Mar 2, 2007
By: Alvaro Fernandez
You probably have seen the news about Bob Woodruff’s own recovery and his articles now to raise awareness about the plight of Iraq veterans.
In the article “A Firsthand Report on the Wounds of War”, we learn how
- “Woodruff, 45, is launching a multimedia campaign that includes appearances Tuesday with Oprah Winfrey and on “Good Morning America,” and the release of a book (In an Instant) written with his wife, Lee, about their ordeal.”
- “Woodruff’s reporting packs an emotional punch because he is, quite simply, a man who cheated death. Never before had an anchor for an American broadcast network been injured in war. Woodruff instantly became a symbol of the dangers that journalists face in Iraq, and is trying to use his higher profile to illuminate the plight of soldiers who struggle with these injuries far from the spotlight.”
This is not an isolated example but part of a larger, and growing, problem. The Discover Magazine article “Dead Men Walking: what sort of future do brain-injured Iraq veterans face?” discusses what a great work the military is doing to prevent deaths of injured soldiers in Iraq-with the unintended consequence that rehabilitation services back in the US are completely overwhelmed.
Neurophilosopher puts this problem in a wider context with DoD is neglecting troops’ mental health.
“Of course there weren’t advanced neuroimaging techniques those days, so scientists could only speculate about what happened in healthy brains. But they could carefully analyze what happened with patients who had suffered any kind of serious brain problem, from strokes to traumatic brain injury. And this is how neuropsychology was born: Alexander Luria, Vygotsky’s disciple, and my own mentor, was commissioned to help rehabilitate Russian soldiers with brain injuries during WWII. This provided invaluable clinical material for understanding the mechanisms of the healthy brain. Much of modern cognitive neuroscience rests its foundation in Luria’s work.”
We were recently contacted by a traumatic brain injury survivor who says:
“As to your question, in 1967 there was not any neuro rehab given to me. My parents never told me that I should be affected by the brain injury, so I was on my own to figure things out…how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences. I am not sure what to tell you with regards to specific ways that I taught myself. I just did it. Dogged determination, perseverance in the face of different factors and then tweaking things as I grew older. I do not have a neuro road map to give you to give to other people for their specific recovery. My only suggestion is that they should not give up on themselves or let other people place limitations upon them. I am still tweaking life. Hope this helps.”
Good quote: “My only suggestion is that they should not give up on themselves or let other people place limitations upon them. I am still tweaking life.”