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Category Archives: Brain Injury Treatment

Attorney general supports Montgomery County Veterans’ Treatment Court – Montgomery Newspapers

Posted: June 27, 2017 at 5:46 am

NORRISTOWN >> Pennsylvanias top law enforcement officer showed his support for treatment courts during an appearance at Montgomery County Veterans Treatment Court shortly before the specialty courts latest graduation ceremony.

I am humbled by your service and grateful for your service, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is a former county commissioner, said Monday as he addressed veterans and the specialty courts organizers. I believe in problem solving courts and know how critical they are in our justice system and I believe in you.

Established in April 2011, the veterans treatment court addresses the needs of veterans cycling through the court and prison system. Judge Todd D. Eisenberg, who currently presides over veterans treatment court, held a graduation ceremony on Monday for four veterans who completed the program.

This is an exciting day here in veterans treatment court, said Eisenberg, who also was joined by recently Retired Judge William J. Furber Jr., who helped spearhead the development of the specialty court.

The veterans treatment court is a collaboration of the county judicial system, the district attorneys office, the public defender, the county jail, the adult probation office, community-based treatment providers and county and federal departments of Veterans Affairs.

Shapiro said Pennsylvania has 872,000 veterans, the fourth highest total in the U.S., and about 20 veterans treatment courts. He said one of his goals is to have more problem-solving courts available in all 67 counties in the state.

These problem-solving courts work, said Shapiro, characterizing them as a smart on crime approach.

Officials have said the specialty court has the goals of enhancing public safety and reducing recidivism rates among veterans who are charged with crimes. Under the program, veterans are connected with community treatment services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs while receiving appropriate dispositions to their criminal charges.

The program, officials said, decreases time spent in jail by moving offenders expeditiously into appropriate treatment settings, promotes employment among the offenders and helps veteran defendants become productive members of their communities.

To be eligible, a veteran must suffer from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma or psychological or substance abuse problems that require treatment and which contributed to their crimes.

We know these issues can have a negative effect on veterans when they come home, Shapiro said.

Eligible offenders must agree to follow a court approved treatment plan and routinely meet with probation officials and the judge. When offenders are released from the court or prison system, Veterans Affairs officials are available to assist them.

Know that Im as committed to you as you are to yourself and your community, Shapiro addressed the veterans. I wish you all the very best. Were here for you.

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Prevacus Inc., Announces the Addition of Randy Travis to its Advisory Board – GlobeNewswire (press release)

Posted: at 5:46 am

June 26, 2017 09:01 ET | Source: Prevacus, Inc.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Prevacus, Inc., a leading biopharmaceutical company focused on developing treatments for concussion (mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)) and other neurological disorders, today announced a partnership with country music legend Randy Travis and The Randy Travis Foundation.

“I am delighted to have the support of Randy and his foundation,” said Dr. Jake VanLandingham, CEO of Prevacus. “Randy suffered a significant neurological injury and has worked hard to recover. He is a passionate fighter and a powerful voice for others in need, especially for members of our military struggling with neurological conditions associated with brain injury. With Randys support, we will continue developing PRV-002, our novel concussion treatment, to help make the world safer for members of our military, professional athletes and the general populace.”

Randy and his Foundation will join others at Prevacus including Brett Favre, Jay Saldi, Roger Staubach, Leigh Steinberg, James Bus Cook, Abby Wambach, Dale Jarrett, Steve Mariucci, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Matt Hasselbeck, Warren Moon and Kerri Walsh-Jennings.

About Prevacus Prevacus, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing drug candidates with the potential to advance treatment in the fields of traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders. The Company’s first development candidate (PRV-002) represents a breakthrough strategy for treating concussion working at the molecular level to simultaneously reduce inflammation, swelling, ischemic injury and oxidative stress.

