Now, Jimmy can eat again!
When Jimmy Johansson from Sala was 25 years old he was involved in a serious motorbike crash and received a serious brain injury. Today he is in a wheelchair and depends on his assistants for care around the clock. One of his assistants, Andreas Björkfall, says that it is not known how widespread Jimmy’s brain injury is, as it has not been properly investigated. What is known is that Jimmy’s left side of his body is slack, uncontrollable and spastic, while the right is more controllable. Jimmy also suffers with epilepsy and lost speech skills.
Jimmy can communicate with his surroundings by using his eyes, grunting sounds and hand signals - where his thumb means yes and the other three fingers no. There is nothing wrong with his intellect and humour says his assistant Andreas Björkfall.
My job with Jimmy is everything to me. He’s full of fun, a wind-up merchant with a wicked sense of humour. A day with Jimmy can be just one long laugh, says Andreas.
Because of the left-sided paralysis, the left side of the face has not developed at the same rate. The musculature has been weak, which means that Jimmy has suffered with swallowing difficulties and drooling problems. There has been countless times when he has swallowed incorrectly and it has come back up. Several swallow x-rays have shown delayed swallowing reflexes, which explains the tense meal situations where Jimmy has hamstered food in one cheek. Since the accident, it has been liquid food that has applied, as well as long periods of tube feeding.
Last summer when Jimmy suffered from a severe pulmonary inflammation, doctors felt that tube feeding through his ’button’ in his stomach should be more permanent. Although the assistant team could continue to give taste portions, the doctors’ decision surprised all in Jimmy’s surroundings.
- It felt so tragic in some ways. Jimmy had actually got back his swallowing ability through a training method straight after the accident. Therefore, we wondered if it would not be possible to rehabilitate his swallowing function again. The earlier method was very painful and is not allowed any more, but it showed that the musculature can be influenced, says Andreas.
With this background, the assistants started searching for alternatives via the internet. Finally they googled their way to the oral screen IQoro, and saw that the treatment method was very effective for swallowing difficulties. Uncertain if it also worked on people with acquired brain injuries, the assistants called up MYoroface and talked to their medical officer.
It has now been three months since Jimmy Johansson in Sala began training with IQoro, and both Jimmy and people in his immediate surroundings have already noticed results.
- It has gone beyond expectations! Although he has time left of the recommended treatment time, both his jaw and facial muscles have become stronger. His face is more symmetrical and Jimmy doesn’t hamster food in his left cheek anymore. Both the swallow and chewing functions have been activated and he can eat much easier. Meal times go much faster. For a time - before a break from training because of a cold - his drooling disappeared totally. It was awesome, says Andreas Björkfall.
A problem for continued success is that Jimmy has never been fond of facial touch and because he is dependent on his assistants’ help it can be a bit tricky.
- In addition, his jaw muscles have become so strong that he sometimes refuses to open or close his mouth during exercise. Then it’s over for that training time. But via MYoroface we received tips, about a special facial massage that facilitates the exercises and Jimmy usually agrees to this.
Everyone around Jimmy is happy about the positive development, as well as Jimmy himself. Any retained ability for a disabled person is worth its weight in gold.
- We would like to tell Jimmy’s story. Hopefully it can help to give hope to others in the same situation, says Andreas Björkfall.
Our son Petter Falk was involved in a serious car accident in 1997 and suffered a severe brain injury. He was then 21 years old. After the accident, Petter had difficulty closing his mouth, eating and talking. Through the years we have tried various forms of physical therapy and massage. Several exercises have been successful, but only as long as they lasted. They have not given any lasting changes.
We acquired IQoro in June 2014 and Petter says himself that he has not experienced any improvements, but we who are around him have noted the changes. We can see that his face has become more symmetrical, that he made progress in his speech and that meal times are easier. As the accident occurred so many years ago, we believe it will take a long time to get lasting results. But we are hopeful, especially if Petter continues with the exercises.”
Anders Falk, Father of Petter Falk 39 years old, Uppsala, acquired brain damage.
Christina’s progress gives hope for people with acquired brain injuries
It’s been over six years since the “Uppdrag Gransknings” acclaimed feature about Christina Hedlunds failed breast surgery in Poland that led to a serious brain injury. Today, Christina lives with her mother, Ann-Katrin Berggren, who tirelessly fights for Christina’s right to adequate rehabilitation and legal retribution. In her rehabilitation, the neuromuscular treatment IQoro has had more significance.
It is SVT News Skåne that has met Christina Hedlund and her mother just before Christmas for a follow-up of how her situation is today. The film segment tells about several positive developments.
- It has been a six year long nightmare, but now four of the doctors involved have finally been sentenced to imprisonment.
Apart from the purely legal retribution, Ann-Katrin and Christina’s speech and language therapist Carina Bouaziz testify about Christina’s progress. The neuromuscular treatment IQoro in combination with other rehabilitation has given results.
- The mouth screen works very well. It strengthens the muscles in the mouth, the pharynx and in fact even down to the stomach. I notice how Christina participates more and more when we train, says speech and language therapist Carina Bouaziz.
She gets backed up by Ann-Katrin Berggren, who works as a doctor herself.
- There is generally a big black hole around knowledge of the mouth and the throat’s significance for the rehabilitation of brain damaged persons. I have learned along the way what significance this has for people with acquired brain injuries.
She tells her how the daughter makes some small progress all the time. Everything from beginning to swallow by herself and being able to watch tv and communicate. Christina responds to her mother’s questions with long humming, it is as if she herself has a picture that she actually uses sentences.
- Single words like yes, no and Mamma have begun to come, says Ann-Katrin.
According to the treating speech and language therapist Carina Bouaziz they are just about to increase the IQoro training to 3 times a day, which is the recommended training amount per day. That in combination with other rehabilitation methods makes the future look brighter than before.
- I hope and believe that this is just the beginning, says Ann-Katrin Berggren to SVT News Skåne.
See the article about Christina in (Swedish) here: