Written by Julie Taylor
It’s long been suggested that healthy curiosity was a sign of intelligence in babies?
Immediately I imagine the hundreds of ‘normal’ looking people with significant behavioural deficits – people who’ve been brain injured – and wonder if this could help them?
Maybe we can’t expect the same level of regeneration because we are no longer at the beginning of life, when perhaps there is faster growth – or even more potential. But my hope is that compared to others who are also our age, those brain injured at the same age might benefit?
I hope – even believe – that the link between intelligence and curiosity would be valid.
Scientists at Toronto’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital found that when specific proteins in mice brains’ dentate gurus were increased, brain cells changed how they communicated with one another. The animals’ memory during complex tasks – and the level of exploratory behaviour – increased. However, when the proteins were blocked in this small brain region, curiosity and spatial memory decreased. Researchers say that they believe they’ve found a model for how brain activity leads to curiosity and that their findings, published in the journal ‘Neuron’ may lead to the development of drugs that improve human learning.
My hope is that this will also spill over into the re-learning necessary after brain injury – which includes the sometimes necessary damage caused by chemotherapy and other drugs in the treatment of disease…
Stimulate curiosity and the desire to learn. Find out what interests the brain injured person has and feed whatever areas those interests are in – however ‘appropriate’ they may be in terms of school. Enable the brain injured person to use Google and show them how they can find out more about whatever it is that interests them.
Brain injured people often realize that they are not interested in the same things that their peers are interested in and immediately come down hard on themselves for ‘not being the same’. So please embrace flexibility and be curious – both the brain injured and those who are ‘normal’ – and explore subjects that you might otherwise ignore.
I can’t say enough good things about this series of wonderful speech therapy books for adults who are higher functioning (but still need help) after their brain injury.
“What I Mean Is…” has been written by a qualified and innovative speech pathologist who sees patients every day that need this kind of help: help that until now wasn’t available. Hilary, along with her colleague Anita Kess, has successfully created and designed exercises that help put our language ‘back together’ again. All the pieces of our language are there, waiting… Waiting for this!
There are 2 books in the series for mild to moderate level language challenges – sometimes known as BRAIN FOG. And one book for more seriously affected asphasic patients. All of these books can be used by you – together with your local speech therapist. Your visitors, partner and the nurses in your own rehabilitation program can also use this book with you. Using “What I Mean Is…” results in a significantly higher level of satisfaction and reduced level of frustration in your daily use of language and in your own ReBuilding process.