About The Randy Travis FoundationThe Randy Travis Foundation is a charity dedicated to raising awareness for viral cardiomyopathy and providing arts and music enrichment for children. The two-part purpose connects a diverse group of people to support and find a cure for viral cardiomyopathy resulting in neurological damage along with providing opportunities for at-risk children to participate in arts and music programs. The foundation mission is to serve those affected by viral cardiomyopathy by facilitating research and support for individuals affected by the condition along with creating opportunities for involvement in enrichment programs for children.

About Concussion A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a significant force to the head or upper body causing the brain to shake inside the skull. The injury is defined as a concussion when it causes a change in mental status such as amnesia, disorientation, mental fogginess, confusion, nausea/vomiting, blurred vision, headache, balance deficits or loss of consciousness. There are 21 symptoms demonstrated to be associated with concussion. Loss of consciousness does not indicate injury severity. Because no two concussions are exactly alike, effects and recovery are sometimes difficult to assess. Therefore the condition requires a compound that can work to reduce multiple pathological issues.

About PRV-002 PRV-002 is a fully synthetic non-naturally occurring neurosteroid administered through the nasal cavity. PRV-002 carries with it equivalent, if not superior, neuroprotective effects compared to related neurosteroids. Animal models of concussion demonstrated that PRV-002 reduces the behavioral pathology associated with brain injury symptoms such as memory impairment, anxiety, and motor/sensory performance. Additionally, PRV-002 is lipophilic and can easily cross the blood-brain barrier to rapidly eliminate swelling, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain while restoring proper blood flow.

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Five ways virtual reality is improving healthcare – The Independent

Posted: at 5:46 am

Virtual reality is much more than just a new form of entertainment, it is increasingly being used in a wide range of medical applications, from treatments to training. Here are a few of them.

1. Pain management

There is good scientific evidence that virtual reality (VR) can help relieve pain. The parts of the brain that are linked to pain the somatosensory cortex and the insula are less active when a patient is immersed in virtual reality. In some instances, it can even help people tolerate medical procedures that are usually very painful.

Other studies have shown that amputees can benefit from VR therapy. Amputees often feel severe pain in their missing limb, which can be hard to treat with conventional methods, and often doesnt respond well to strong painkillers like codeine and morphine. However, a technique called virtual mirror therapy, which involves putting on a VR headset and controlling a virtual version of the absent limb,seems to help some patients cope better with this phantom pain.

2. Physical therapy

VR can be used to track body movements, allowing patients to use the movements of their therapy exercises as interactions in a VR game. For example, they may need to lift an arm above their head in order to catch a virtual ball.

Its more fun doing exercises in virtual reality than it is in a gym, so people are more motivated to exercise. It can help in other ways too. For example, we found that for patients who are anxious about walking, we can control their virtual environment so that it looks as though they are moving much slower than they actually are. When we do this, they naturally speed up their walking, but they dont realise they are doing it and so it isnt associated with pain or anxiety.

Virtual reality can be used in physical therapy (Wendy Powell)

Studying how people perceive and interact with VR systems helps us design better rehabilitation applications.

3. Fears and phobias

If you have an irrational fear of something, you might think the last thing you need is to see it in virtual reality. However, this is one of most established forms of medical VR treatment. Phobias are often treated with something called graded-exposure therapy, where patients are slowly introduced to their fear by a therapist. Virtual reality is perfect for this as it can be adjusted precisely for the needs of each patient, and can be done in the doctors office or even at home. This is being used to treat phobias such as fear of heights and fear of spiders, but also to help people recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

4. Cognitive rehabilitation

Patients with brain injury from trauma or illness, such as stroke, often struggle with the everyday tasks that we take for granted, such as shopping or making plans for the weekend. Recreating these tasks within virtual environments and allowing patients to practise them at increasing levels of complexity can speed up recovery and help patients regain a higher level of cognitive function.

Doctors can also use these same virtual environments as an assessment tool, observing patients carrying out a variety of real-world complex tasks and identifying areas of memory loss, reduced attention or difficulty with decision-making.

