Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brain News

     Nine year old Sophie Fellows from near Burlington, Vermont found out last week that she had a brain tumor. She plays the violin. She is hospitalized in Boston and is scheduled for surgery tomorrow (12/12/2014). Her music teacher brought the Christmas concert to her. She played her violin and the class performed a medley of Christmas tunes. Best wishes to Sophie for a speedy recovery and many thanks to the music teacher and friends who brought Christmas to Sophie!

     Shawn Monti, a Florida deputy, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma. Surgeons at University of Miami Hospital used fluorescein as a marker in his brain. It made the tumor glow. All of the glio was successfully removed. The injection was a new thing that seems to be useful as well as ground-breaking. Best wishes to Shawn for a complete recovery!

     Patients with pituitary tumors in a University of Rochester School of Medicine/University of Rochester Medical Center study had something called diffusion tensor imaging used on them which could predict how much vision they would recover after resection.

     Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine were able to identify the gene responsible for the mutation that leads to familial glioma. The gene is called POT1. The research study was written up in a peer review journal. It is suspected that five percent of all brain tumors have a genetic component.

     Seven year old Kyanna Darnell was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor that is both inoperable and non-responsive to chemo. Her community in Wisconsin has come together to raise funds for a trip to Spain. It is hoped by Kyanna's parents that a specialist there will be able to offer life-saving (and not merely life-prolonging) treatment.
     Her go-fund-me site is located at
and her t-shirt site is located at

     Kyanna has named her diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma Flutter. 
Best wishes for recovery to Kyanna and a huge thank you to all the folks who are making this trip happen for her and her family.

     Engineers at Tufts in Boston have developed a new way of measuring brain damage arising from a variety of neurological events and disorders. It is called coherent hemodynamics spectroscopy ( or C.H.S.) and it involves non-invasive scanning of the brain and the use of algorithms applied to the data obtained from infrared lights. It sounds pretty high tech. This C.H.S. will be used for patients presenting with traumatic brain injuries as well as those who evidence some kinds of dementia, and some kinds of stroke.

     An article from Medscape confirms two studies which failed to replicate an earlier study demonstrating possible effectiveness of administering progesterone immediately after an event leading to traumatic brain injury. Although the news was disappointing, it is better to know what is effective and what is not effective rather than subject patients to treatment which does nothing.

     And finally a study conducted by John Hopkins Institute and University of Alabama at Birmingham has found that brain tissue of cadavers who were known to be on the autistic spectrum in life had activated (or switched to the on position) microglial cells which have something to do with immunity and inflammation. Because gene expression testing has to be performed on specific tissue of interest (rather than on any tissue like in regular gene testing), cadaver brains have to be used rather than live people. This study does not mean that brain inflammation causes autism spectrum disorders. It does mean that the next question to be researched is whether or not treatment of inflammation can make autistic symptoms go away. I figure it won't but I'm not any sort of scientist so I could be really really wrong about that. The outcome of replication research will be interesting to watch.

     I am the author of "Another Atheist in Recovery" (from addiction, not t.b.i.) and co-author of "Up the Rebels" (a novel). Both are in ePub format without any D.R.M. because I hate D.R.M. and I chose a Creative Commons license for my work deliberately so that the books can be uploaded to the torrents by anyone who wishes to.

Stay warm and stay motivated!
~ sapphoq healing t.b.i. ~