Living Well with Brainlash: February

Welcome to the February 2012 edition of “Living Well with Brainlash”, the blog for people with MTBI, their supporters and their health care providers. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with MTBI, Post Concussive Syndrome, PTSD, Chemo Brain, or the myriad of other descriptors that circle around these diagnoses, here you will find help, understanding, resources, great ideas, support, and useful Lifestyle Strategies for living your life well.

Here are the five categories and their five topics for the February blog:

  1.  Symptoms of MTBI:  Fake ADD and Hypothalamus Issues
  2.  Body Therapies: Behavioral Optometry
  3. Dietary Supplements: B-12, Folic Acid
  4. Handy Hint: Fluorescent Lights are Everywhere
  5. Food: Good Carb Recipes


  1. Symptoms of MTBI: Fake ADD and Hypothalamus Issues

Fake ADD:  It is quite common for an MTBI person to exhibit signs which appear to mimic Attention Deficit Disorder. So much so that they are diagnosed with ADD instead of the broader MTBI. Many are even medicated and treated with ADD-specific therapies.

If you did not have clinically diagnosed ADD before your MTBI, then it is entirely possible your symptoms of MTBI are mimicking ADD in part. This is what I call “Fake ADD”.

The signs are there. Buzzy attention span, nervous feelings, short attention to detail, easily distracted, forgetfulness, hyper demeanor and all the rest. Yes, lots of symptoms are shared with the ADD diagnosis.

Curiously, however, your Fake ADD symptoms can go away with classic MTBI therapies, such as Cranial Sacral Therapy, Vision Therapy, supplementation. The same therapies are not so effective for classic ADD.

Hypothalamus Issues:  Recently published studies suggest that hormone imbalances within the body after an MTBI can be linked with the traumatic disruption of function of the hypothalamus gland. This gland, the master gland for hormone functions, is located in about the center of the skull, deep inside the brain. Traumatic jostling of the brain with injury holds a high degree of possibility that the hypothalamus gland has been jarred or jiggled in such a way as to influence its full function.

Endocrine function may be disturbed, and delivery of various hormones (as important as insulin-like growth factor, testosterone/estrogen, thyroid and cortisol) may be reduced or compromised within the body.

Check out the January 2012 “Life Extension” magazine for more specific details.


 2. Body Therapies: Behavioral Optometry

The second foundational leg of MTBI recovery (aside from Cranial Sacral Therapy) is Behavioral Optometry.

You may well ask two questions: What is that? and Why hasn’t my optometrist told me about it?

What is it?  Behavioral Optometry is the therapeutic arm of the profession of optometry. Behavioral optometrists are eye doctors with the same background education as your optometrist. And they have taken further steps to learn about and offer treatment modalities which address the dysfunctions of the eye (beyond issuing another pair of glasses to compensate for the problem.) This additional education is usually signified with the fellowship initials: FCOVD. Look for those initials behind the doctor’s name.

Why hasn’t my optometrist told me about it?  Well now, that is political. While optometrists and Behavioral optometrists have the same base education, there is still a tension within the occupation between the two groups.

What you need to know is this: Behavioral Optometrists are trained to evaluate and treat the consequences of MTBI as they relate to your eyes. Since your eyes are literally a functioning part of the brain, when you experience an MTBI there is a reasonable chance that your vision has been disrupted. (Dizzy? Nausea? Blurred focus? Cognitive retention? Skipping words on the written page? Headaches?)

So, get your vision evaluated. Not by your optometrist, who I am sure has been taking very good care of you all these years. Get an evaluation by a Behavioral Optometrist, experienced in the consequences of MTBI as they relate to the eyes. If you pass all the tests, then great! Move on to therapies that you need.

However, if your eyes are involved, begin your Vision Therapy immediately.

I am quite fond of saying, “Get your Cranial Sacral and your Behavioral Optometry first. They are the cornerstone therapies upon which all other MTBI therapies will be more effective built.”


3.  Dietary Supplements: B-12 & Folic Acid

 B-12 – This B vitamin is usually taken as an ‘under the tongue’ or sublingual vitamin, as it goes into the system most effectively right in your mouth. B-12 is most commonly suggested as a supportive supplement for depression, various brain functions and pain management issues.

As with all B vitamins, morning usage is recommended. It elevates mood and helps with fatigue.

Folic Acid – This B vitamin has shown to be very important for memory, attention efficiency, depression issues and fatigue. Folic acid is found in most B Complex supplements.

As with all B vitamins, morning usage is recommended.


4. Handy Hint: Fluorescent Lights are Everywhere

Fluorescent lights are ubiquitous in our modern world. Not just the banks and banks of them in the grocery store, flickering and buzzing. Everywhere you go from the gas station at night to your doctor, your dentist and yes, various brain injury therapy offices.

And those compact fluorescents, meant to be economical? They are still fluorescent.

Needless to say, fluorescent lighting is painful to the eyes of MTBI folks. The squinting from the glare adds to headaches, eye strain, fatigue and overall sensitivity responses. Wearing a ball cap can really help, as can sunglasses.

In your own home and at work where you can, eliminate fluorescent lights and return to incandescent. When you encounter resistance, persevere.  Your brain and eyes will simply work better with more gentle, incandescent lighting.

If you feel ‘un-green’ about incandescents, compensate by improving your recycling skills and doing good in other areas. As a brain injured person, take care of yourself and stay away from fluorescent lighting as much as possible. When necessary, invoke the ball cap and sunglasses.


5. Food: Good Carb Recipes

Gail’s Infamous Low Carb Baking Mix

This is the lower carbohydrate baking mix I invented. It has about half the carbs of regular baking mixes. It also has lower protein content than the soy flour based natural mixes, so it is kinder to your digestion and tastes better too!

Low Carb Bake Mix

  • 1 cup wheat germ, untoasted
  • 1 cup organic oat flour
  • 1 cup organic oat bran
  • 1 cup organic flaxmeal (brown or golden)
  • 1 cup organic almond meal flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup egg white powder
  • 1 tsp.  nutmeg, ground

Combine in a large mixing bowl and store in the refrigerator in a closed container  until you are ready to make something!

Use this mix as you would any other mix.

For pancakes or waffles, mix together 1 1/2 cups mix with 1-2 eggs, and enough water to wet the ingredients. Let it stand 5 minutes, then add in any additional water to make the batter the consistency you appreciate. (Add your blueberries and chopped nuts now.) Bake as usual and enjoy lower carb, yummy breakfast.

This mix works great for cookies, brownies, scones, muffins, quick breads and fruit crisps. Try it!

Thanks for reading. See you next month.

I offer one-on-one Life Coaching sessions, when you are ready for personalized help with your recovery. Check the Life Coaching tab for information. Email me directly for an appointment.