Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) impact millions of people in the United States every year, but here in the Roaring Fork Valley, the number is higher than the national average. When Allison Pattillo, The Aspen Times publisher, asked the audience at The Longevity Project event to raise their hands if they’ve had a brain injury, several hands rose.
Colorado ranks ninth in the country for TBI-related fatalities and 13th for TBI-related hospitalizations, according to Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado. A study from Craig Hospital estimates that Region 12 of Colorado, which consists of Pitkin, Eagle, Summit, Jackson and Grand counties, ranks No. 1 for TBIs when adjusted for the population.
For this reason, The Longevity Project, an annual campaign dedicated to educating readers on what it takes to live a long, healthy life in the high country, focused on brain health and injury.
On Thursday, The Longevity Project event was held at The Arts Campus at Willits and included panelists who are experts on brain health. The event and series was a joint campaign between The Aspen Times and Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
The panelists included Dr. Kathy Beauchamp, neurosurgeon at CU School of Medicine at Denver Health; Dr. Kerry Brega, neurosurgeon at CU School of Medicine Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center; Krista Fox, occupational therapist and certified brain injury specialist at Aspen Valley Hospital; and Dr. John Hughes, founder of Aspen Integrative Medicine. Lee Tuchfarber, founder and CEO of Renew Senior Communities, moderated the panel discussion.
The doctors discussed the topic of brain injuries broadly, sharing insights on how concussions are diagnosed, myths about brain injuries, the latest advancements in research, and how brain injuries are currently treated.