Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Molly in recovery

Molly Meldrum

Molly's letter

Molly Meldrum, the well known TV personality who suffered a severe head injury after a fall on 15 December last year, appears to be recovering well. He has written an open letter expressing his thanks for the attention and well-wishes he received after his fall.

Part of the letter is reproduced on this news site

Molly said: "My life changed forever when I fell off the roof".

"I can't say my life flashed before my eyes, but I have had plenty of time to reflect in the past few weeks, and I realise just how lucky I am".

"I wish I could reply to all the cards and messages, but it's impossible - it would take all year and I'd never get my book finished!" he wrote.

The letter comes not long after the recording of an interview by journalist Jennifer Keyte which will air on Today Tonight. It will make fascinating viewing.

Prognosis and recovery

Molly appears to be making a good recovery from his head injury, particularly given his age (66) and the severity of his injury. He appears to be alert and very articulate.

However, an article on reveals that he also tires easily, becomes stressed under pressure and is walking slowly.

These are common outcomes of head injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Depending on many factors, including the severity of the TBI and the part of the brain affected, slowed processing, fatigue and difficulties managing stress are to be expected following a TBI. These can be short or long term effects. Again, depending on a number of factors, many skills are also often retained. These tend to be those skills that have been well practised, such as literacy skills.

The human brain is complex, as are the outcomes of TBI. To learn more about how the outcomes of TBI can be assessed, please contact us

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Teenagers, sleep and brain changes

Adolescents are renowned for their ability to sleep and for their erratic behaviour.

A recent study examining adolescent brain activity during sleep reveals what is happening in the brains of adolescents (that may help explain their behaviour!).

The study, led by Dr Ian Campbell and Prof Irwin Feinberg at the University of California, involved 67 adolescents. The researchers took electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings of their brainwaves while sleeping. They found that there was a 60% drop in the activity of delta waves in the brain as the children moved through puberty, particularly between the ages of 12 and 16 years. Delta waves occur during non-rapid eye movement sleep, the phase of sleep where the brain recuperates from its activity during the day.

Changes in brainwaves indicate that pruning of brain cells occurs at this time. As discussed in our earlier blog, Neuroplasticity in Children, pruning involves brain cells and the connections between them being removed, leading to changes in brain efficiency.

Another researcher, Prof Mick Hunter of the University of Newcastle, stated that "People don't realise what massive changes occur in adolescence in a very short period of time. There are so many changes - physiologically, mentally and socially". These changes appear to be interdependent.

These findings may have implications for the study of mental illness such as schizophrenia. It may be that errors that occur during the rapid process of brain reorganisation at the end of adolescence give rise to mental illness.

Mental illness can be associated with cognitive difficulties. To learn more about the relationship between mental illness and cognition, contact us.