Off topic: New brain scan technique finds evidence of brain changes long after concussion/TBI/Brain injuries

Off our usual topics here but … Having experienced six traumatic brain injuries in life, this study is of great interest to me:

The authors point out that there is growing evidence of persistent changes in the brain that last well beyond clinical recovery and clearance to return to play. This study confirmed those findings showing clear brain changes in both structure and function that persisted six-months after injury. They also showed that these persistent brain changes related to concussion history, even in healthy athletes.

We were able to show evidence of prior concussion history through this method,” said Menon who is also a scientist at Robarts Research Institute and the director of the Western Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping. “This component correlates directly with the number of previous concussions that an athlete has had. This hasn’t been shown before.”

Source: MRI technique shows unique signatures of concussion in rugby players – Media Relations

Very interesting!

I have had six traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) ranging from about age 5 or 6 up through about age 50. One included a skull fracture (and unconsciousness) and 3 others involved knock out blows. Two did not knock me out but left me disoriented or with other affects such as “slow brain” and (oddly enough) arrhythmia for a couple of weeks.

In the past, these were called “head injuries” not “brain injuries” and were mostly ignored by doctors. Associated broken bones got attention! This is why TBI has been called an “invisible injury”.[1]

Incredibly, I did not know what a “TBI” was until 2018! I had, at various times, and in some cases still, experienced a variety of common TBI symptoms including “word finding” (knew what word I wanted to say but was physically incapable of saying the word), “stabbing” headaches, “throbbing” headaches, tinnitus, visual migraines, “slow brain”, emotional lability (since my third TBI, I found myself breaking into tears at emotional movie scenes or news stories), irritability, anxiety, “negatavistic thinking” including rumination and perseveration, sensitivity to low frequency sounds and noise and very short term memory issues (but not long term). For example, I tend to misplace tools I am working with and then spend 10 minutes looking for them, misplace my reading glasses, leave a stove burner on, etc. I developed coping strategies to avoid this now and it no longer happens as often as it once did!

I had no idea my brain was not behaving as it should. I learned just this year that this was not normal brain functioning and these were common after TBI (and sometimes long term after TBI). Merely learning this has left me with a wonderful feeling – finally – a coherent explanation and treatment options for a few things that linger on from long ago TBIs.

I learned that some people had very mild head injuries – but very debilitating brain injuries. There are some who have severe head injuries – but have made fantastic recoveries. There are also those who have had injuries and have had very difficult recoveries. Personally, I feel incredibly grateful that I came through a staggering six TBIs quite well and without diagnosis or appropriate treatment – not everyone has been so fortunate.

The above study has found a method for doctors to finally see evidence of physical changes, which they were previously unable to see. Lacking physical evidence, many patients with brain issues were ignored. More recently neuropsychologists have been brought in to evaluate cognitive functions and diagnose brain disorders that show no physical evidence.

Help for TBI patients is available.


[1] When I was 11 1/2 and recovering from a skull fracture, I remember I felt odd being so affected but nothing to show for it. Back in those days, kids with broken arms and legs got sympathy – but most didn’t know I too had a significant bone fracture and brain injury. TBI is mostly invisible. Yet my skull was fractured from my left temple to behind my left ear due to my bicycle striking a small pot hole, turning the front wheel into the curb, and throwing me over the handle bars, landing on the back of my head (per witnesses and evidence – obviously I have no memory of it). This was back in 1971 before bike helmets existed.

Good: Amazon cracks down on counterfeit book sales on its site

In the past two weeks, Amazon has suspended at least 20 used book merchants for allegedly selling one or more counterfeit textbooks.

Source: Amazon and publishers hurting small sellers in counterfeit sting

I sell several e-books on Amazon. One of those I also published in printed form. Before I had sold a single copy of the printed book, there were 4 used copies for sale on Amazon … all of which were clearly counterfeited. I ended up terminating the printed version of the book as the problem with counterfeit persisted. Without a printed version for sale, there was no place to sell the counterfeits.

Amazon makes money on transaction fees – and makes money whether the item sold is genuine or counterfeit. Consequently, it has not been clear that Amazon has been bothered by counterfeit sales all that much.

WordPress 5.0 Update-Do not update at this time

WordPress just updated their software to version 5.0, providing a new user interface for editing.

However, on some of my sites, I can no longer publish anything nor update existing posts. Others are also reporting this problem.  The symptom is you received a “Publishing failed” error when you attempt to publish a new post, or “Updating failed” when you try to edit and update an old post.

FIX FOR THE WORDPRESS UPDATING FAILED ERROR –> Install the Classic Editor plug in and use that to edit your posts. I can edit and post new content using the Classic Editor – just not using the new Blocks editor.

On at least one of my sites, the “Categories” feature has simply disappeared.

There appear to be numerous problems with the WordPress 5.0 update and I recommend that all WordPress users DO NOT UPDATE TO VERSION 5.0 AT THIS TIME.

My mistake for having updated 4 of my 5 blogs before I discovered that the WP 5.0 update is badly broken.

ISO drafts the first worldwide drone standards

Unfortunately, they charge 58 Euros to obtain a copy of the draft, rather than making it publicly available on their web site.

News reports say ISO proposes mandated training certification, licensing of remote pilots, flight plan logging, flight logging and maintenance requirements (including keeping system software updated).

About to give up on #VR #virtualreality – its a pain to set up

Long ago I used the literal cardboard Google Cardboard to hold my phone as a VR viewer. The Cardboard eventually fell apart (as expected).

Later, I replaced that with a Samsung Gear VR headset as at the time, it was the only headset I could find with a diopter adjustment. All other headsets were unusable by anyone who must wear reading glasses. The Gear VR kinda worked as a Cardboard viewer as I did not have a Samsung phone and the Gear VR only works, officially, with Samsung phones. But with emphasis on “kinda” worked – this enabled testing the VR waters, so to speak.

A week ago, I finally got a Daydream compatible headset to use with my Pixel 2 – and no surprise – the Daydream Controller refuses to pair with my phone.

How on earth can VR achieve any market share success when it is a pain to set up? Is there VR gear that is usable?

Separately, I used the Fulldive VR viewer as it does not require a controller to make selections. Unfortunately, after a bit of VR 360 Youtube viewing, I experienced nausea. 30 minutes after discontinuing using the VR viewer I am still feeling ill. Oddly enough, I can watch 3D videos all day and have no such troubles.

I think the problem is a combination of VR motion but also low resolution and focusing issues that cause eye strain.

Trying to get the Controller to work, I reset the Controller by pressing and holding the Home and App buttons simultaneously. I can then pair the controller with my phone using the Android Bluetooth menu and the controller shows in the Bluetooth devices list.

However, when I run the Daydream app, it says no controller is paired and attempts to pair it with the controller always fail. Well, except two times it began the pairing process but failed.

I have paired a Bluetooth mouse with the phone and I can use that to select user interface items, but the mouse lacks the accelerometers in the controller for use in gaming and other actions.

The Daydream Youtube viewing experience is not great – the user interface seems clumsy and more often than not I end up exiting the Daydream app and have to remove the phone from the headset and get it reset back in to Daydream. The resolution provided by a phone is also inadequate – I think the visible pixels contribute to the feeling of nausea.

Shooting VR stills or video is fairly straight forward. But the viewing experience is not very good – yet.

Consequently, I’m not inclined to buy a dedicated VR headset ($400 and up). VR has been around a long time but with difficult to use viewers and poor user interfaces, this tech needs further development.

Update – the vendor of my Daydream compatible headset is sending me a replacement Daydream Controller. Hope it works!