Injuries are just one of the many facets that you have to be aware of, especially traumatic brain injuries cause by a concussion, otherwise known as a ‘concussion’.
Part I - The Basics
The idea that your kids need 'mental-hygiene' seems ridiculous. However, I would like to point out that our culture as Americans has dramatically changed within the last hundred years, producing a real gap between what we are and what we have to adapt in order to keep up with our daily activities. This evolutionary hurdle between how we are and how our world is now shaped, is yet another culprit in the behavior of our children and their behavioral issues. This article is written with the intent to give you, the parent, helpful tools and an overall awareness to improve your children life and in the long run yours as well.
Lets start off with the four 'big questions' regarding neurological development. Observe how they may have influenced the behavior of your children in the past and become curious in that moment on how you can in the future create positive change. Remember, being that 'curious fellow' is one of the most influential methods of showing your children that they can accomplish most anything. They just have to learn how to ask the basic questions surrounding any problem; The what, why, who, when, and the how.
- Does the brain have enough fuel?
- Are the neurons within the brain able to become plastic, making new connections and creating new thoughts?
- Does the neuron have the ability to rest and repair itself?
- Is the neuron being stimulated correctly, in-regards to its' chronobiological requirements?
Part II - Energy & Neurons
Sugar (in the form of glycogen) is stored in the liver. Your children have small livers. That is why they need to eat so often. Good, now I got all that cleared up, let me explain myself. Neurons are very different than other tissues, as they cannot make the fuel they need to survive. They are like helpless children waiting for some-one to deliver them food, sound familiar? Without a steady supply of fuel, your brain will slowly shut down as it cannot function without it. Now considering other tissues can make energy, even some adipose (fat) cells can make their own energy, having a child have low level neurological symptoms without the physical body having the same response is very logical. Please note: There is a way around not having sugar, it involves making it through another process, but that we can cover later.
It becomes an important thing to create a balanced regular diet, especially when your kids are reaching for quick sugar, usually fructose without fiber. Examples being soda, juice, or energy drinks. This cycle can produce bad habits, horrible learning behaviors, and this behavior has been known to change a mood or two.
My suggestion is for you to choose a complex sugar with protein and fat. Yes, I said it - fat. Like from a pig, or an olive, maybe even a cow or a lamb. If you have active kids, a mixture of complex carbohydrates, fat, and proteins, in general, is the best thing for them - every meal. It will allow for their systems to create a steady sugar supply for the brain and allow for an environment where, we will talk about later, it allow for neurons to make new connections and grow. Please avoid all vegetable oil. I usually don't like to make a blanket statement however please just eat fat from healthy animals and seeds. Remember, its' called 'rape seed for a reason', this book link is an automatic download link and yes it is safe, and quite educational.
I also want to touch upon another thing to think about, genetics and how they play a massive role in how your children grow, develop, and interact with their environment. I want you to think about a basic facts, so please do not take this as point to be racially provocative, I am talking about facts and how you can help you and your children's lives. Africans, specifically African Americans, have an amazingly significant risk factor to developing type II diabetes over the course of their lives. Is it their diet? Is it there genetics? Is it both? Studies have shown the risk is both. So, simply said, children with African heritage should not eat fructose, ever. Yes, I said it, ever. Please do not ignore the concept of anthropology and how it applies to your children. Again, that is a different topic that can be another treatise.
For now, lets go over the basics when it comes to that basic question: Does the brain have enough fuel?
- Eat regularly 3-5 times a day.
- Eat a combination of complex carbohydrates, fats, & protein.
- Know that your child has less stored energy so snacks can be key if your out and about.
- Do not eat fat that is crap; Anything listed as hydrogenated, rapeseed, canola, margarine, vegetable oil. etc...
To be continued... [part III, IV, & V]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the first set of guidelines allowing parents the information and tools they need to spot possible concussions from youth sport activities in their children. Between you and me, it's about time. That being said, let me start with going over some of the basics; A bit of Mansplaining (my wife's term not mine).
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Most importantly, they are the most significant cause of TBI's in Americas youth. These 'concussive events' in our youth sports occur through simple impacts of head and to some degree, any sizable impact that causes the brain to wiggle back and forth impacting the skull like Jello smashing up against a glass container. This is what creates a concussive event leading to a TBI. One thing that is important to remember when it comes to how hard an impact may or may not have been; There are no tools that allow medicine to determine a value or measurement of an impact and how it equates to the measurement of neurological destruction, every situation is different, every patient is different.
Why are concussions so harmful?
The major concern regarding any concussive event, is the sensitive nature of neurons. They are very sensitive to physical impacts. Making matters worse, any impact that ends up causing a neuron to die, initiates a protective inflammatory chemical chain reaction. As a result, this chemically induced cascade creates more and more neurological destruction.
The study of this reaction is in its infancy. However, what we do know is that a good clinical workup is the best choice to document what systems of the brain have been effected. Allowing clinicians to provide tailored clinical program that will certainly reduce the impact of a concussion. As a result, we can help reduce recovery times and any long term damage. The final and most important item to note, on average about 10,000 neurons die every day on their own regardless of any injury. The body recovers this daily 'die off' of neurons through the process known as neuroplasticity creating more complete and healthy connections. As a result, this plastic growth is responsible for creating who you are as a person that develops over time.
Why is knowing important?
Teens that play while healing from a lingering concussion have a much greater risk of having a more significant concussion with the same impact. Consequently, these repeat concussions are believed to be much more serious and affect your children over their lifetimes.
How can you keep your children safe?
Sports are a fantastic, healthy outlet for anyone, let alone your children. Similarly, I am not an advocate of hiding your children in room to keep them safe. I have had so many concussive events I can't even remember. Yes, that is supposed to be funny. Here are the direct recommendations from the CDC to help your children stay safe:
- Help Create a Culture of Safety for the Team.
› Work with their coach to teach ways to lower the chances of getting a concussion.
› Emphasize the importance of reporting concussions and taking time to recover from one.
› Ensure that they follow their coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
› Tell your children or teens that you expect them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
- Signs Observed by Parents
› Appears dazed or stunned.
› Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
› Moves clumsily.
› Answers questions slowly.
› Loses consciousness (even briefly).
› Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
› Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
- Symptoms Reported by Children
› Headache or “pressure” in head.
› Nausea or vomiting.
› Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
› Bothered by light or noise.
› Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
› Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
› Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”
How we can help!
At Flathead Chiropractic we offer the ability for your children to get the neurological evaluation needed following a concussive event, allowing your family to take a positive direction. This includes, many advanced clinical assessment tools and nutritional guidance intended to measure performance and improve the recovery rate. We will give your children the best treatment program possible helping them to get back to being themselves. Call into our office if you have any questions regarding our TBI Assessment Program or if you want to make an appointment please call our office at (406) 314-6314.