neurological disorders

A Personal Story

Author: Billy Hao

About a year ago, I lived in an orange and blue apartment building near the University of Washington Seattle campus. It was a warm, spring afternoon as I walked back to my room after class. As soon as I entered the room, I put my backpack on the floor and lay down on my bed. Bored, I opened the YouTube app on my iPhone and started watching some videos. After a few minutes, I became aware that closing the blinds would help keep the room cool. I immediately got up and started adjusting them. The next thing I remember is waking up next to a pool of blood. Confused, I started to clean up the mess. I wasn’t sure where the blood was coming from, but eventually discovered that there was a cut on the back of my head. I called a friend over to examine the severity of the wound and he convinced me to call my parents. They made the 30-minute drive from my childhood home to my apartment building and sent me to the emergency room. After asking a few questions to test my memory and cognition, the doctor stapled the cut together. It turns out that I had gotten up too fast and blacked out as I was adjusting the blinds. I fell backward and hit my head against the edge of a wall. It’s been about a year since the incident, but the scar is still visible today.

In the immediate aftermath of the injury, I had no problems with memory and no decrease in cognitive ability. As far as I know, my brain is working fine. However, there was a brief period of time when the fear of permanent brain damage kept me up at night. Watching the movie Concussion, starring Will Smith as doctor Omalu (IMDb, 2015) convinced me that I may suffer from CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Of course, this is far from the truth. After a few days of paranoia, I did some research and found that “CTE is not caused by any single injury, but rather it is caused by years of regular, repetitive brain trauma” (Concussion Legacy Foundation). Still, my injury taught me the importance of good health and the fragility of life. Life is dependent on being able to move and think clearly, and one head injury can take that all away.

My experience with a mild traumatic brain injury has inspired me to help others who have not been as lucky. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), neurological disorders affect up to one billion people worldwide (Bertolote & Medialine, 2007). Others in the world suffer from concussions and neurological disorders that are far more severe than my own. Reading the testimonials of recipients of Plus One grants compelled me to intern here at this company and share my story. Throughout my life, I plan to support non-profit organizations like this one in order to help the victims of such unfortunate circumstances.

 

Sources:

"Neurological Disorders Affect Millions Globally: WHO Report." World Health Organization. World Health Organization, 08 Dec. 2010. Web. 25 July 2018.

"What Is CTE?" Concussion Legacy Foundation. N.p., 20 June 2018. Web. 25 July 2018.

"Concussion (2015)." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 25 July 2018.

On Board: one Plus One staffer's personal experiences

Living with a brain or a body that doesn't work the same as other people's is hard. It's hard physically, and mentally; socially, as the world expects things that your brain and body can't deliver. One of my family members grew up with and lives with Autism. She was born in 1944, so Autism and the spectrum weren't commonly understood diagnoses. She was held to a standard which she could not reach and then punished for her differences. She's had a hard life. She's hyper focused, prone to paranoia, and full of fear but her life is not all darkness. The things that bring her joy light her face up and make such a difference in her life. Her laugh is so cute. As a caretaker, it's important for me to maximize those joy-related activities as much as possible.

Getting her active and out of her care facility is one of the things that brings her the most balance and happiness. Having access to physical activity in a caring environment is so important to her. For people like her who have limited access, who have perhaps fallen through the cracks in the system for most of their life, the opportunities Plus One provides can make the difference between good brain chemistry and depression, between isolation and a full life. I've seen personally the difference that swim therapy can make, that exercise can have for people like her.  I'm now on the board of Plus One and I'm so proud of the things that we're doing. I can't tell you how much it means to me to be able to work on a program that grants access to people who've never been considered or prioritized before in their lives. Some of my family member's life stories break my heart, but the program's she's participating in now, and the help that she's receiving gives me hope. 

Thank you Plus One, for all the people you prioritize, for all the brain changing services you enable, and for all your care.

What Licensed Naturopaths Say About MS

Author: Catherine Waterbury

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is “an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.” MS effects more than 2.3 million people worldwide and can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, there is not a cure for MS. Common treatments for MS include: teaming up with a healthcare provider, taking pharmaceutical medication, and participating in physical therapy.

MS-Symptoms-FB
MS-Symptoms-FB

Other treatment options for MS are referred to as “Commentary or Alternative Medicines” (CAM). These treatments include exercise, alternative diet, and the addition of supplements. In a study done by members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, 52% of the naturopaths being surveyed suggested dietary changes to treat MS. The study also indicated that 45% of the naturopaths suggested essential fatty acid supplementation and 33% suggested vitamin/mineral supplementation. At the end of the study, 59% of patients claimed they experienced an improved quality of life by using a CAM system.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society advises those with MS to not “abandon conventional therapy” and be sure to “keep your physician informed about everything you are taking”. With that being said, if you are interested in adding elements of CAM system to your treatment, you should! There are a large variety of therapies you could try, including: acupuncture, nutrition lessons, exercise, cooking classes, and many more!

