Teratogens, Toxic Post-Natal Processes and TBIs: New Online Continuing Education (CE) Course from HealthForumOnline

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HealthForumOnline (HFO) adds a new online continuing education (CE) course, Teratogens, Toxic Post-Natal Processes and TBIs: The Silent Slaughters, to their library of over 100 online CE courses for mental health professionals and allied healthcare providers. This online CE course defines teratogens and elucidates the clinical implications of subtle TBIs regarding assessment and behavior management across patients in a variety of settings.

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Although their effects are varied, many of these teratogens can produce unseen, silent, subtle, unexpected, unacknowledged, unrecognized – yet potentially severe - damage to the brain of the developing fetus.

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) November 12, 2015 – HealthForumOnline (HFO) is pleased to announce a new online continuing education (CE) course entitled, Teratogens, Toxic Post-Natal Processes and TBIs: The Silent Slaughters, to its extensive library of over 100 online CE courses for mental health professionals. HFO, a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC) provider of convenient, cost-effective online continuing education (CE), is pleased to offer this important CE course for counselors, psychologists, social workers and allied healthcare providers, working in the traumatic brain injury (TBI) context.

According to the CDC, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. However, biological brain damage can be associated with chemicals that produce insults to the fetus inside the uterus (e.g., alcohol, illicit/prescription drugs, meconium stain) known collectively as ‘teratogens’ – derived from the Greek “monster producing” agents - and currently defined as “any agent that produces a birth defect” (1). Although their effects are varied, many of these teratogens can produce unseen, silent, subtle, unexpected, unacknowledged, unrecognized – yet potentially severe - damage to the brain of the developing fetus. Although teratogen exposure can be lethal, more often these prenatal brain assault(s) and their behavioral sequellae are so subtle as to go totally unnoticed by an external observer until the manifested behaviors appear ‘totally out of control’ later. It can be diagnosed in infancy with autistic-like deficits (e.g., failure to make eye contact), in early childhood (e.g., labeled ADHD or “learning disabled”), in adolescence (e.g., dx’d Conduct Disordered), or undetected even into full adulthood.

In addition, several other little-known, post-natal pathological processes can produce significant, if not severe, brain dysfunction and brain damage. These post-natal processes, which include febrile seizures and untreated jaundice, can result in even more subtle TBIs. It would appear then that together, teratogens and these post-natal events should be considered the lessor known etiologies for TBI. That is why this course is titled, in part, The Silent Slaughters.

Understanding this “silent slaughter” is important since TBI is a major health concern in the U.S. The CDC states that approximately 6 million persons, or 2% of the U.S. population, now lives with a TBI-related disability and an estimated 2.5 million new TBI cases are diagnosed annually. Unfortunately, since the CDC does not provide specific data on teratogen-related TBI or TBI related to post-natal toxic processes,the subtlety of the causes and effects of these brain traumas has left their epidemiology unquantified. However existing data on the baseline incidence of febrile seizures alone sheds some light on clinical relevancy. The NIH reports that approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure, and more than one-third of these children will have additional febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them, typically by age 5.

Despite our growing body of TBI-related literature, less is known about the “silent” sources of TBIs. Toward that end, this online CE course will turn its attention to the more subtle, cognitive and emotional damages produced by less obvious brain traumas resulting from physical or chemical insult in utero or post-natal toxicity in early childhood – helping clinicians to better understand the silent slaughter. This is imperative as providers can play a pivotal role in improving outcomes in TBI cases with respect to patients’ behavioral, emotional, and/or cognitive problems and subtle brain damage (2-4).

In addition to a basic review of these subtler TBIs, the course is intended to be a “translational” work, a bridge between research and applied clinical practice. To set the stage, the basic psychophysiology of the brain as it relates to teratogens and TBI is presented. Clinical assessment methods and instruments commonly used in this context are discussed and several case assessments illustrate symptom presentations and guide diagnosis. Lastly, the clinical implications of subtle TBIs are considered to help guide clinical care across a variety of settings.

1.    King, L. (2013). Experience Psychology, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill, NY, NY.
2.    Ross, P., Ponsford, J., Di Stefano, M., Spitz, G. (2015). Predictors of On Road Driver Assessment Performance following Traumatic Brain Injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96 (3), 440-446.
3.    GottsHall, K.R., & Sessoms, P.H. (2015). Improvements in dizziness and imbalance results from using a multi disciplinary and multi sensory approach to Vestibular Physical Therapy - a case study. Frontiers In Systems Neuroscience, 9, 106.
4.    Hammond, F.M., Barrett, R., Dijkers, M.P., Zanca, J.M., Horn, S.D., Smout, R.J., Guerrier, T., Hauser, E., & Dunning, M.R. (2015). Group Therapy Use and Its Impact on the Outcomes of Inpatient Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury: Data From Traumatic Brain Injury-Practice Based Evidence Project. Archives Of Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation, 96 (8 Suppl), S282-S292.e5.

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Michelle Rodoletz, Ph.D.
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