Sue’s April 2017 Letter

Dear Friends,

Sue Rueb, B.R.A.I.N. Founder & President

Think Tank 2017 was a success.  Not only was cutting edge information given, but the manner in which all speakers delivered their messages was laced with grace and hospitality.

The day started with Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist who is keenly curious about how the brain directs behavior, what factors help heal the brain and how each brain is wired individually. Dr. Medina’s talk was much like trying to drink from a fire hose, but his engaging and enthusiastic style kept the crowd riveted throughout the hour. The main take away from Dr. Medina’s session was the fact that moderate physical exercise is the single most important positive factor in gaining cognitive improvement after sustaining a brain injury. When I see various survivors come into our facility to work out with our strength and balance trainer, Kevin Jung, I am thrilled that they are putting their effort into true rehabilitation.

Since moving into our present facility in 2012, my role at B.R.A.I.N. has taken on a different slant than when we first began the organization in 2008. Back then, I was studying all I could about the brain and learning everything that would help me communicate with the various doctors and therapists. Then, when therapists went to work here, my role switched to business, leadership subjects, and communicating with potential donors. I was going through the files in my own brain, naming the parts of the brain and their functions. When I thought of the “gear shifter of the brain”, I was shocked that I could not recall its name. I struggled for a few days trying to remember. Then, I jumped on the treadmill and put the speed up to 4, which was fast enough that I couldn’t sing and after 5 minutes, the name “Anterior Cingulate Gyrus” popped into my pea brain. Thanks for the tip, Dr. Medina!

Dr. Mary Kennedy, Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Chapman University gave her talk on coaching the brain injury survivor in a way that enables them to move forward by working hard and making their own decisions on task procedures. The various therapists in attendance gained a lot for their practices. B.R.A.I.N. is grateful that we can use Dr. Kennedy’s procedures in our therapy.

John Kelley, CEO of CereScan, was happy to give current information about the importance of getting a clear diagnosis for the brain. CereScan is not just a brain scanning company, but also a medical information capturing company to include a wide variety of areas to be considered. Birth process, medical history, medications taken and several different brain tests such as scans and QEEG evaluations are all taken into the scope to evaluate the individual’s brain.

Dr. Dee Gaines is a rare and interesting PhD (Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology) who regularly gives help to the veterans at the VA in different locations. She works with various cases of criminality that involves brains that are impacted. She has spent time in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Israel, and English is her second language but speaks it with ease. Some of her unique processes are being used all over the Los Angeles basin.

Last, but certainly not least was Julie Doan, wife of Andrew Doan MD, Naval Officer and Eye Surgeon. Their passion is about the overuse of digital media. The data were only eclipsed by their own private story of how digital media almost destroyed their family life and careers. Julie is a Registered Nurse (RN) and is a strong advocate for getting the word out about digital drugs. One only needs to leave their cell phone at home by mistake and then check their attitude and anxious emotions to understand this issue. It’s interesting that the Navy put a lid on Dr. Doan to speak to us. Could it be the subject manner is just too close to home? Our Soldiers, Marines and Naval personnel come home from theaters of war and often play the games of war rather than make a way back into reality. Please Google stories of young people who have their games or digital paraphernalia taken from them. Be careful as you Google.  Ever notice how fast a few hours can pass when your eyes are trained on the screen?

I asked personally about 300 people to attend our great conference. People are busy. We all do what we truly want to do. If you chose to come, you were the winner! We will evaluate and see what is appropriate for the future. Keep exercising your body and your brain. Talk face to face in conversations and be quick to forgive those who misunderstand you.

My appreciation goes out to our Leadership Team, our staff and our fantastic volunteers who worked hard to make the day both special and rewarding.

With appreciation,

Sue Rueb