Six reasons to promptly retain a lawyer after a family member suffers a severe brain injury

If the injury is a traumatic brain injury, all of the following reasons are twice as important; patients cannot recover alone, and must rely upon family to look after things while they concentrate on healing.

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Yoga-Based Exercise Classes for Individuals with Neurological Conditions

Neuro-Ability Rehabilitation Services is offering  yoga-based group exercise classes for individuals with neurological conditions. Classes are led by a physiotherapist and are designed to help participants meet their physiotherapy goals.

Tuesday evenings, March 19 – April 30, 2013

675 East 17th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5V 1B5

What makes these classes special?
These small group classes are designed specifically for individuals with neurological conditions and are led by a physiotherapist with Hatha yoga teacher training. These classes are designed to cover the basics of breathing, stretching, and strengthening with a focus on yoga principles.

Who are these classes designed for?

These classes are adapted for individuals with neurological injuries. The minimum physical requirement is that the individual is able to do an independent transfer onto either a plinth or the floor and can roll onto their stomach with minimal assistance. Participants are able to follow verbal cues and instructions. Participants can use a treatment bed (plinth) if they are not able to get on and off the floor.

What is involved?

This session includes 2 parts:

1. One individual assessment (1 hour total)

  • This is mandatory for participants who are new to Neuro-Ability group classes, with the goal of ensuring the class is best suited to each participant’s needs.
  • These 1-hour individual assessments will be booked on ONE the following days between 5-7pm: Tuesday March 5th, Thursday March 7th, Tuesday March 12th, or Thursday March 14th, 2013.
  • This must be completed prior to starting the sessions if you are new to Neuro-Ability classes.

2. Seven group classes (1 hour and 15 minutes each)

How much does it cost?

  • Individual one-hour assessment = $100
  • 7 group classes = $245 ($35/class)

These classes are taught by a physiotherapist and may be covered by some extended medical plans. It is up to the participant to confirm what their provider will cover.

How do I sign up?

Please contact Anne at for more information.


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A Day in the Life of a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor

Christina MacEachern was injured on September 12th, 2005, when her head came into contact with a semi-trailer truck. She suffered severe bi-frontal lobe injuries.

A 60-minute video of Christina (post-injury) was produced by Shawn Serdar of Pacific Producers Group and was shown during Christina’s trial. This 13 minute, edited version of the video has kindly been made available by Christina’s guardian for educational purposes.

Gender differences in outcome after TBI – are there really?

It seems that researchers these days are really trying to look at the differences between men and women in brain injury.  When I started practicing in this area, the new research was about whiplash-type injuries and the discussion looked at the female physiology (slimmer necks and less musculature in the neck and upper back) and how that could lead to more headaches, neck pain and even more traumatic brain injuries after being in a rear end collision. However, current research is more focused on symptoms and recovery following TBI.

In “Gender differences in self reported long term outcomes following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury,” researchers looked at individual men and women who had sustained a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury.  The study revealed that significantly more men reported difficulty with setting realistic goals while women reported more headaches, dizziness and loss of confidence. These findings accord with my experience where sometimes men have a very difficult time even accepting injury, which can have a devastating consequence on their relationships following TBI. In this study, the men were found to report functional symptoms like sensitivity to noise and sleep disturbances as significantly more problematic than women. Whereas for women, lack of initiative and needing supervision were significantly more problematic in daily functioning.

The study did note some similarities across both genders as four of the five most reported symptoms were the same for men and women, highlighting similarities in symptoms experienced after TBI. These symptoms include being forgetful, irritable, having poor balance, and difficulty finding words.

In comparison, a study in the Journal of Neurotrauma entitled “Sex Differences in Outcome after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” examined the outcomes following mild TBI. In this study, three months after mild TBI, males had significantly lower chances of having post-concussive symptoms than females. These findings were most significant when the women were of child-bearing age. Researchers thought that this pattern of disability for females during the child-bearing years might be related to disruption of hormone production.