5. Training doctors and nurses

In the future your doctor may prescribe one of these (Shutterstock)

Virtual reality is, of course, not just for patients. It also offers benefits to healthcare professionals. Training doctors and nurses to carry out routine procedures is time-consuming, and training generally needs to be delivered by a busy and expensive professional. But virtual reality is increasingly being used to learn anatomy, practise operations and teach infection control.

Being immersed in a realistic simulation of a procedure and practising the steps and techniques is far better training than watching a video, or even standing in a crowded room watching an expert. With low-cost VR equipment, controllable, repeatable scenarios and instant feedback, we have a powerful new teaching tool that reaches well beyond the classroom.

Wendy Powell is a reader in virtual reality at University of Portsmouth. This article was originally published on The Conversation (www.theconversation.com)

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Prevacus Inc., Announces the Addition of Randy Travis to its Advisory Board – EconoTimes

Posted: June 26, 2017 at 10:49 am

Monday, June 26, 2017 1:02 PM UTC

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 26, 2017 — Prevacus, Inc., a leading biopharmaceutical company focused on developing treatments for concussion (mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)) and other neurological disorders, today announced a partnership with country music legend Randy Travis and The Randy Travis Foundation.

“I am delighted to have the support of Randy and his foundation,” said Dr. Jake VanLandingham, CEO of Prevacus. “Randy suffered a significant neurological injury and has worked hard to recover. He is a passionate fighter and a powerful voice for others in need, especially for members of our military struggling with neurological conditions associated with brain injury. With Randys support, we will continue developing PRV-002, our novel concussion treatment, to help make the world safer for members of our military, professional athletes and the general populace.”

Randy and his Foundation will join others at Prevacus including Brett Favre, Jay Saldi, Roger Staubach, Leigh Steinberg, James Bus Cook, Abby Wambach, Dale Jarrett, Steve Mariucci, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Matt Hasselbeck, Warren Moon and Kerri Walsh-Jennings.

About Prevacus Prevacus, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing drug candidates with the potential to advance treatment in the fields of traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders. The Company’s first development candidate (PRV-002) represents a breakthrough strategy for treating concussion working at the molecular level to simultaneously reduce inflammation, swelling, ischemic injury and oxidative stress.

About The Randy Travis FoundationThe Randy Travis Foundation is a charity dedicated to raising awareness for viral cardiomyopathy and providing arts and music enrichment for children. The two-part purpose connects a diverse group of people to support and find a cure for viral cardiomyopathy resulting in neurological damage along with providing opportunities for at-risk children to participate in arts and music programs. The foundation mission is to serve those affected by viral cardiomyopathy by facilitating research and support for individuals affected by the condition along with creating opportunities for involvement in enrichment programs for children.

About Concussion A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a significant force to the head or upper body causing the brain to shake inside the skull. The injury is defined as a concussion when it causes a change in mental status such as amnesia, disorientation, mental fogginess, confusion, nausea/vomiting, blurred vision, headache, balance deficits or loss of consciousness. There are 21 symptoms demonstrated to be associated with concussion. Loss of consciousness does not indicate injury severity. Because no two concussions are exactly alike, effects and recovery are sometimes difficult to assess. Therefore the condition requires a compound that can work to reduce multiple pathological issues.

About PRV-002 PRV-002 is a fully synthetic non-naturally occurring neurosteroid administered through the nasal cavity. PRV-002 carries with it equivalent, if not superior, neuroprotective effects compared to related neurosteroids. Animal models of concussion demonstrated that PRV-002 reduces the behavioral pathology associated with brain injury symptoms such as memory impairment, anxiety, and motor/sensory performance. Additionally, PRV-002 is lipophilic and can easily cross the blood-brain barrier to rapidly eliminate swelling, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain while restoring proper blood flow.

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Placebos work even when patients know what they are

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Untreated Traumatic Brain Injury Keeps Youth in Juvenile Justice System – Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Posted: at 10:49 am

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) within youth, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an injury to the head that causes disruption of the normal function of the brain, is fast becoming an issue of concern for parents across the United States. High-profile incidents of TBI reported in professional athletes have sparked conversations on the safety of youth participation in a variety of sporting activities including hockey, boxing, soccer and full-contact football.

