Archive | January 2016


“If you suspect that someone has had a brain injury, the first step is to talk with the person, share your observations, and encourage the person to get help. The next step is for the person to share a medical, family and military history with the physician.”

Harvey E. Jacobs, Ph.D. and Flora Hammond, M.D

Types of Brain Injuries


A Brain Injury is damage to the brain that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling.

There are several different types of brain injuries. A mild injury may cause temporary symptoms while a severe injury could require years of rehabilitation.

The two most common types of brain trauma injuries:                      1. traumatic brain injuries  2. acquired brain injuries.

1-Traumatic brain injury occurs from external force on the head or neck. These injuries can occur from blows to the head or aggressive twisting of the neck. Some ways this could happen include falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports, and vigorous shaking. In infants, Shaken Baby Syndrome is a type of traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injuries can result from a closed head injury or a penetrating head injury.

*Closed Injury:  A closed injury occurs when the head suddenly and violently hits an object but the object does not break through the skull.

*Penetrating Injury: A penetrating injury occurs when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. As the first line of defense, the skull is particularly vulnerable to injury. Skull fractures occur when the bone of the skull cracks or breaks. A depressed skull fracture occurs when pieces of the broken skull press into the tissue of the brain. A penetrating skull fracture occurs when something pierces the skull, such as a bullet, leaving a distinct and localized injury to brain tissue. Skull fractures can cause cerebral contusion. Brain trauma occurs when a person has an injury to the brain, and can be mild or severe.

2-An acquired brain injury means simply you got this injury after you were born and it was caused by a condition or illness after birth. This type of injury can result from several different causes like strokes, toxic poisoning or brain tumors. Degenerative diseases and lack of oxygen may also cause this type of brain trauma.

Here are some examples of acquired brain injuries:

*Bleeding in the brain which can lead to brain injury.   Blood Vessels in the brain can rupture resulting in an intra-cerebral hemorrhage (one of the causes of a stroke). Symptoms may include headaches, loss of vision, weakness to one side of the body and eye pain to even garbled speech.

*Anoxia– This is another insult to the brain that can cause injury. Anoxia is a condition in which there is an absence of oxygen supply to an organ’s tissues, even if there is adequate blood flow to the tissue.  Common causes of anoxia are near drowning, choking, suffocation, strangulation, heart attacks, lung damage, or very low blood pressure.

*Hypoxia:  Hypoxia refers to a decrease in oxygen supply rather than a complete absence of oxygen, and ischemia is inadequate blood supply, as is seen in cases in which the brain swells. In any of these cases, without adequate oxygen, a biochemical cascade called the ischemic cascade is unleashed, and the cells of the brain can die within several minutes. This type of injury is often seen in near-drowning victims, in heart attack patients, or in people who suffer significant blood loss from other injuries that decrease blood flow to the brain.

*Toxemia, which is poisoning from chemical or biological factors that can damage the brain. Toxemia can be caused by drugs, chemicals, gases or even toxic foods.

*Viruses and bacteria. An infection of the brain can be very damaging like:

*Meningitis is a inflammation of the lining around the brain or spinal cord, usually due to infection; Neck stiffness, headache, fever, and confusion are common symptoms.

*Encephalitis (en-sef-uh-LIE-tis) is inflammation of the brain. Viral infections are the most common cause of the condition. Encephalitis can cause flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or severe headache. It can also cause confused thinking, seizures, or problems with senses or movement..

*HIV can lead to brain injury. HIV, can affect the brain in different ways.  Here are types of HIV brain injuries:

-1:HIV-meningoencephalitis is infection of the brain and the lining of the brain by the HIV virus. It occurs shortly after the person is first infected with HIV and may cause headache, neck stiffness, drowsiness, confusion and/or seizures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            –2:HIV-encephalopathy (HIV-associated dementia) is the result of damage to the brain by longstanding HIV infection.  It is a form of dementia and occurs in advanced HIV infection.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           -3:Mild Neurocognitive Disorder is problems with thinking and memory in HIV, however is not as severe as HIV-encephalopathy. Unlike HIV-encephalopathy it can occur early in HIV infection and is not a feature of Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – AIDS.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 *Lastly , Herpes. There are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV). Either type can cause encephalitis.

