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Translational Neuroscience & Colorado Educator's Conference


"Risk reduction and health promotion: a public health approach to preventing suicidal behavior after tbi"

Presented by Dr. Nazanin Bahraini

Participants will:

  1. gain information about the public health significance of TBI and suicide
  2. gain an understanding of how risk reduction and health promotion are two distinct but complementary approaches within the field of public health
  3. learn how both approaches can be applied to guide suicide prevention efforts for those with TBI
  4. learn how a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy for individuals with TBI will include approaches to risk reduction and health promotion that moves beyond individual behavior (e.g., community based strategies) 

"Resilience after brain injury: Theory, application, and practice"

Presented by Dr. Jeff Kreutzer

View slides from this lecture.

Resilience theory has been applied to a number of different populations including patients with medical illness, members of the armed forces, and school-age children. Though resilience theory seems highly applicable, there have been few studies of resilience after traumatic brain injury. This presentation will describe resilience theory and illustrate how theory informs clinical practice.

The participant will learn about:

  1. Resilience and principles underlying resilience
  2. The relevance of resilience theory to the challenges faced by persons with brain injury
  3. Empirically-based intervention strategies

"School-based interdisciplinary assessment and Intervention: A common sense approach"

Presented by Dr. Karen McAvoy

The Colorado Exceptional Children's Education Act (ECEA) disability category of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) provides a new opportunity for school-based teams to assess and serve students with TBI. The complexity of these students, however, requires all school and health professionals to work together in a completely coordinated, collaborative, functional and "common sense" approach. The "interdisciplinary, focused, team approach" will be introduced and outlined in detail, to provide a roadmap for school professionals, parents, care coordinators/partners, healthcare/mental health care professionals, vocational rehabilitation and juvenile justice specialists to maximize assessments and interventions for students with TBI.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Understand the underlying complexities in assessment and treatment of students with a Traumatic Brain Injury.
  2. Understand the differences between an "inter-disciplinary, focused, team approach" compared to a "trans-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary team approach".
  3. Understand how the learning and behavioral complexities and the family dynamics of a student with a TBI lends itself to a well-oiled "inter-disciplinary, focused, team" assessment and intervention plan. Participants will be exposed to a template and to tools to begin to pull together the right and necessary team members, will learn what questions to ask and will learn how to seek those answers.

"TBI: The Need for Pharmacological Intervention"

Presented by Dr. Kim Heidenreich

Dr. Kim Heidenreich's laboratory has recently discovered that leukotrienes, normally absent in the brain, are produced after TBI. Blockade of their production prevents edema, cell death, and cognitive deficits after TBI. These findings have important implications for treating human TBI and suggest that development of inhibitors for use in TBI is feasible for both intervention and prevention.

"TBI and Depression: State of the science and clinical implications"

Presented by Dr. Chuck Bombardier

View slides from this lecture.

Dr.Bombardier will discuss the prevalence and correlates of major depression in people with TBI. He will review risk factors, screening and what to do with transdiagnostic symptoms. He will cover treatment efficacy and the current status of treatment adequacy and service delivery. He will suggest ways to improve depression treatment effectiveness based on research conducted in primary care.

The participant will:

  1. Know the base rates of major depression after TBI and at least one risk factor.
  2. Be able to describe how to use a reliable and valid tool for identifying major depression in people with TBI.
  3. Know the evidence-based treatments for major depression after TBI.
  4. Be able to describe at least two elements of a treatment model shown to improve depression treatment effectiveness that can be applied to people with TBI.

"Self-Regulated Self-Talk: Context-Sensitive Supports and the Development of Cognitive and Behavioral Supports for Children and Adolescents"

Presented by Beth Urbanczyk

The purpose of this presentation is to provide a framework for the development of supports for individuals with organizational impairments, attention difficulties and/or challenging behaviors focusing on assessment that is context-sensitive and collaborative, and on the development of intervention plans that are pro-active and developed to prevent problems from emerging. Within this framework, intervention plans are developed that integrate cognitive and communicative approaches, focus on the inclusion of meaningful activities in an individual's daily routine, and, most importantly, are developed with the goal of helping individuals with multiple cognitive, communication and behavioral challenges learn to regulate themselves.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Understand a framework of support for individuals with neurological impairments
  2. Understand methods assessment and intervention that are based on the development of strategies of self-regulation
  3. Understand methods of collaboration between clinical staff, nursing staff, individuals with disability and their families
  4. Understand methods of intervention that focus on the development of elf-regulation at the earliest phases of recovery

"Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Following Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): 
Current Status and Lessons from the Laboratory"

Presented by Dr. Theresa Hernandez

View slides from this lecture.

Neurological disorders, including stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI), with their associated sequelae are highly prevalent in the United States (U.S.), afflicting more than 50 million annually. Because conventional treatments can be limited and functional recovery incomplete, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is often sought out. The popularity of CAM exists despite inconclusive research findings for CAM treatment of neurological disorders. Apparent methodological limitations in CAM studies include issues related to experimental design, control groups, sample size, blinding and disparities in outcome measures. Overcoming these limitations poses challenges, but not insurmountable ones.

The participant will learn:

  1. A fundamental framework within which to critically assess and/or conduct research on CAM interventions for neurological disorders, specifically stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI); with a particular eye towards best practices for experimental design with the highest methodological rigor
  2. The "choice points" encountered in the CAIRR (Clinical Assessment of Injury, Recovery and Resilience) Neuroscience Laboratory
  3. The methodological framework underlying these choice points
  4. How decisions at each choice point were made to optimize CAM research rigor
  5. From this information it will be possible to optimize experimental design of CAM-based studies, as well as their interpretation. Providing the methodological means by which to characterize both efficacy and limitations of CAM treatments is essential for CAM-based interventions to be fully understood and accessed appropriately by both treatment teams and those engaged in treatment.

"Structured Flexibility: Positive Supports for Individuals with Complex needs Following Neurological Injury & Impairment"

Presented by Beth Urbanczyk

The purpose of this presentation is to provide a framework for the development of positive, personal, and meaningful supports for individuals with complex needs; included in this framework are methods for developing executive functions, creating positive personal identities, and scripts for positive interaction. The ultimate goal is to provide participants with an understanding of a manner to interact with others that encourages humor and fun while simultaneously doing serious work.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Understand the effects of trauma during the earliest stages of pre- and post-natal development
  2. Understand the short and long term effects of trauma on neurological functioning and on the ability to effectively interact successfully in typical social situations
  3. Understand the short and long term effects of trauma and/or acquired brain injury on mental health and behavior
  4. Understand the incidences and effects of brain injury on veterans returning from theaters of war, including frank injury effects and other secondary effects including substance abuse, PTSD, and other mental health effects.
  5. Understand methods of collaboration between clinical staff, individuals with disability and their families