5 MYTHS: TBI, PTSD and BRAIN INJURIES

Some Things You Thought You Knew

Over 1.2 million post-9/11 service members are suffering from brain injuries related to their service. According to the CDC, about 150 Americans die from traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related injuries each day, and over 3.5 million citizens every year receive brain injuries from falls, sports, accidents, assaults, and other insults to the brain. Some estimates peg sports-related traumatic brain injuries as high as 3.8 million per year. Drug overdoses, substance abuse, depression, and trauma can cause brain injuries. DoD and the VA report an ongoing suicide epidemic among current and former service members – over 20 per day, cumulatively, over 2.5 times the number of veterans killed in Vietnam — too many related to undiagnosed and untreated brain wounds. And the cumulative result of past traumatic brain injuries, coupled with COVID-caused “longhaul” brain damage, means over 5.3 million men, women, and children are living with TBI-related disability in the United States today, and the numbers are growing.
 

Myth #1: We’re doing everything humanly possible to treat wounds to the brain.

 
Tens of billions of dollars are devoted to research dealing with brain injuries. And costs to society of untreated brain injuries, whether from falls, sports, war, accidents, disease, attacks, or self-abuse run into the billions of dollars each year. Yearly conferences run by hundreds of organizations, businesses, Pharma, and insurance companies make incremental progress on this “terribly complex” problem of understanding the brain, much less how to fix it after it has been damaged. Yet doctors do not think or act like brain injuries are fundamentally treatable.
 
With few exceptions (functional medicine springs to mind), precious little is devoted to treating and healing brain wounds according to basic principles of biology and physiology.
 
It wasn’t so long ago that it was taught in medical schools that you were born with all the brain cells you’d ever have. Continuing research for decades shows the brain produces new brain cells; that stem cells and neurogenesis [birth of new cells] and neuroplasticity and now even anti-ageing are possible due to interventions with extra oxygen.
 
Conventional standard-of-care medicine continues to treat the symptoms of brain injuries without considering basic wound healing principles: you cannot heal a wound to the body or brain without energy and oxygen. You will be hard-pressed to find a concussion specialist who even uses the words “brain wound” or deviates very far from the “Concussion Protocol.” It is nevertheless true that the wound, untreated, can lead to lifelong degradation of abilities and even a downward progression toward diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
 

Myth #2: Most Concussions heal on their own and life goes back to normal.

 
America and the sports world are more and more familiar with “The Concussion Protocol.” Doctors typically say that 80 percent of concussions heal on their own within a month. A concussion is typically a mild traumatic brain injury. In fact, it is a wound to a major body organ. Symptoms vary and the “treatment” is typically rest, exercise, and “the tincture of time.” Worldwide, the Concussion Protocol has little to do with intervention to heal the wound; rather, patients are essentially left to heal on their own, with help to overcome pain and to ease back into life and play. The latest controversy in the highly competitive “concussion rehabilitation” marketplace is whether rest or exercise are the best medicine. Left out of conversations is any discussion of brain wound healing, let alone that wound healing demands energy and oxygen, just like all wounds.
 
Parents, coaches, trainers, team doctors, and school administrators are generally clueless about advances using oxygen to heal brain wounds. Despite potential for long-term damage, simply waiting five days in the Protocol allows teams to return athletes and other concussed patients to play.
 

Myth #3: PTSD is a psychiatric disorder, and you can’t get a brain injury from PTSD.