TBI that occurs during sporting events is only the tip of the iceberg. TBI also occurs frequently because of falls, motor vehicle accidents, fights and physical abuse perpetrated by adults. Hence, youth between the ages of 15 to 19 are one of the highest-risk groups to experience TBI, and the consequences of this high rate of TBI within youth are diverse and far reaching. TBI within youth have been shown to be associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, attempted suicide, and abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.

Furthermore, TBI has also been shown to increase criminal behavior by youth and lead to their later involvement with law enforcement. A systematic review of research found that TBI is approximately three times more likely to occur within youth in the juvenile justice system relative to their nondelinquent peers. Therefore, we make an urgent call to action to all practitioners across the juvenile justice system to focus on TBI with evidence-driven assessment tools and interventions.

We believe, based on the prevalence of TBI and its known effects within youth in the juvenile justice system, that practitioners are increasing the likelihood for some of the most disadvantaged and marginalized youth to repeatedly fail by not adequately addressing TBI. Repeated failures will contribute to a destructive cycle of criminal behavior that causes harm both to the youth and society at large. For the youth with TBI adjudicated multiple times, instability and stigmatization accumulates with each encounter, thus further alienating the youth from pro-social opportunities. For society, the cost of additional crime and incarceration of youth with TBI contributes to the already high price that local and state government pay to ameliorate crime.

The first step to address TBI is the systematic assessment for it within all youth who enter the juvenile justice system. Practitioners must accurately assess for a problem in order to understand it, and TBI is no different. The traditional means of assessment has primarily included a single yes or no question asking the youth whether he or she has experienced any head injury that caused them to black out or lose consciousness. However, the use of a single question gives a very truncated view of an individuals TBI history and it fails to differentiate the severity of lifetime TBI experiences.

Instead, practitioners in the juvenile justice system should adopt evidence-driven assessment tools that provide a systematic method to capture an individuals TBI history. Two assessments that have been tested for accuracy are the Ohio State University TBI Identification (OSU-TBI-ID) method and the Traumatic Brain Injury Questionnaire (TBIQ). The OSU-TBI-ID is a structured interview process that guides a practitioner to probe all significant medical injuries experienced by a youth in their lifetime in order to identify and further elucidate those that involved the head, neck or high-velocity forces.

An important gap not adequately addressed by many of the assessments of TBI is how to capture the occurrence of mild TBI. Existing assessment tools primarily focus on head injuries that either led to the seeking of medical attention or a loss of consciousness.

However, it is estimated that approximately 85 percent of all TBIs are never documented because they do not result in a loss of consciousness or require medical attention. While any one mild TBI is likely to not result in anything worse than short-term headache or dizziness, the accumulation of multiple mild TBIs has the potential to result in similar consequences to that of a more severe TBI. Therefore, we believe that practitioners should supplement either the OSU-TBI-ID or the TBIQ with a question about injuries to the head or neck that resulted in disorientation, dizziness, confusion or a dazed state.

Beyond simply identifying a history of TBI with the systematic assessment of all youth in the juvenile justice system, practitioners also need to implement evidence-driven interventions to help youth be successful long term. In particular, interventions that focus on coping skills and executive functioning or cognitive abilities that include cognitive flexibility, inhibition, working memory, problem solving and goal-directed behavior have the potential to provide important benefits for youth in the juvenile justice system.

Interventions that have undergone evaluation and shown promising results are the Coping Skills Group, Goal Management Training and the Attention Improvement and Management Program. For example, Goal Management Training is a low-cost, straightforward intervention that provides a structure for youth with TBI to think about their thinking (i.e., metacognition) and execute goal-directed behaviors in their daily living. Each of these interventions could easily complement treatment modalities already shown to be effective with youth in the juvenile justice system, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Overall, the prevalence of TBI among youth in the justice system is an important issue that requires an urgent call to action for all practitioners who work with juvenile delinquents. There absolutely must be widespread implementation of evidence-driven assessment and intervention to address TBI throughout the juvenile justice system. Failure to act on this issue will continue to relegate thousands of youth every year to a lifetime of further hardship and disadvantage. We have the tools to address TBI and we must act.

