Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot point-blank in the head three months ago. This week, the Arizona congresswoman traveled to Cape Canaveral to watch her astronaut husband, Commander Mark Kelly, begin a 16-day mission aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. Rep. Giffords, who has been called “America’s best-known traumatic brain injury patient,” watched the launch of final mission of the shuttle from a wheelchair, remarking to her staff, “Good stuff, good stuff” from her observation point on the roof of the launch control center.
NPR radio Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan referenced Gabrielle’s remarkable recovery in his May 16th program, then went on to explore some of the issues surrounding recovery from traumatic brain injuries. His first guest on the program was John Keller, who survived a motorcycle accident that left him in a coma for 344 days. Today John says he’s pretty much back to “normal” and credits LearningRx, an international brain training company, with his turnaround.
John says he tried brain training games from various companies, but that he was “stuck.” It wasn’t until his sister told him about LearningRx—and he began to work one-on-one with a LearningRx brain trainer—that he was able to get past the “wall” he says he had hit in his recovery process. (Listen to the interview).
LearningRx is recognized for the tremendous gains experienced by traumatic brain injury survivors who have undergone the company’s brain training programs. Just as physical therapy retrains the muscles, brain training retrains the brain after severe traumas such as that suffered by Rep. Giffords.
In fact, the company—which also helps children and adults with Autism, dyslexia, ADHD and learning struggles—recently partnered with the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs to provide brain training for 15 soldiers with TBI. The soldiers were suffering from memory loss, poor concentration and disorganized thinking as a result of their injuries. The program resulted in significant improvements in seven areas of cognitive functioning, alleviating many symptoms. After participating in the program, one soldier expressed his heartfelt thanks to LearningRx, “Thank you for being a bright light in a dark place.” (See the program results).
Brain training is based on the scientifically-recognized principle of neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain’s life-long ability to strengthen, re-route and even create neural connections. This ability of the brain to “rewire” itself, so to speak, can be triggered by specific mental exercises and one-on-one coaching by a trainer, making brain training a remarkable—and increasingly recognized—treatment for victims of traumatic brain injuries and even strokes. John Keller says that LearningRx brain training programs were “amazing” and “a lifesaver.”
Rep. Giffords continues to receive several hours of speech, physical and occupational therapy every day. She has regained her speech and can walk with assistance, doctors say. Her recovery thus far has been called “miraculous,” and a nation celebrates with her this week as she travels home from her trip to Cape Canaveral to continue her recovery at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston.
As Endeavor embarks on its 25th and final journey into space, having circled the earth 4500 times and logged more than 116 million miles in space, Rep. Giffords continues to see landmarks in her own heroic journey, and a nation wishes her Godspeed.