Thursday, January 29, 2015

VA Wants My Brain....and Yours ...

I'm participating in a brain research program at the local VA hospital - and may be you can too!
They're looking for people with a variety of experiences related to head trauma, such as being around when something explodes. They're especially looking for Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who were exposed to blast effects, even minor ones, but also for veterans who were not exposed to blast effects or whose exposure was long ago, athletes who had concussions back in high school. And then there's people like me: not a veteran, never concussed, nothing.
Someone has to be at the bottom, I suppose.
People like me with an interest in science, but not the training or (frankly) the inclination, can participate in valuable studies like this. Figuring out how even mild trauma can affect memory, mood and more is really important. Most of the study is noninvasive, consisting of a lot of verbal tests and a couple of MRIs, which I find restful - although there is one or two lumbar puncture. Now before you start screaming, I have to say that I've had these and they are nothing like the horror stories I heard as a kid, with power tools boring into your spine while you scream in agony. The needle used on me was about as thin as fishline, and the sensation was much like a bee-sting - annoying to be sure, and absolutely nothing I would seek out, but also nothing worth worrying about.
The part they didn't make clear in advance as "No sex for three days after." Bummer! But if that's not a problem, I'd suggest looking into volunteering for this. There's some compensation, roughly equal to minimum wage, plus they feed you and best of all, you get to do Science!
Call the Research Line at 206-277-5566!

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