Defying the Odds
After his recovery, Jason Crigler and his sister, Marjorie, began this speaking project to connect with other brain injury victims and their families. Jason and Marjorie travel around the country, talking about how intense family involvement can make a difference in a positive recovery. Find a list of their upcoming talks on this website.
Jason Crigler Music
Visit Jason Crigler’s official website to access current information about Crigler and his music, including an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel and links to performance videos on YouTube.
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital: Jason Crigler Profile
Six months after his brain injury, Jason Crigler was transferred to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. There, he worked with doctors, therapists and his family and continued on his long road to recovery. Learn more about Crigler’s time at Spaulding through this article, which also includes a link to more information about the brain injury rehabilitation program at Spaulding.
Life. Support. Music.
Filmmaker Eric Daniel Metzgar’s website for the film includes a list of places where the film has screened and links to articles about and reviews of the film.
Acclaimed composer Eric Liebman has scored all three of filmmaker Eric Daniel Metzgar’s films. Visit Liebman’s website for more information.
American Stroke Association
The website of this organization provides many stroke-related resources, including tips on how to recognize a stroke and support for life after stroke. Health care professionals can also find additional links to continuing education and more resources.
Brain Injury Association of America
The only national advocacy organization dedicated to helping people with brain injury and their families improve access to care, rehabilitation and support, the Brain Injury Association offers support and resources to individuals through by phone, email and its website. The website also keeps visitors up-to-date on policy and legislation activity related to brain injuries. Visitors can also access a list of state offices and support groups.
Brain Injury Association of America: Traumatic Brain Injury: Costs and Insurance
One of the difficulties in caring for brain injury survivors is the extremely high cost of long-term care. The research presented by the Brain Injury Association of America provides abstracts of in-depth studies on issues such as the effect of Medicare prospective payment systems, whether insurance determines where a patient is placed for rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury and the details of hospital expenses for patients.
This website from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke offers materials about stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Visitors can watch a short video on recognizing the symptoms of a stroke or order an educational tool kit for a stroke awareness event, and health professionals can also download and order booklets and other training materials. Much of the material offered is also available in Spanish.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby; translated from the French by Jeremy Leggatt (New York: Knopf, 1997)
In 1995, at the age of 43, the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine, Jean-Dominique Bauby, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he’d only visited in his mind.
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science, Norman Doidge (New York: Viking, 2007)
For years, the doctrine of neuroscientists has been that the brain is a machine: Break a part and you lose that function permanently. But more and more evidence shows that the brain can rewire itself, even in the face of catastrophic trauma: Essentially, the brain can be strengthened so that it functions better, just as a weak muscle can.
Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, Michael Paul Mason (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)
The author offers a series of vivid glimpses into brain science, the last frontier of medicine, and explores fragility of the brain and the sense of self, life and order that resides there.
Music and the Brain
CNN.com: Music a “mega-vitamin” for the brain
Parkinson’s disease sufferer Nina Temple formed a choir, joined by other sufferers of Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and other diseases. This article outlines her experiences and provides other medical and anecdotal evidence on how music can provide neurological benefits. (June 2, 2009)
U.S. News and World Report: Music as Medicine for the Brain
Neurologists such as Oliver Sacks are prescribing music therapy for conditions from Alzheimer’s to strokes. Patients often see improvement in alertness and overall functioning. (July 17, 2008)
This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Daniel J. Levitin (New York: Plume/Penguin, 2007)
Daniel J. Levitin is a former record producer, sound engineer, and session musician. Here he describes music from the perspective of cognitive neuroscience and examines recent studies that tie it to meaning and pleasure. He first explains the elements of music in a way that is both detailed and accessible to general readers, and then outlines how the brain understands it. The mind develops expectations of music, he says, and creates categories. Other chapters look into the concept of emotion, musical preferences and whether talent is inherent or can be learned. Finally, he considers music and evolutionary theory.
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Oliver Sacks (New York: Knopf, 2007)
Oliver Sacks’ own enthusiasm about the complex workings of the human mind (he teaches clinical neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University) is reflected in his work. In this volume, he turns his attention to the many phenomena concerning music and the brain, relating the scientific explanations alongside numerous and compelling case studies. Sacks describes the effects of music — and of different aspects of music — on ordinary individuals, musicians and people who have had accidents or disabilities, in chapters on music and memory, musical hallucinations, music therapy and perfect pitch, among other topics.