I will say that individual differences and individual responses to brain injury are much more the norm for lawyers like us, who practice in this area.  If I were to look at the range of symptoms in my last 100 brain injury cases I could honestly say that I would not be able to discern any specific patterns of difference by age or gender, except to say that real world functionality is markedly impaired. So, while there is a growing body of literature examining gender and other differences in outcome post- TBI, when looked at closely, findings are inconsistent. While this research helps treatment modalities in a population, if you need to find a lawyer, therapist or other professional for someone you know who is suffering from the consequences of a TBI, look for experience in handling TBI cases.  Those of us who do this realize the importance of examining all areas to find the specific area of dysfunction affecting the individual in front of us.

To find out more, read:
“Gender differences in self reported long term outcomes following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury” in BMC Neurology (October 2010), by Angela Colantonio and Jocelyn E Harris.

“Sex Differences in Outcome after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” from the Journal of Neurotrauma (March 2010), by Jeffrey Bazarian, Brian Blyth, Sohug Mookerjee, Hua He, and Michael P. McDermott.

Peer group support can enhance well-being after brain injury

three people walking arm in armOur experience with survivors of TBI certainly accords with proposition that both survivors and their families need support to enhance the survivor’s functional capabilities and everyone’s well-being. Recent research agrees with us.  A six-week group intervention study looked at patients with acquired brain injury and their significant others and found that support enhanced both client well-being and psychosocial outcomes. Both higher levels of community integration and improvements in depression scores were noted where support had been provided.

We work hard to ensure that survivors and their families are connected with support through brain injury programs or even with therapists that we know have experience in brain injury. It’s not just the ‘touchy feely stuff’ either.  Many family members struggle with questions like “How do I encourage my loved one to improve his memory without doing it for them” or “How do I respond to anger or frustration that I think comes from the brain injury”. It’s essential that this support is provided, either through community groups or by allowing your brain injury lawyer to organize that high level of therapy and training.

To review this study see: “Evaluation of an outpatient, peer group intervention for people with acquired brain injury based on the ICF ‘Environment’ dimension” in Disability & Rehabilitation (2009, Vol. 31, No. 20 : Pages 1666-1675). This research was produced by Jennifer Fleming, Pim Kuipers, Michele Foster, Sharon Smith and Emmah Doig.

Drivers with TBI are slower to anticipate traffic hazards

traffic signs indicating construction areaUnfortunately, the consequences of brain injury are far reaching, and the risk of further injury after an initial brain injury is a real risk that many of our clients face.  Most clients find that the struggle through rehabilitation is hard enough, but as they are told that they can’t (or shouldn’t) go back to the activities that they used to enjoy, they become even more frustrated.

A recent study was conducted to examine the effect of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on drivers’ ability to anticipate traffic hazards. Slower anticipation of hazards has been associated with higher crash rates, but this driving skill has never been assessed after TBI.

The study found that participants with TBI were significantly slower to anticipate traffic hazards than controls. Within the TBI group, while hazard perception response times were significantly related to duration of post-traumatic amnesia, they were not significantly related to Glasgow Coma Scale scores. Not surprisingly participants with a complicated mild TBI (which means that the initial injury met the ‘mild’ criteria, but upon imaging damage was noted) were significantly faster in anticipating traffic conflicts than participants with moderate to severe TBI.

This is not to say that people with past TBI’s can never drive, but for many of our clients, driver training is an essential part of the recovery process. Supporting a return to activities is really important (one of the consequences of prohibiting a return to activities is depression and a decrease in functioning) but proper rehab and therapy is essential to make sure it is done safely.

To review this study see: “Assessment of drivers’ ability to anticipate traffic hazards after traumatic brain injury” from the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry with Practical Neurology (Sept 2010). By Megan Preece, Mark Horswill, and Gina Geffen.
Most clients find that the struggle through rehabilitation is hard enough, but as they are told that they can’t or shouldn’t go back to the activities that they used to enjoy, they become even more frustrated.