 
For hundreds of years, mental health problems acquired in war were assumed to be “all in your head.” Terms like Soldier’s heart, Traumatic war neurosis, Combat hysteria, Anxiety disorder, and Combat stress reaction were invented to describe breakdowns. PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, made its first appearance in 1980 in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lll). The history of war, specifically the “shell shock” of WWI, shows that medicine downplayed even the use of the term, choosing to categorize brain injuries from blast as psychological problems. Hundreds of thousands of casualties from World Wars, Korean and Vietnam sustained blast injuries, but it was not until 9/11 that the US Army became the lead medical unit in charge of brain injuries. Despite the record of physical damage, tens of thousands of post-9/11 wounded were diagnosed with “only PTSD,” a psychological infirmity. Not until 2016 did the Army produce evidence that blast injury is the medical explanation for shell shock: preliminary proof of what medicine has been saying without proof for nearly 100 years — blasts cause physical damage, and this physical damage leads to psychological problems, i.e., PTSD. Behavioral, cognitive and psychological deterioration ensues. We have known for decades that PTSD, along with emotional trauma and substance abuse, cause brain damage. Inflammation, reduced blood flow, lack of oxygen delivery, and buildup of plaque in the brain lead to brain fog, cognitive decline and dementia. While PTSD can exist without prior head trauma, it is erroneous to conclude that diagnoses of “PTSD-only” disease exists without searching for head trauma, or that PTSD does not lead to brain damage.
 

Myth #4: The US Army and the VA are the best organizations to deal with combat brain injuries.

 
By the time the DoD recognized that it had a “mental health” epidemic after 9/11, there were tens of thousands of “PTSD-only” combat-wounded victims with sustained brain injury. A US Army four-star general confessed on 60 Minutes at being gobsmacked by the pictures he saw of what blast damage did to brains. Those pictures out of UCLA told a story of what it had taken not just 8 years, but over a century for the Army to recognize what victims knew: blast damage is bad for your brain. At the same time, the Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism of Anne Hull, Dana Priest, and Michel du Cille was throwing a spotlight on the Walter Reed scandal. Other-then-honorable and bad conduct discharges were being thrown at brain-injured soldiers. They were “malingerers” and cowards. Tens of thousands of veterans were essentially thrown out of the military with no medical benefits.
 
The stigma of “mental illness” coexisted with medicine’s inability to recognize the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Alongside the growing diagnoses of TBIs, the epidemic of suicide had become another problem that neither the DoD nor the VA even recognized. The rates went up as more research was done on defining PTSD and TBI and causes for suicide. Despite the Navy and the Air Force’s long history of dealing with hypoxia and the use of hyperbaric oxygenation in healing brain wounds, the Army was given the lead to deal with PTSD; only later did they acknowledge that TBI played a role in the fact that mental illness was the #1 cost in military medicine. DoD continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into research, ignoring off-label treatments that are proven safe and effective. Even their research is savagely influenced by predispositions toward the use of drugs and talk therapy, despite continuing use of interventions without scientific evidence.
 

Myth #5: Because the brain is so complex, there is no real treatment for injuries to the brain, leaving Pharmacotherapy and talk therapy as the best medicine to deal with the symptoms of brain wounds.

 
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states: “Because we cannot do much to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical providers try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury.” For over a decade, veterans report that the most widely prescribed “treatments” for their PTSD and/or TBI is drugs and behavioral, occupational, rehabilitative, and psychological compensatory strategies. They are told the best they can hope for is to retrain their brain to compensate for their losses, and to learn how to cope and live with their “new normal.”
 
During that same period, Functional/Complementary/ Alternative Medicine have been pioneering interventions that marshal the body’s own ability to heal without drugs. We can use hyperbaric oxygenation, supplements, diet, and exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum to tap the body’s long-ignored ability to create new blood vessels, grow new neuronic tissue, fight inflammation and energize dormant cells in the brain. Science around the world has demonstrated and published conclusive evidence that arresting the negative concussion cascade and reversing the damage from brain wounds is possible. Thousands of lucky survivors of brain and blast wounds in Israel, China, Russia, Canada, Australia, Panama, the Philippines and all across the US have had their brain wounds healed and have been returned to their ‘old normal’ through use of non-standard treatments that are safe, effective and much less costly than lives lived on welfare with degraded Quality of Life. Billions of dollars can be saved by expanding the Standard of Care to include Functional/Complementary/ Alternative Medicines.
 
 
The information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.
TreatNOW Signup

Sign Up to learn more about effective treatments for concussion.