Tanya Renn is a National Institute on Drug Abuse T32 postdoctoral fellow at the Brown School of Social Work and works with the Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation.

Christopher Veeh is a research assistant professor working for the Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation at the Brown School of Social Work.

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Concussion Guidelines Adopted at International Level – UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences News

Posted: at 10:49 am

Research that shows activity aids recovery for concussion patients has been adopted by experts in the field.

New guidelines published this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine are intended to guide clinical practice, as well as future research in the field of sport-related concussion.

The guidelines include research by John J. Leddy, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedics, and Barry S. Willer, PhD, professor of psychiatry.

The 2017 Concussion in Sport Group drafted new guidelines on how to best treat concussion for individuals ages 6 and older. For the first time, the recommendation for prolonged complete rest post-concussion was updated.

We are not saying, after a concussion, go crazy and resume life as if nothing happened, says Leddy, an adjunct professor of rehabilitation science. What we are saying is that after two days of complete rest, if your symptoms have stabilized and you are starting to feel better, then it is OK to start to gradually do life activities and get your heart rate up a little. Dont just sit in a bed with the lights off.

Guidelines are released every four years to reflect updates that have taken place in the field of concussion research, he says. The biggest change from 2012 to 2016, Leddy says, was the replacement of the recommendation for complete rest beyond the first few days after concussion with guided and controlled activity.

The old guidelines indicated that individuals should not return to activity until they were asymptomatic. Until that time, the individual was told to do nothing.

This was known as cocoon therapy, Leddy says, That was how the old guidelines were interpreted and patients were resting, literally being told to do nothing, until they were asymptomatic. The problem with that was even non-concussed people often have some symptoms on any given day.

The guidelines were good at keeping kids from participating at activities that risk another head injury before recovery, but were being interpreted to recommend that any level of exertion was detrimental to the brain. We now know that interpretation was wrong. All over the world, the treatment of complete rest was prolonging symptoms in many people.

The document was developed by experts in the field of concussion for physicians and health care providers who are involved in athlete care at a recreational, elite and professional level.

“This document has major implications in terms of concussion treatment,” says Leddy, medical director of the UBMD Concussion Management Clinic, who was part of the panel that formed the new guidelines. “It is the most cited document when it comes to treating concussion. These guidelines are meant to inform practitioners what the latest evidence says and to give advice about how to handle concussion.”

Leddy says these guidelines have influence all over the world.

The advice offered through the guidelines, he says, is often followed by professional sports teams, college athletic departments, high schools, physical therapists, athletic trainers, sports physicians, primary care doctors and pediatricians.

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New Tools for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Primary Care Clinicians Leads to Robust and Quick Uptake of … – PR Newswire (press release)

Posted: at 10:49 am

“Historically, integrating new evidence into provider behavior can take many years. However, we demonstrated a rather robust and quick uptake of several recommended clinical strategies, even ones new to many primary care providers,” says Kristy Arbogast, PhD, lead author and co-director of CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention. “The EHR platform allowed us to provide clinical practice guidance across our geographically and socio-economically diverse network, and promote systematic implementation and documentation of emerging recommended practices. We want all patients to get ‘CHOP-level care’ no matter where they enter our system.”

The study’s results highlight that in the two years leading up to the intervention, neither management strategy was implemented and documented consistently or systematically. In the pre-intervention period, performance of the vestibular oculomotor exam was documented in the EHR for only 1.8 percent of concussion visits. In contrast, 71 percent of visits in the post-intervention period included evidence of this exam for an overall 129 percent increase from July 2012 to June 2014.

During the pre-intervention period, 19 percent of concussion visits included EHR documentation of sharing return-to-learn and return-to-play guidelines. In contrast, in the post-intervention period these phrases were found in 73 percent of EHRs for a total increase of 85 percent.

