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Does the Cerebellum repair itself?

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Unread 07-02-2009, 11:59 AM   #1
chris77usmc
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Default Does the Cerebellum repair itself?

July 18, 2007 I was in a car accident and substained very severe injuries. I had a TBI where I was bleeding from 3 spots in my brain (mostly in the back) C1-C2-C3 fracture, aneurysm, extensive nerve damage, ataxia, dysarthria, vertigo, fractured ribs, collapsed lung, lacerated liver, had to learn to walk again, was in a coma for 4 days, spent 2 weeks in ICU on a breathing machine, and 6 weeks overall in UC Davis.
As of today, I am really into my health and always looking for new ways to improve. I run 2-3 miles every other day, eat healthy, and am really proactive about my injuries.
I guess my question is, will the cerebellum repair itself? Will I ever get my balance and equilibrium back?
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Unread 07-04-2009, 05:34 PM   #2
Mark in Idaho
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Different brain functions have different abilities to accommodate injuries. Speech and Occupational therapy can sometimes help the brain redesignate the area that handles a specific task.

Have you had therapy past the basics of relearning to walk? Higher level functioning therapy is less available.

What tasks do yoy do to challenge your balance and equilibrium functions? If you only notice these problems sometimes, then just going on with life will probably not lead to improvement. If you can identify where these dysfunctions are most common, then those are the areas where you need to push the limits.

I have word finding problems. My wife can often help me find the word or others will say they understand what I am trying to say and give me grace to not finish the thought. For me, I need to continue to try to find the word because it is mental exercise that may someday allow me to get some word finding functions back.

Are there balance and equilibrium tasks that you can practice in a safe environment?

I sometimes have balance problems. For me, it is usually a problem with concentration. If I stop and get focused, I can usually overcome the balance problem.

The easiest way to understand it is like this. Those of us with a brain injury and dysfunction have a limited amount of brain cells to use to accomplish tasks. If we are using too many for intellectual thought, less are available for balance and motor function. Visual or auditory distractions can often cause a weakness in other functions.

So, when we become aware of a weak function like balance or such, we need to analyze our mental work load and see if we can reduce it. When we do this self analysis, we can start to recognize patterns where we get overloaded. Now, we can start to develop disciplines to keep the mental work load at a manageable level.

Some call it the "I need to stop to think" problem.

When I have these periods (frequently), I stop, reduce my workload, focus on the task at hand, plan my next move or series of moves, and usually can go on with the task.

I am easily startled. This can leave me in mental chaos. Sometimes, I need to close my eyes to reduce the visual workload. I often use ear plugs to reduce the auditory workload.

Everybody will have different aspects of this problem. If you struggle to figure out work-arounds or other accommodations, post up here and let us help.
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59 years old, retired due to disability, married 34 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate/short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual/auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and stopped paroxetine after 3 months of tapering. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan AM, 500 mgs noon, and 500 mgs PM.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, docs put me on 3 meds. Clonazepam but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc presc. .25 mgs 2x daily but half a tablet is good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic that usually causes weight gain before bed. I lost over 30 pounds since mid July. It just stopped the weight loss. Took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

This great feeling only lasted a month. Back to the same old PCS doldrums.

May 2014, I am off the olanzapine due to a 6 fold price increase. Back on 600 mgs of gabapentin before bed.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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Unread 07-06-2009, 11:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark in Idaho View Post
Different brain functions have different abilities to accommodate injuries. Speech and Occupational therapy can sometimes help the brain redesignate the area that handles a specific task.

Have you had therapy past the basics of relearning to walk? Higher level functioning therapy is less available.

What tasks do yoy do to challenge your balance and equilibrium functions? If you only notice these problems sometimes, then just going on with life will probably not lead to improvement. If you can identify where these dysfunctions are most common, then those are the areas where you need to push the limits.

I have word finding problems. My wife can often help me find the word or others will say they understand what I am trying to say and give me grace to not finish the thought. For me, I need to continue to try to find the word because it is mental exercise that may someday allow me to get some word finding functions back.

Are there balance and equilibrium tasks that you can practice in a safe environment?

I sometimes have balance problems. For me, it is usually a problem with concentration. If I stop and get focused, I can usually overcome the balance problem.

The easiest way to understand it is like this. Those of us with a brain injury and dysfunction have a limited amount of brain cells to use to accomplish tasks. If we are using too many for intellectual thought, less are available for balance and motor function. Visual or auditory distractions can often cause a weakness in other functions.

So, when we become aware of a weak function like balance or such, we need to analyze our mental work load and see if we can reduce it. When we do this self analysis, we can start to recognize patterns where we get overloaded. Now, we can start to develop disciplines to keep the mental work load at a manageable level.