                                                                                                             HSV type 1 (HSV-1) is usually responsible for cold sores or fever blisters around your mouth.

HSV type 2 (HSV-2) commonly causes genital herpes. Encephalitis caused by HSV-1 is rare, but it has the potential to cause significant brain damage or death.

*Other herpes viruses. Other herpes viruses that may cause encephalitis include the Epstein-Barr virus, which commonly causes infectious mononucleosis, and the varicella-zoster virus, which commonly causes chickenpox and shingles.

*Viral infections due to blood sucking insects like mosquitoes and ticks to animals with rabies a rapid progression to encephalitis once symptoms begin. Rabies is a rare cause of encephalitis in the U.S.

When a person sustains trauma to the brain, he or she may lose motor functions along with cognitive and physical abilities. Physicians use the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine the extent of brain trauma. This is a neurological scale that measures the level of a person’s consciousness. The Rancho Los Amigos Scale is used to monitor the recovery of the brain.

When a person is diagnosed with a brain trauma, doctors will decide if rehabilitation is needed. Rehabilitation programs may vary depending on the type of brain injury and estimated recovery time. Treatment usually consists of physical therapy and daily activities. In extreme cases, patients may need to learn how to read and write again.

Therapy for brain trauma typically takes place on an outpatient basis or through an assisted living facility. Therapy may last several weeks, months or even years, and sometimes the patient is not able to make a full recovery.

It may not always be obvious when a person has sustained a brain injury. The patient may have hit his or her head and not have symptoms until a few hours later. Some signs of a possible brain injury are headaches, confusion and loss of memory. If brain trauma is not treated, it could cause permanent damage or death.

Brain injuries can affect the patient and the patient’s family, with emotional and financial hardship. When problems arise with treatment or financial issues, a brain injury lawyer or specialist may need to intervene.



Folate, one of the B-group of vitamins, is needed for many important processes inside your body, including making red blood cells. If you have less folate than you need, your body won’t make as many red blood cells, and the red blood cells that are produced will be abnormally large in size and won’t last as long as they should.

Anemia occurs when there are too few red blood cells or not enough hemoglobin in the blood. Folate-deficiency anemia is a type of anemia that’s caused when there isn’t enough folate in the body.


Folic Acid Awareness Month is January!

folicacid2  folicacid1

National Folic Acid Awareness Month, which was in the beginning of this month! January 10–16, 2016, was National Folic Acid Awareness Week but for those who may have missed the info on it don’t fret striveforgoodhealth is covering Folic acid today and its especially important to women who might become pregnant, as it can help prevent serious birth defects of the brain, neck and spine. Recent studies suggest that it can also help lower the risk of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts (cleft lip and palate). Notably, folic acid has been shown to lower the risk of anencephaly (the absence of a large part of the brain and skull) and spina bifida (an opening in the spinal column) by 50 to 70%.

Much of the baby’s growth and development happens very early in pregnancy, even before most women know they’re pregnant. Experts estimate that women need to start taking folic acid at least one month before they become pregnant for it to prevent birth defects, so it’s important to make folic acid-enriched foods and vitamins a part of your daily routine.

The benefits aren’t limited to your baby: your body needs folic acid, too. The acid helps to create healthy new cells in the body, from hair to nails to skin and blood cells. Without it, blood cells become unstable, and the body is susceptible to disease. The vitamin also protects your liver, allowing it to continue purifying your body. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that your body cannot store, so it should be taken every day to replenish your body’s supply.

Many foods are now being fortified with more folic acid, such as grains, pastas and breakfast cereals. Check the nutritional facts label on your favorite products to see how much they contain. Many cereals now contain as much as 100% of the recommended daily value. Additionally, prenatal vitamins typically contain folic acid. If you’re not yet taking a prenatal vitamin, you can also look for multivitamins with added acid, or buy folic acid pills.