The vast majority of exams performed in the post-intervention period (95 percent) were documented within a “Concussion SmartSet” template in CHOP’s electronic health record system, EpicCare, showing that the template facilitated performance and systematic documentation of the exam components.

“We were motivated to create the Concussion SmartSet by increasing numbers of youth seeking concussion care in primary care,” says Christina Master, MD, study co-author and a primary care sports medicine specialist. “During a provider needs assessment we identified a clear clinical need and engaged front-line clinicians in the design of the tool. We also provided hands-on, in-person provider training on the use of the tool during continuing education events at CHOP’s Care Network sites. These steps were critical to our success.”

“We are encouraged by the power of the electronic health record platform to improve best practices for concussion and other medical conditions,” says Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa, PhD, study co-author and senior health scientist at CDC’s Injury Center. “Linking these provider behaviors to better patient outcomes is one potential next step for this line of research.”

Large and small health networks and practices can use the emerging evidence-base in concussion to develop their own clinical guidelines and pathways. The Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter website from CHOP has resources that are freely available for use. Additional resources for healthcare providers and others involved in the care of children are available from CDC through HEADS UP to Youth Sports at https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/youthsports/index.html.

Kristy B. Arbogast, PhD, Allison E. Curry, PhD, Kristina B. Metzger, PhD, Ronni S. Kessler, MS, Jeneita M. Bell, MD, Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa, PhD, Mark R. Zonfrillo, MD, Matthew J. Breiding, PhD, Christina L. Master, MD. Improving Primary Care Provider Practices in Youth Concussion Management. Clinical Pediatrics. May-19-2017. 10.1177/0009922817709555

About Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 546-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

About CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention: For more than 20 years, the Injury Center has helped protect Americans from injuries and violence. As the nation’s leading authority on injury and violence, we study violence and injuries, research the best ways to prevent them, and apply science and create real-world solutions to keep people safe, healthy, and productive. Within the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, it is part of our mission to reduce deaths and injuries from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Our work informs how to protect people from TBIs, help medical professionals improve TBI treatment, and support state TBI surveillance and prevention efforts. For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-tools-for-childrens-hospital-of-philadelphia-primary-care-clinicians-leads-to-robust-and-quick-uptake-of-concussion-management-strategies-300479495.html

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These students just received a scholarship from Beyonc – PBS NewsHour

Posted: June 25, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Sadiya Ramos, a recipient of the Formation Scholarship, has been dancing since she was 3 years old. Photo courtesy of Sadiya Ramos

Maya Rogers had been playing music for nearly 30 years in 2013 when she sustained a traumatic brain injury from a car crash.

When she began treatment, which involved playing instruments and singing to accelerate her recovery, Rogers was no longer able to read sheet music. It took years of work, but she was able to eventually sing and play again, and also teach.

Today, she is one of four recipients of the Formation Scholarship, a tuition award created by singer and songwriter Beyonc and funded by her company Parkwood Entertainment that supports young black female scholars.

Endowed in honor of Beyoncs visual album Lemonade, which was released one year ago, the tuition scholarship provides $25,000 for four students. Applicants composed an essay describing why Lemonade was significant to their lives and submitted a portfolio of their work.

Recipients say the Formation Scholarship, named after the last track of the album, is doing more than just funding tuition: it is helping young black women to enter creative fields, where under-representation, job insecurity and discrimination can act as barriers to entry or deterrents to continuing a career.

If a young black girl saw me performing, talking about something that was universal, I think it would definitely have an impact on her because she saw someone that was like her doing it, too, Rogers said.

The NewsHour Weekend spoke to the four scholars to learn more about their backgrounds, embracing their identities as black women and the goals of their work.

Bria Paige, 19, Spelman College

Photo courtesy of The Formation Scholars Award

The granddaughter of a professor and daughter of a lawyer, Bria Paige knew that she wanted to study English before enrolling at Spelman, where she has focused her studies on authors from marginalized communities.

As a UNCF Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Paige will be conducting research on black women and their political spaces, a project in part inspired by Lemonade.