Some call it the "I need to stop to think" problem.

When I have these periods (frequently), I stop, reduce my workload, focus on the task at hand, plan my next move or series of moves, and usually can go on with the task.

I am easily startled. This can leave me in mental chaos. Sometimes, I need to close my eyes to reduce the visual workload. I often use ear plugs to reduce the auditory workload.

Everybody will have different aspects of this problem. If you struggle to figure out work-arounds or other accommodations, post up here and let us help.

Thank-you Mark, that is very helpful. As far as OP therapy, I did about 4 or 5 months of physical and occupational. They said that I passed all the tests for speech and that I didnt need it.

Do you have any ideas on how to practice my balancing? I do things all the time like try to balance and walk on curbs, close my eyes and stand on one foot, etc. I do tai-bo videos and practice kickboxing...as long as I keep working at it, will it keep getting better? My doctors told me that if I dont use it, I'll lose it. So, my entire right side is ataxic. Will that go away? Its definately getting better. I couldnt even take abite of food without it all falling off the fork by the time I got it to my mouth!! And I'm right-handed. But I didnt change hands to write, and I noticed that I'm gaining back some muscle density and my hand-writing is improving.

I'm just beginning to understand all this, so I dont know if this is a dumb question or not, but you said that those of us with a brain injury and dysfunction have a limited amount of brain cells to use to accomplish tasks...can we build new ones?
You know how they say that vegging out in front of the TV kills brain cells? You use less brain cells watching TV then you do sleeping...I dont watch TV! I took up reading instead. I do all these little different things, but I dont know if they're really helping or is it all in my head?
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Unread 07-06-2009, 12:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris77usmc View Post
Thank-you Mark, that is very helpful. As far as OP therapy, I did about 4 or 5 months of physical and occupational. They said that I passed all the tests for speech and that I didnt need it.

Do you have any ideas on how to practice my balancing? I do things all the time like try to balance and walk on curbs, close my eyes and stand on one foot, etc. I do tai-bo videos and practice kickboxing...as long as I keep working at it, will it keep getting better? My doctors told me that if I dont use it, I'll lose it. So, my entire right side is ataxic. Will that go away? Its definately getting better. I couldnt even take abite of food without it all falling off the fork by the time I got it to my mouth!! And I'm right-handed. But I didnt change hands to write, and I noticed that I'm gaining back some muscle density and my hand-writing is improving.

I'm just beginning to understand all this, so I dont know if this is a dumb question or not, but you said that those of us with a brain injury and dysfunction have a limited amount of brain cells to use to accomplish tasks...can we build new ones?
You know how they say that vegging out in front of the TV kills brain cells? You use less brain cells watching TV then you do sleeping...I dont watch TV! I took up reading instead. I do all these little different things, but I dont know if they're really helping or is it all in my head?
welcome I have balance issues, there have been long term study's done on brain injured people and gate can be one of the enduring symptoms, if I closes my eyes I will start to sway and lose orientation read the brain that changed itself

http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/thread55517.html

for some insight
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the light connects the many stars, and through the web they think as one, like god the universe we learn about our self's, the light and warmth connect us, the distance & darkness keep us apart vini
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Unread 07-08-2009, 09:02 PM   #5
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Chris,

To answer your question, yes, the brain does have the ability to repair itself and yes, you do make new neurons. The degree to which this occurs is variable, but just rest assured that your brain is wired to do this. The old adage is true in that your brain is like a muscle and it wants to be worked out as much as possible. It's good that you are running, studies have shown that running produces "budding" of new neurons in the brain. Anything you can do to stimulate your brain is never a bad thing. So, what you are doing for your brain is good for it - even the little things-, and it isn't all in your head. I even know a guy who has an IQ of 142 and is an engineer who does simple algebra problems every day to keep his mind sharp.

Yoga and Pilates can be good training for balance. Also, you can purchase a balance board from your local fitness store and do the practices it comes with on that (just be careful you don't fall of it and bang your head). If your brain allows it, plyometrics is also good training for balance. However, this will require you to jump around and some brain injured people can't tolerate this very well.

Have you tried Neurofeedback? There have been numerous studies done on the efficacy of neurofeedback with brain injuries (even traumatic ones). If you live in a large city, or close to one, you should be able to find a therapist in your area. If not, there are some therapists who specialize in training clients remotely. I personally use the PROSHI (http://www.neurodynamicactivator.com/) and I have found it to be very helpful with my balance issues.

