Interrupting the continuous stream of invective that has recently been hurled over the issue of federal spending is a piece of news that people of all political persuasions can be happy about:  President Obama has just allocated some $100 million of the federal budget for 2014 toward brain mapping research as he hinted at in his last State of the Union address.  Celebrated as something akin to this generation’s moon landing, the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative will explore causes, characteristics, and conceivable cures for diseases like “Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease.”  An investiture of this magnitude in improving the health, quality of life, and productivity of American citizens promises enormous dividends in the future.

In the meantime, there are other foundations hard at work to improve the prognoses for brain injury victims through inquest into the nature of the brain.  Because the brain is an intricate, enigmatic organ which fascinates as much as it perplexes, many scientists have dedicated their talents toward better understanding its workings.  Thanks to their efforts, human knowledge (is it metacognition?) of the brain is improving steadily; and the prospects for those suffering from brain injuries are improving alongside.  Listed below are some of the most prominent organizations and their aims:

1. Brain Injury Research Center

The Brain Injury Research Institute, founded by the son of a former professional football player, focuses on treating the symptoms of repeated concussions, which cause a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  Athletes and members of the military are typically at highest risk for CTE, as they are exposed to high-impact environments.  The Institute’s goal is to facilitate understanding of brain injury and its effects on families in order to help the victims recover in patience and understanding.  In addition, the Institute is looking for root and contributing causes to Alzheimer’s and other neural disorders and offers information to lay readers on the various brain injuries, some cutting-edge treatments, and tips for improving their own minds.  

2. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

This organization looks for ways to better detect and diagnose traumatic brain injuries.  They seek to “reduce the burden of neurological disease” by supporting and guiding brain injury-related research, providing grants for projects pertinent to the field of brain health, and disseminating information for public benefit.  They site includes links to resources for different kinds of users, be they family members of brain injury victims or professionals looking to connect with other professionals and professional organizations.

3. Allen Institute for Brain Science

The Allen Institute (which will be involved in the BRAIN Initiative) is not limited to the study of on brain injury, specifically, although it in is their mission statement “to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease.”  Their approach to brain injury involves a study of all aspects and functions of the brain to build a solid foundation of knowledge beneficial to people throughout the scientific community.  Recently, they have discovered a mutation linked to autism and a human genetic blueprint.  The expertise and dedication of its members bode well for its present and future enterprises.

The advances made by these and other organizations are unhelpful if those they serve cannot seek medical treatment for their injuries.  When these injuries stem from a careless act or neglect to foster a safe environment, it is often legal representation that helps them to take advantage of scientific breakthroughs.  If you are a resident of the Salt Lake City area, and have sustained a brain injury in a car crash, occupational accident, or any other context where it should never have occurred, Christensen & Hymas can provide guidance to obtain compensation to pay medical bills, make up for lost wages, etc. and even gather evidence when necessary.  Plus, the sooner you seek treatment, the better your chances of a thorough recovery.  To get in contact with a qualified legal professional, call Christensen & Hymas toll-free at (801) 506-0800.

Image courtesy of The Daily BeastCharles Dharapak