I felt like her album transcended just the artistry and really delved into the political, Paige said of Beyonc. Her album really celebrated black womanhood. And not only the joy and triumphs of black womanhood, but also the perils, the hard times.

Paige intends to earn her PhD in English and become a professor. She hopes to use an interdisciplinary framework in academia, incorporating womens studies and gender studies. Being a Formation scholar just means to me being bold, unafraid and unapologetic in my work and in my scholarship, she said. Lets just get in formation to really shake up this world and make our presence known.

Sadiya Ramos, 19, Berklee College of Music

Sadiya Ramos dance career started at age 3 when she began taking lyrical dance lessons from her mother at their church. Since then, she has appeared in the Nutcracker with the American Ballet Theatre, performed with Stevie Wonder at the Special Olympics and danced in a music video to protest the death of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by a police officer last year during a traffic stop in Minnesota.

I fell in love with the ability to communicate through your body. The body has no limits and neither does creativity, Ramos said.

As a child, Ramos felt she was rejected from some roles for which she was qualified because she is not white. My greatest challenge is being a woman of color in ballet, she said. There are more as the years go by, but there arent many of us and people arent exactly open to this change. That was definitely something that I went through as a child because the way my body grew was different, my skin tone was different and I was just different. That was hard for me to understand as a youth.

With the aid of supportive dance teachers, and with ballerinas of color like Laura Anderson, Michaela DePrince and Misty Copeland as role models, Ramos said she gained the confidence to embrace what makes her different.

As a woman of color, people have different perceptions of me and how I will act and how I will dance. My parents instilled in me the importance of not paying attention to the outside noise because it truly didnt matter. It was just about dance, she said.

Maya Rogers, 36, Howard University

Music has been a part of Rogers life since she began playing the violin at age 4 and started practicing piano a year later. She took singing lessons from her mother and played the flute throughout college.

Rogers was repeatedly told that her interest in the creative arts could not yield a stable career, but she did not want to leave it behind. Her experience teaching led her to study music therapy and the healing arts. She said the scholarship has helped to ease the burden of schools expenses, bringing her closer to becoming the first person to earn a certificate in music therapy from Howard University.

My focus is really these days around how music impacts human beings, how the human voice is something that we can use to be empowered by how it connects us to one another when we sing together. Really wonderful things happen: we bond together socially, our bodies actually begin to sync up, our heart beats sync up, we breathe together, Rogers said.

She added that she hopes to work with people who have disabilities and can benefit from music therapy. Witnessing how music really impacts their ability to communicate better, their self confidence, their general enjoyment for life. To me, those are the greatest triumphs, she said.

Avery Youngblood, 23, Parsons School of Design

Photo courtesy of Avery Youngblood

Avery Youngblood said her own identity as a black woman has shaped her scholarship, having written an undergraduate thesis on minority dialect and African American Vernacular English at Stanford University. Now, it continues to do so as she studies at the Parsons School of Design.

Youngblood said she enjoys using design to relay political messages on race, ethnicity and linguistics, among other topics. She is always thinking about perception: how she is perceived because of her race and gender, how other people are perceived because of their identities and how such perception affects opportunities available to them.

Your greatest strength is your identity, your roots, she said.

Youngblood believes black womanhood gives her a unique perspective to design and encourages her to create for a diverse audience.

I think as you become older, you become more conscious of whats around you: how everything is geared towards a certain audience or geared towards a certain demographic and you realize youre not that demographic, she said. What design has allowed me to do is actually look at every single thing that I walk past especially in New York, where you have so many advertisements and you can tell what speaks to you and what doesnt speak to you. I hope to achieve designs that speak to all different types of bodies.