Can-acupuncture-mend-a-broken-heart
Can-acupuncture-mend-a-broken-heart

If you have MS and are interested in an CAM style therapy, The Plus One Foundation may be able to help you fund your therapy. Please look over our website for more information!

Sources:

"Home." National Multiple Sclerosis Society. N.p., 16 Feb. 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.

"All IssuesUp Arrow In This IssueDown Arrow Left ArrowPrevious Article Next ArticleRight Arrow The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine About This Journal... Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Multiple Sclerosis: Survey of Licensed Naturopaths." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web.

A Reflection on Autism Awareness Month

We're coming to the end of April, Autism Awareness Month. But have any of us become anymore aware? Do any of us know that 30% of people who live with disabilities live below the poverty line? This includes those who have autism spectrum disorder. Most people don't know that this condition is called Autism Spectrum Disorder for a reason. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.  Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD. While other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS)." Most of those who live with this condition are diagnosed at a younger age due to unusual behavior and the inability to meet miles stones such as talking by age two. There has been success in helping treat symptoms with therapy but like no person with Autism is the same, no treatment can be the same. Most of these catered services and therapies are not covered by insurance and can be too expensive for these individuals and their families to afford.

Plus One Foundation held an event geared towards individuals with ASD, it was our Free Art Care for Everyone Work Shop. This event allowed these people to express themselves in the company of one another through paint and arts and crafts at Seattle Pacific University. According to the American Art Therapy Association, "art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.” A lot of individuals that have autism lack the ability to speak or process language and verbal communication, but what they can do is process information visually. They record information through images and visual information. This makes expressing themselves through this way by using art is essential.

Art Workshop 1Art Workshop 2

Plus One Foundation will be hosting more Art, Pilates, and Melt workshops. We invite those who have autism or care for someone with ASD to join. For more information about these workshops and the opportunity to apply for one on one programs visit our website.

www.plusonefoundation.org

Why Plus One?

With Seattle’s GiveBIG tomorrow, a lot of people are being bombarded with emails and their Facebook newsfeed is overrun with news from all the non-profits in the Seattle area. Thinking about GiveBIG and all the non profits raised some questions for me. Considering there are more than 1,400 non-profits participating in GiveBIG, what is a non-profit? And how do you choose who to give to for GiveBIG?

 

This is what I found for a basic definition:

A nonprofit is a tax-exempt organization that serves the public interest. In general, the purpose of this type of organization must be charitable, educational, scientific, religious or literary. The public expects to be able to make donations to these organizations and deduct these donations from their federal taxes.

 

As I was going through the 1,400 non-profits I found some that I had never heard of and just stood out to me. Such as the Plumbers Without Borders, this is not to help plumbers as I originally thought when I read that but to help people suffering from the lack of access to safe water and sanitation. Another was the Grandmother Project which is an international development organization working to improve the health and well-being of women and children. And another is Urban Sparks, a nonprofit that enables high performance volunteer leaders to bring their vast talents to public projects. These are just some non-profits amongst over a thousand. So this raises the question to which non-profit should you donate to during GiveBIG?

 

Well Plus One, DUH! Who did you think I was going to say? The Plumbers?

 

I do have a reason as to why Plus One is deserving of your donations. Let’s look at what Plus One does. We fund grants to individuals with neurological disorders, injuries, or disease. There are over 600 different documented neurological disorders worldwide and this list is always growing. Now let’s compare our goal to some of the other the non-profits, such as the Northwest Parkinson Foundation or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  There is one thing in common between these two large neurological non-profits; they both focus on ONE neurological disorder. Plus One’s goal is to help everyone in the list of 600+ neurological disorders, not just a portion of it. Now here is another way to think about it, there are approximately 1 billion people worldwide who are affected by a neurological disorder. Compare this to Multiple Sclerosis which affects 2.5 million people worldwide. As you can see we have a lot more work on our hands than the MS Society.

 

So tomorrow when you get up and think “hmmm who should I donate to today, the Plumbers Without Borders? Or Plus One Foundation?” The answer is simple, Plus One Foundation, because we have a lot of work to get done and we cannot do all that work without your help. So please donate to Plus One Foundation for it is thanks to you that we can to work on our goal to help 1 billion people.

 

To check out more information about GiveBIG and to donate go to http://www.seattlefoundation.org/Pages/Default.aspx

Or to see the list of non-profits go to http://www.seattlefoundation.org/npos/Pages/FindANonprofit.aspx

 

Also no offense to the Plumbers! I’m sure you do amazing work too!