Although it doesn't sound like you have this, you could have what's called "Visual Midline Shift Syndrome." Basically, your visual system is not longer centered, so your brain tries to compensate for it and throws your balance off. A vision therapist who specializes in brain injury could help you train this out. NORA (neuro opthalmologic rehabilitation association) would be a good place to start. Just google NORA and you will find their website.

Oxiracetam, which is a drug that has been used and tested extensively in Europe and Asia since the 1970's, has been shown in studies to reduce vertigo and balance issues in people with brain injuries. If you live in the US, you will have to order it from relentless improvement (http://supplements.relentlessimprove...unt2=865729928).
It isn't FDA approved, but that is only because the patent ran out on it so none of the drug companies are pushing the FDA to get it approved. You can also google search: "Oxiracetam and brain injury" to find the research articles on it.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy might also be something worth looking into. However, they say that it is more effective the closer in time you do it to the brain injury. However, as with all things involved in science, one MD was able to refute this claim and showed improvements in subjects who were 14 years post injury.


Lumosity.com is an excellent website that will help you train your higher cognitive skills. I do about 20 minutes a day.

If your into nutrition and supplements for your brain, check out "The Better Brain Book" by David Perlmutter, MD.

Although this is very "new age" you should read, or watch, "The Secret." As soon as I read it, I decided to stop focusing on my "problems" and begin focusing on how I was going to get myself better. Since that day, I have made huge strides in my recovery. I'm even attending graduate school this fall, something two years ago would have been impossible for me to do.

Last (I have posted this before and I'm not looking to engage anyone in this debate, so please don't try) but they are making huge advancements in stem cell therapy, be it adult or embyronic. Scientists are predicting that it will be able to be used on patients in the US in 5 years. So, if nothing else works, at least you have that to look forward to.

This can all get very expensive, but hey, can you really put a price tag on your health, especially when it comes to your brain?

So, keep your spirits high and your attitude positive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vini View Post
welcome I have balance issues, there have been long term study's done on brain injured people and gate can be one of the enduring symptoms, if I closes my eyes I will start to sway and lose orientation read the brain that changed itself

http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/thread55517.html

for some insight
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Unread 07-10-2009, 11:54 PM   #6
Dr. Diane
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Changing your diet is extremely important at this juncture.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris77usmc View Post
July 18, 2007 I was in a car accident and substained very severe injuries. I had a TBI where I was bleeding from 3 spots in my brain (mostly in the back) C1-C2-C3 fracture, aneurysm, extensive nerve damage, ataxia, dysarthria, vertigo, fractured ribs, collapsed lung, lacerated liver, had to learn to walk again, was in a coma for 4 days, spent 2 weeks in ICU on a breathing machine, and 6 weeks overall in UC Davis.
As of today, I am really into my health and always looking for new ways to improve. I run 2-3 miles every other day, eat healthy, and am really proactive about my injuries.
I guess my question is, will the cerebellum repair itself? Will I ever get my balance and equilibrium back?
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Unread 07-15-2009, 12:39 PM   #7
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Changing your diet is extremely important at this juncture.

Dr. Diane
Dr. Diane,
What exactly should I include more of, and intake less of? I take a daily vitamin and the omega's. What else do you recommend?
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Unread 07-15-2009, 02:32 PM   #8
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My sister highly recommends the book "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge, which outlines some remarkable recoveries and retraining of the brain. I haven't read it, but and we don't have any first hand experience. She read it because she is a nurse and was interested in the subject matter. If nothing else, it should be inspiring and motivating to do everything you can to progress.
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Unread 07-19-2009, 06:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris77usmc View Post
July 18, 2007 I was in a car accident and substained very severe injuries. I had a TBI where I was bleeding from 3 spots in my brain (mostly in the back) C1-C2-C3 fracture, aneurysm, extensive nerve damage, ataxia, dysarthria, vertigo, fractured ribs, collapsed lung, lacerated liver, had to learn to walk again, was in a coma for 4 days, spent 2 weeks in ICU on a breathing machine, and 6 weeks overall in UC Davis.
As of today, I am really into my health and always looking for new ways to improve. I run 2-3 miles every other day, eat healthy, and am really proactive about my injuries.
I guess my question is, will the cerebellum repair itself? Will I ever get my balance and equilibrium back?
The fact that you can actually run says to me that your cerebellum is not as bady damaged as you think. People with cerebellar problems cannot even hop on one foot
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Unread 08-31-2009, 04:26 PM   #10
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Can anybody tell me that the persons remains in coma after a brain injury for six weeks or more and than awaken, is anyone of them found Persistent Vegetative State or Minimally Conscious State?
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