Rehabilitation and Caregiving
AARP Public Policy Institute: Family Caregiving and Long-Term Care Fact Sheet
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has published a report that focuses on family caregivers and provides a summary of the prevalence of these caregivers, the services available to them and possible tax benefits for family caregivers.
AVM Survivors Network
AVM stands for “arteriovenous malformation,” and Jason Crigler had brain AVM, a bursting of the blood vessels in his brain. This website provides a network for the survivors of AVMs and those who have know AVM patients. Site visitors can connect to each other, share stories, blog about their experiences and organize events, such as walks to raise money for AVM research.
Caring Bridge, an online tool that keeps family and friends updated on the progress of a loved one who sustains any type of serious injury, is used by more than 20 million families each year. Sites can be set up for free and can be used to share progress and discuss the needs of family members.
Family Caregiver Alliance: Caregiving Info and Advice
This nonprofit organization works to provide support services for family caregivers struggling to provide long-term care for loved ones who do not fit into traditional health systems. The caregiving information and advice portion of the website yields resources that include strategies, care options, coping skills, a state-by-state guide to navigating the long-term care system, online discussion groups and more.
National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA)
The website for this nonprofit organization, which supports the more than 50 million Americans who are family caregivers, is a good starting place for anyone involved with home care. The site provides everything from tips and tools for caregivers to information about legislation and public policy initiatives and more. Caregivers might be especially interested in NFCA’s joint outreach project with the National Alliance for Caregiving, Family Caregiving 101, created to provide assistance, advice and more to caregivers.
Aftershock: What to do when the Doctor Gives You — or Someone You Love — a Devastating Diagnosis, Jessie Gruman (New York: Walker & Co., 2007)
Every year millions of Americans are diagnosed with cancer, stroke, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, ALS and other life-threatening or life-altering diseases. When faced with a devastating diagnosis, people quickly must understand the diagnosis and prognosis and choose from several treatment options — while still in shock. Gruman identifies the processes required to respond to a serious diagnosis, regardless of the specific disease.
Brain, Heal Thyself: A Caregiver’s New Approach to Recovery from Stroke, Aneurysm, and Traumatic Brain Injuries, Madonna Siles; commentary by Lawrence J. Beuret (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Co., 2006)
Siles follows her friend Eve after a near-fatal aneurysm and recounts moment-by-moment Eve’s journey from emergency room to rehab center to at-home care and, finally, to recovery. The book includes visualizations and subliminal methods for invoking the power of emotions and the subconscious mind in the healing process.
PBS and NPR
Independent Lens: “Music From the Inside Out”: Music and the Mind
Today, researchers and scientists continue to explore how music affects emotions, intelligence and physical well-being. Read about some of the ways music is being used to improve and enrich the way we think, feel and relate to the world. This website is attached to the film “Music From the Inside Out.” (2004)
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: Seeking an Alternative
More and more hospitals are offering their patients alternative therapies in addition to the traditional treatments. Paul Solman of WGBH-Boston reports on one hospital’s program. (Aug. 27, 1998)
NOVA Online: Coma
Head trauma is the number one cause of death and disability among people between the ages of one and 44, but it doesn’t take a miracle for a patient to come out of a coma and do well — it just takes the application of good science. This website offers links to a support line, a head injury fact sheet and a list of important questions to ask whether someone suffers from a head injury. (Oct. 1997)
NOVA scienceNOW: Brain Trauma
NOVA scienceNOW presents multiple stories in a magazine format show with Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, author and host. In 2008, NOVA scienceNOW aired an episode about brain trauma. The website has links to viewer questions for neurosurgeon Jam Ghajar, a place to share personal stories, additional video, a teacher’s guide and additional resources. (July 30, 2008)
Talk of the Nation: Brain Injuries, Restorative Justice
Listeners comment on the effects of traumatic brain injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, the signature injury from the Iraq War. (May 15, 2007)
Talk of the Nation: Author Explains Mysteries of Music and the Mind
Why can music sometimes remain in the brain long after other memories fade? Why is it that some people with limited language abilities can sing unimpaired? Neurologist Oliver Sacks talks about his latest book, Musicophilia, and the way music affects the brain. (Nov. 2007)
Talk of the Nation: Music Therapy
Music therapy programs are popping up in hospitals and treatment centers around the country. But what do we actually know about the benefits of music or how music is processed by our brains? Patients, doctors and scientists talk about the research and practice of music therapy. Participants include Connie Tomaino, director and vice president for music therapy services at the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, William Benzon, cognitive scientist and author of Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture and Oliver Sacks, clinical professor of neurology and author. (June 28, 2002)