Birth defects are common, costly, and critical conditions that affect one in every 33 U.S. newborns annually. Women can reduce their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect by making healthy choices and adopting healthy habits before and during pregnancy.

Health care providers can encourage parents-to-be to make a PACT for birth defects prevention by taking the following steps: Planning ahead for pregnancy; Avoiding harmful substances like chemicals in the home or workplace (2); Choosing a healthy lifestyle, including eating a healthy diet (3); and Talking with their health care provider before and during pregnancy, particularly about medication use.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages health care providers to become active participants in National Birth Defects Prevention Month by joining the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and their impact.

CDC urges all women of childbearing age who can become pregnant to get 400 µg of folic acid every day to help reduce the risk for neural tube defects. Health care providers should encourage women of childbearing age to consume folic acid in fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a diet rich in folatCDC urges all women of childbearing age who can become pregnant to get 400 µg of folic acid every day to help reduce the risk for neural tube defects. Health care providers should encourage women of childbearing age to consume folic acid in fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a diet rich in folate.

An easy way to be sure you’re getting enough folic acid is to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid in it. Most multivitamins have all the folic acid you need. If you get an upset stomach from taking a multivitamin, try taking it with meals or just before bed. If you have trouble taking pills, you can try a multivitamin that is gummy or chewable. Also be sure to take it with a full glass of water.  This medication we said earlier is a water soluble and for it to do its optimal level of action it needs water.  Just like Colace that is a water soluble it needs to be taken also with water for it to do its function in making the stool softer; if not taken with water it will do very little in resolving constipation.  So don’t forget water.

Folic acid has been added to foods such as enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. Check the Nutrition Facts label on the food packaging. A serving of some cereals has 100% of the folic acid that you need each day.

In addition to getting 400 mcg of folic acid from supplements and fortified foods, you can eat a diet rich in folate. You can get food folate from beans, peas and lentils, oranges and orange juice, asparagus and broccoli, and dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, and mustard greens.

Nutritional habits

Although all enriched cereals and grain products in the U.S. are fortified with the B-vitamin folic acid, only one-third of U.S. women of childbearing age consume the recommended amount from their diet. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid every day is a key way that women can get the recommended amount of 400 mcg.

Remember be prepared before pregnancy

Women need folic acid, even if not planning to become pregnant, since 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects (NTDs), by up to 70%.

Message to the Hispanic community

Hispanic babies are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than others in the U.S. to be born with an NTD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Latinas in the U.S. consume the least amount of folic acid and have the least knowledge about folic acid among racial or ethnic groups.


“At least 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder and half—15 million—are silent sufferers who are undiagnosed, according to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.”

Robin Miller, MD, co-author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to MidLife & Beyond.


Part II Thyroid Awareness Month-Problems you come across with the thyroid.

thyroid part ii 2

Thyroid Part II 1

Part II Thyroid Awareness Month – Hypo and Hyper thyroidism.


This occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, a condition that is often linked to iodine deficiency.

Dr. David Brownstein, a board-certified holistic practitioner who has been working with iodine for the last two decades, claims that over 95 percent of the patients in his clinic are iodine-deficient.

In addition, 10 percent of the general population in the United States, and 20 percent of women over age 60, have subclinical hypothyroidism,2 a condition where you have no obvious symptoms and only slightly abnormal lab tests.

However, only a marginal percentage of these people are being treated. The reason behind this is the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of lab tests, particularly TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Most physicians believe that if your TSH value is within the “normal” range, your thyroid is fine. But as I always say, the devil is in the details. More and more physicians are now discovering that the TSH value is grossly unreliable for diagnosing hypothyroidism.

How to Know If You Have Hypothyroidism

Identifying hypothyroidism and its cause is tricky business. Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are vague and overlap with other disorders. Physicians often miss a thyroid problem since they rely on just a few traditional tests, leaving other clues undetected.

