Traumatic Brain Injuries – by the numbers

Because of the way the brain is housed in the cranium, explains Leanne O’Neil of INDY Neurofeedback, an impact from almost any direction can cause damage. Although the brain is incredibly resilient, is it also quite susceptible to injury.

Even relatively minor brain trauma can cause lasting damage, often manifesting in headaches, slurred speech, depression and/or anxiety, fatigue, dizziness, mood changes, or irritability. Sometimes after a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) symptoms may be harder to pinpoint and diagnose, and may include reduced concentration, difficulty with memory retrieval, and poor organization and planning.

Here are some fairly startling TBI statistics in the U.S., gathered and published by WebMD:

  • 47% of brain injuries are attributed to falls, the leading cause of TBI.
  • 8 million Traumatic Brain Injuries were recorded in 2013, according to the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) data.
  • 153 deaths per day occur from injuries that include a brain injury.
  • 53,000 deaths are attributed to TBIs annually (CDC).
  • $400,000 is the average lifetime cost (per case) for a severe brain injury.
  • An estimated 3.2 to 5.3 million Americans are living with a TBI-related disability.
  • 47% increase in ER visits from TBIs from 2007 to 2013.
  • 70% of all sports and recreation-related brain injuries are reported in people ages 19 and younger.
  • 5% of high school athletes have had a concussion.
  • 5% of all high school athletes have reported more than one concussion.
  • 26,212 non-fatal bicycling-related brain injuries are reported annually.
  • 99% of NFL players in an autopsy brain donation program were diagnosed with brain damage after death.

Unfortunately, Traumatic Brain Injuries are on the rise across the U.S. And frequently, these injuries can be difficult to detect.

That is why INDY Neurofeedback was established; to provide a non-medical way to help those suffering with brain injuries re-gain lost brain function. If you suspect your (or a family member’s) symptoms may be the result of a Traumatic Brain Injury, we are here to help.


From Facts and Stats on Trending Health Topics, Matt McMillen,, September 2018.

How becoming a mother re-wires the brain

New studies are shedding light on what goes on in the brains of women immediately after they become mothers of new babies. Giving birth is a major event for the brain with changes that are immediate, pronounced and foundational.

Both structural and functional brain changes were detected with the help of magnetic resonance imaging, relates INDY Neurofeedback owner Leanne O’Neil.

This brain research, begun over two decades ago, set out to document the makeover of the maternal brain. Jodi Pawluski, a researcher at University of Rennes France, calls these changes “Among the most significant biological events one can have in one’s life.”

Researchers scanned the brains of women who were not pregnant. They then followed up with more images shortly after these women had babies, and again two years later. They found that the volume of gray matter in the mothers’ brains changed dramatically, particularly in regions involved in social processes such as the ability to recognize emotions and mental states, key to raising a child.

The degree of change was significant enough that researchers could easily determine which women were mothers and which were not, purely by looking at their brain scans. The more brain change the mothers experienced, the higher they scored on measures of emotional attachment to their babies, a finding that echoed past studies. These changes in most brain regions were evident even two years later.

Why this physical change? Women experience a flood of hormones during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. These hormones prepare the brain for dramatic change in regions thought to make up the ‘maternal circuit.’ The maternal circuit of the brain includes areas that enable a mother to meet her baby’s basic needs, becoming hyper-vigilant to infant pain and emotions, and helping to regulate responses to positive stimuli as well as perceived threats.

Some effects of those brain changes may moderate over time. A new mom’s hyper-vigilance, for instance, generally peaks in the first month postpartum and then diminishes. But other effects of brain change linger, shaping mothers even well past their child-rearing years and influencing their relationships with future grandchildren.

This information helps explain why new moms can be fiercely protective, motivated caregivers, and completely focused on their baby’s wellbeing, says Leanne O’Neil. Our powerful, dynamic maternal brains are doing exactly what they have been designed to do.

Eating for better brain health

It is true that ‘you are what you eat,’ especially when it comes to brain health and wellbeing. Surprised?

“Fine-tuning your brain to keep it alert and fog-free, disease-free, and operating as efficiently as possible, says Leanne O’Neil of INDY Neurofeedback, “starts with understanding what nutriments the brain needs to work most effectively. The number one thing you should be feeding your brain for mental clarity and optimum efficiency? Healthy fats,” O’Neil advises.

That’s because a robust 60% of your brain is composed of DHA and EPA. Both of these fatty acids are critical for supporting brain function, mood, regulating your body’s metabolism, and preventing inflammation. So providing your brain with omega-3 fatty acids found in things like fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and even algae, makes good sense.

Why is inflammation so important to avoid when it comes to brain health? Inflammation is linked to the progression of diseases which can prematurely age the brain such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Eating more healthy fats doesn’t mean to go on a super high-fat diet. Instead, pair healthy fats with low-glycemic plant foods that are rich in nutrients and fiber and do not interfere with blood sugar.

Healthy plant foods:

  • asparagus
  • avocados
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • dark leafy greens
  • mushrooms
  • nuts
  • olive oil
  • onions
  • peppers
  • radishes
  • seeds

Eating healthy fats along with these foods also helps you absorb more of the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. There lots of delicious ways to do this, including adding more whole, real foods from high-quality sources, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Additionally, you can add some healthy saturated fats, like coconut oil and grass-fed meat. Your brain will absolutely benefit. Oh yes, and drink lots of pure, clean water!

What should you avoid? Highly processed and hydrogenated oils, which contribute to brain inflammation, including:

  • canola
  • corn
  • grapeseed
  • soybean
  • sunflower

At INDY Neurofeedback, we work with our clients so they understand how to achieve better brain health and overall wellbeing.