It’s All in Your Head

In the movie Memento, someone has murdered Leonard Shelby’s wife, and Shelby wants to find the killer. But he’s lost the ability to remember things — he literally can’t recall what’s happened one minute to the next. So he leaves himself notes. He takes Polaroids. He even self-administers a tattoo to help him remember what he’s done and still needs to do. Eventually he tracks back to the incident and the killer. The reason he can’t retain memories is that he suffered a head injury during the crime. This fictional — and highly dramatic — account is an accurate portrayal of one of the possible effects of traumatic brain injury. Claudia Osborn, a physician, wrote a book, Over My Head, about her experience after a 1988 bicycle crash. She describes how the most simple tasks — such as taking a bus across town to meet a friend — turn into a nightmarish scenarios in which she forgets what she’s doing while she’s doing it, and she can’t remember things such as how to get back home unless she writes herself a note to carry with her. If this information is new to you, that’s no surprise. Paula Daoutis of the Brain Injury Association of California says the effects of brain injury are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Today in the Walk for Thought, you can learn more and contribute to the association, which provides services to Californians living with brain injuries. The walk has two hard-packed gravel paths that go through Crissy Field and near the Golden Gate Bridge. The distance varies between one and two miles. There will be opening remarks, refreshments, and literature about brain injuries and their effects.
Sat., April 2, 9 a.m., 2011

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