The most sensitive way to find out is to listen to your body. People with a sluggish thyroid usually experience:

    • Lethargy – Fatigue and lack of energy are typical signs of thyroid dysfunction. Depression has also been linked to the condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, make it a point that your physician checks your thyroid levels.Some of the obvious signs of thyroid fatigue include:
    • It’s essential to note that not all tiredness or lack of energy can be blamed on a dysfunctional thyroid gland. Thyroid-related fatigue begins to appear when you cannot sustain energy long enough, especially when compared to a past level of fitness or ability. If your thyroid foundation is weak, sustaining energy output is going to be a challenge. You will notice you just don’t seem to have the energy to do the things like you used to.
    • Feeling like you don’t have the energy to exercise, and typically not exercising on a consistent basis
    • A heavy or tired head, especially in the afternoon; your head is a very sensitive indicator of thyroid hormone status
    • Falling asleep as soon as you sit down when you don’t have anything to do
  • Weight gain– Easy weight gain or difficulty losing weight, despite an aggressive exercise program and watchful eating, is another indicator.
  • Rough and scaly skin and/or dry, coarse, and tangled hair– If you have perpetually dry skin that doesn’t respond well to moisturizing lotions or creams, consider hypothyroidism as a factor.
  • Hair loss– Women especially would want to pay attention to their thyroid when unexplained hair loss occurs. Fortunately, if your hair loss is due to low thyroid function, your hair will come back quickly with proper thyroid treatment.
  • Sensitivity to cold– Feeling cold all the time is also a sign of low thyroid function. Hypothyroid people are slow to warm up, even in a sauna, and don’t sweat with mild exercise.
  • Low basal temperature – Another telltale sign of hypothyroidism is a low basal body temperature (BBT), less than 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit averaged over a minimum of three days. It is best to get a BBT thermometer to assess this.
  • Hyperthyroidism                                                                                                                                                                                                Several treatment options are available if you have hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes, treatment of hyperthyroidism involves surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland. Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, most people respond well once hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated. Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems, which may make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose. It can also cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including:
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism significantly, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.
  • Any of these symptoms can be suggestive of an underactive thyroid. The more of these symptoms you have, the higher the likelihood that you have hypothyroidism. Furthermore, if you have someone in your family with any of these conditions, your risks of thyroid problems become higher.
  • Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and the amount and type of food you eat remain the same or even increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute — irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair
  • Graves’ ophthalmopathy
  • Signs and symptoms of Graves’ ophthalmopathy include:
  • Sometimes an uncommon problem called Graves’ ophthalmopathy may affect your eyes, especially if you smoke. In this disorder, your eyeballs protrude beyond their normal protective orbits when the tissues and muscles behind your eyes swell. This pushes the eyeballs forward so far that they actually bulge out of their orbits. This can cause the front surface of your eyeballs to become very dry. Eye problems often improve without treatment.
  • Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities. Medications called beta blockers, which are used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, can mask many of the signs of hyperthyroidism.
  • Protruding eyeballs
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Excessive tearing or discomfort in one or both eyes
  • Light sensitivity, blurry or double vision, inflammation, or reduced eye movementIf you experience unexplained weight loss, a rapid heartbeat, unusual sweating, swelling at the base of your neck or other symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism, see your doctor. It’s important to completely describe the changes you’ve observed, because many signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism may be associated with a number of other conditions.Causes:  A number of conditions, including Graves’ disease, toxic adenoma, Plummer’s disease (toxic multi-nodular goiter) and thyroiditis, can cause hyperthyroidism.
  • If you’ve been treated for hyperthyroidism or currently are being treated, see your doctor regularly as advised so that he or she can monitor your condition.
  • When to see a doctor

Risk factors-Hyperthyroidism, particularly Graves’ disease, tends to run in families and is more common in women than in men. If another member of your family has a thyroid condition, talk with your doctor about what this may mean for your health with what you need to do.


Radon is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas formed by the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. The radon outdoors is diluted by fresh air, but radon can penetrate any type of building, become trapped and can increase to high levels. (a radon testing company over 30 years).


“Radon is in the air we breathe, both indoors and out, so it isn’t possible to avoid it completely. But there may be things you can do to lower your exposure.”

American Cancer Society