was great," Andress said.
April 4, 2016 |
Someday, Mike Shinske might take up golf. Someday, he might buy himself a set of clubs and settle into a weekend routine of a relaxing 18. Someday, he might look back and laugh at his reaction at this time last year when a well-meaning doctor suggested he might want to take up the sport. "Golf?" Shinske remembers saying in the hospital room. "I hate golf. " In time, Shinske might grow to appreciate the challenge of chasing that little white ball around the course. For now, he'll stick with lacrosse.
March 26, 2016 |
At a coffee shop, Brian Mottolo will allow other customers to go ahead of him. He'll wait in the back, practicing his order in his head. When it's all clear, he'll approach the counter and say, "Medium dark roast. Cream and sugar. " When Mottolo, 52, shared that story during a meeting at Magee Rehab recently, his audience lauded him. "You've been practicing!" speech language pathologist Sarah Lantz said. "That's good. That's real good. " Mottolo has aphasia, the loss of the ability to use language because of damage to the brain.
March 13, 2016 |
Like so many who had come to the recent Mind Your Brain conference at Penn Medicine, Janine Kirby wanted to talk about hope. Hers was hard-earned. After a series of concussions from soccer, "life stuff," and boxing, the blow that turned her into a brain injury survivor came at work on 12/12/12, a rare string of numbers that she can remember. A steel beam crashed into her head. From there, she rode a helicopter to Penn. Eighteen months into her recovery, she started having seizures so severe that doctors had to remove her entire right temporal lobe because it was crippled by scar tissue.
March 13, 2016
Ex-Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon (who also spent time with the Eagles) calls himself "old school," including his use of marijuana both during and after his career. His self-medicating could be ahead of its time. Johns Hopkins researchers will test whether a compound found in hemp - and its cousin, cannabis - is as good at treating brain injuries as testimonials say. Some ex-players believe cannabidiol, or CBD, could aid millions who suffer brain injuries, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease caused by repeated concussions and found in many ex-NFL players whose brains were autopsied.
February 21, 2016 |
Concern over the Zika virus - by now, the U.S. has had more than 50 cases, all associated with travel - has brought new focus to a birth defect that has been linked to the illness. It is microcephaly, which already affects about five in 1,000 children. David Bearden, a clinical instructor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has focused much of his research on congenital infections that can cause microcephaly. Bearden, also medical director of the International Program for Neurology at CHOP, spoke to us recently about the condition.