How 'plastic' brain can heal from traumatic injuries
Life was pretty challenging for Jeri Lake after a bike accident left her with a traumatic brain injury. Six years after her accident she still couldn't stand up straight without falling over and was having problems with vision and depth perception.
But things started to change for Lake when she discovered a new device that was undergoing testing at the University of Wisconsin. It's called PoNS and it attaches to the tongue. Small electrodes send electrical signals to the brain — stimulating dormant circuits. Jeri Lake felt improvement after only one 20-minute session.
"Someone to my left asked how I was feeling, I turned my head to look at her and answer. I suddenly realized I had moved — I had turned my head freely for the first time in almost six years and I didn't fall."
"I didn't lose my balance."
That's something she hadn't been able to do since her accident.
"Every traumatic brain injury is different but the classic approaches to traumatic brain injury were very limited. Rest and restore was the big ones and recently we were looking at brain exercises."
"In my book and in the film, we talk about a number of different approaches that are emerging. I know of nine now that we can use."
He features cases where sound therapy has been used with success for children with autism, light therapy to treat brain injuries and exercise to lessen the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Jeri Lake says she's not functioning like she was before the accident. But at least she can now navigate the world. Plus, she's able to ride her bike again.
"That's been marvelous because I'm happy on a bicycle."
Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.
This segment was produced by The Current's producer Liz Hoath.