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Philips to buy Electrical Geodesics for brain monitoring tech – FierceBiotech

Posted: at 4:42 am

Philips has struck a deal to buy Electrical Geodesics for its noninvasive brain activity monitoring and interpretation devices. The Dutch conglomerate plans to combine the technologies with its imaging and informatics assets to better diagnose and guide treatment of neurological disorders. Electrical Geodesics specializes in electroencephalogram (EEG) hardware and software. Like other EEG technologies, the products detect electrical activity in the brain. The difference, as Philips sees it, is the Electrical Geodesics technologies use more electrodes to gather brain activity data than is typical. The dense array EEG marketed by Electrical Geodesics uses 256 sensors. Electrical Geodesics opted for this approach to deliver readouts that track changes in brain activity millisecond by millisecond at high resolution. Philips is a believer in the merits of the approach. By adding the technology to a portfolio featuring imaging and informatics capabilities, Philips is aiming to assess the anatomy, physiological processes and electrical activity of the brain. The hope is this comprehensive assessment will improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders, notably stroke, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and Parkinsons disease. By fusing these different tools together, we will create a more comprehensive map of the brain, and unlock new computational algorithms which will help to shorten the path to a definitive diagnosis and guide some of the most complex therapeutic strategies, Philips Joe Burnett said in a statement. Philips is set to pay 29 million ($37 million) to acquire Electrical Geodesics. The deal is due to close in the third quarter. Electrical Geodesics is a Eugene, Oregon-based company with a stock listing in London, hence why the deal is priced in British pounds. While Philips is excited by the clinical implications of the EEG technology, Electrical Geodesics is currently reliant on researchers for a sizable slice of its limited revenues. Sales grew 4.7% to $14.3 million last year. Electrical Geodesics was on course to beat that figure until sales fell away in the second half of the year. Management attributed the decline to uncertainty about federal research funding following the election of Donald Trump.

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New brain network model could explain differences in brain injuries – ETHealthworld.com

Posted: June 24, 2017 at 8:45 am

To understand the effect of injury, we must look not just for localized changes but network-wide changes caused by the disruption of network connections. Considering the brains network of activity, rather than just individual regions, could help us understand why some brain injuries are much worse than others, according to a study published PLOS Computational Biology by Maxwell B. Wang, Julia Owen, and Pratik Mukherjee from University of California, San Francisco, and Ashish Raj from Weill Cornell Medicine.

The human brain displays an astonishing range of responses to injury, depending on its location. This is conventionally considered a result of the fact that each brain region has a specific functional role. However, there is increasing evidence that the brains regions do not operate in isolation but as a network or connectome. Therefore, to understand the effect of injury, we must look not just for localized changes but network-wide changes caused by the disruption of network connections.

The authors used a combination of Diffusion-Tensor MRI and ideas from graph theory to investigate patterns in the white matter network architecture of the brain, and how these change due to injury. They built on previous work by Dr. Raj, in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine, and colleagues that showed that simple models of networks capture brain-wide patterns of degeneration as well as normal patterns of brain activity. These patterns can be decomposed into the networks eigenmodes, which may be thought of as sub-networks into which reverberatory or propagating activity gets concentrated, not unlike vibrating modes on a guitar string.

The authors first showed that the most important eigenmodes are persistently found across healthy subjects, and in multiple scans of the same subject. They modelled the effect of brain lesions on eigenmodes and found that the influence of a lesion on network eigenmodes is fairly sensitive to the site of the lesion. The researchers identified white matter fiber pathways that were particularly responsible for the flow of information throughout the brain. They found that the lesions that most influenced network eigenmodes were those at the center of these pathways.

They looked in particular at a rare neurodevelopmental disorder where the corpus callosum, the primary connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, is absent. Patients suffering from this disease typically fare much better than those whose corpus callosum is surgically removed, an observation which can be explained using the eigenmode model.

If these findings can be replicated in other scenarios, it could be possible to predict with greater accuracy how future changes to brain structure, such as surgery or the progression of a disease, would result in changes to brain function, allowing physicians to better tailor treatment plans and therapeutic targets.

This study proposes a method to relate how changes in the brains structural architecture can result in the observable deficits we identify with neurological disorders. We hope to extend these methods towards predicting how future perturbations to a patients brain, either from the progression of a disease or a novel therapeutic, can affect neurological function, says senior study author Dr. Raj.

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