Could You Have A Brain Injury & Not Know It? with Dr. Kabran Chapek

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

With a growing database of over 150,000 brain scans, one of the biggest lessons Dr. Daniel Amen has learned in his work is that mild traumatic brain injuries can destroy lives, and people don’t even recognize it. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Amen and his wife Tana are joined by “Concussion Rescue” author Kabran Chapek of a discussion on how these brain injuries can occur, and why people tend to overlook them.

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Dr Daniel Amen: We are going to start your new year, your new decade off with a bang. Tana and I are going to do a six-week live class. Starting January 21st, every Tuesday we're going to be with you for an hour and at the end we're going to give away over $20,000 in prizes. We look forward to helping you kick off this new year by becoming brain health revolutionaries. Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by brainMD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome everyone to a very special week of The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. We have my friend and also colleague at Amen clinics, Dr. Kabran Chapek who is one of our staff physicians at Amen Clinics Northwest in Bellevue, Washington. He has worked with us, my goodness for the last six years. He's a graduate of Bastyr University. He's an expert in the use of functional and integrative treatments, collaborates extensively with the 40 physicians we have at Amen Clinics. He has a special interest in the assessment and treatment of Alzheimer's and dementia, traumatic brain injuries, which we're going to talk about, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders. He's the founding president of the Psychiatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians. He has a brand new book that I'm so excited about and wrote the introduction to, called Concussion Rescue, which is going to be released January 28th. It's going to be available everywhere. Welcome Kabran. What a joy ...
Tana Amen: Yes. Thank you for being here.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... to have you on The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr Kabran Chapek: Oh, my pleasure. I'm excited to talk with you both.
Dr Daniel Amen: 40% of the patients who come to Amen Clinics have had a significant brain injury at some point in the past. It's a staggering number. I actually think it's one of the epidemics driving the rise of mental health challenges in America. Why Concussion Rescue? Why did you write this book?
Dr Kabran Chapek: Daniel, I wrote this book because there's so many people who need help. Like you said, it's a silent epidemic and there's those who have had concussions and they're not getting better. The assumption is you have a concussion, you get better, but not everyone does and that's why they come to see us. Not everyone can come and see us. They need help. That's one set of people who need the book and they need the help. The second set are those who have some other mental health issue or neurological condition that maybe have memory problems and they're not getting better and they can't figure out why and it actually may be due to a past concussion. We see these. Like you said, four out of 10 people come in to see us and they have had some issue and then we scan them and we find out they have actually had brain injury as part of their ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah. When I first started ... Actually when you and I first started dating, I scanned you. I mean that was just absolute prerequisite before I completely fell in love with you. I was very taken with you ...
Tana Amen: Best line ever.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... right away, but I had to see your brain and we could see in the left side of your brain it had been hurt. I asked you, did you ever have a concussion?
Tana Amen: I am a neurosurgical ICU nurse. That means coma, brain drain, that's a head injury.
Dr Kabran Chapek: Right, so often ...
Dr Daniel Amen: And you said no. What I've learned from looking at all these scans over the last three decades is, well, are you sure? Have you ever fallen out of a tree, fell off a fence, dove into a shallow pool, been in a car accident and what did you say?
Tana Amen: Yes. My sister fell asleep at the wheel going 75 miles an hour, rolled the car two and a half times. Yeah. And I thought because I essentially walked away from it without being hospitalized, never lost consciousness, that I was fine.
Dr Daniel Amen: And you were how old when that happened?
Tana Amen: 25.
Dr Daniel Amen: This was after the cancer diagnosis?
Tana Amen: Yeah, after all of that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Prozac and all of that.
Tana Amen: But what's you're saying makes me think of a really good point with your book, Dr. Kabran, is that so many people don't really understand what brain injuries are. We just did a podcast and we scanned Chris Browning, who's a very successful actor who did heroin once for six years and ended up homeless. When I first asked him if he ever had a head injury, he said no. As he begins telling me his story, I'm like, you need to write a book. His story is insane. The number of times that he's been knocked out, literally knocked out, one time overnight, was unconscious and didn't think of it as a brain injury. How is it possible that we are so uneducated still? Which I'm assuming is what you're trying to help with with your book, but I think we don't know.
Dr Daniel Amen: How do people get head injuries? What are some of the most common causes of brain injuries, head injury? I mean it's the same thing, concussion. Concussion just means you hit your head really hard and it had an effect.
Dr Kabran Chapek: Right, exactly. A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. It's more mild, but it's still a traumatic brain injury. It can happen from a hit or a jolt to the head, even whiplash. It's horrible. But we think shaken baby syndrome. I mean that's jostling the fragile brain. I've learned from you the brain is so soft. It's as the soft as butter. The skull is hard as a rock and it can be damaged. Also from our veterans who have blast injuries, that concussive force will completely penetrate the skull and the brain and damage the soft, soft brain.
Dr Daniel Amen: I want you, if you're listening at home or in your car, wherever you are, I want you as we go through different age groups and the kinds of head injuries that are common, I just want you to ask yourself, have you never had a brain injury? You mentioned shaken baby syndrome and I have a granddaughter I'm completely in love with who's so busy, just like her mother. There's so many different ways Haven can get a head injury.
Tana Amen: I almost watched her do it, like five times in an hour. It's crazy. You have to have your eyes her.
Dr Daniel Amen: Going down a flight of stairs to tripping over something to irritating the dog. The dog hits her and knocks her down, to being so wiggly on the changing table, falling off, to being irritating. And I'm not saying she's irritating because she's not. She's great.
Tana Amen: To us she's not.
Dr Daniel Amen: To an impulsive parent when you have a hyperactive child, you may shake them or hit them just because of your high level of frustration. This is just for hyperactive infants.
Dr Kabran Chapek: Yeah, right.
Dr Daniel Amen: And so falls ...
Tana Amen: Let's start to get into teenagers.
Dr Daniel Amen: Riding your bicycle and people think helmets protect the brain. They don't. They protect the skull. They protect the skull from being fractured, but inside your skull ... Your skull actually has sharp bony ridges. God and I have had this discussion about why didn't you put bumper guards on those sharp ridges? And he told me, "I didn't know they'd let kids hit soccer balls with their head. That's stupid."
Dr Kabran Chapek: That's right. You don't have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. That's another myth people think. Or if they haven't gone to the ER, oh I wouldn't have had a concussion, but a fall off a horse, diving into a shallow pool. We try and ask patients 10 times because we minimize it. Or if you didn't lose consciousness, it wasn't concussion. There's amnesia around head injuries they often forget. Also there's sometimes distance. I had a pastor who came in. He had a car accident, thought he was fine, got checked out at the ER. No brain bleed. Then two weeks later he couldn't write his sermon. He was completely confused. We know that when there's an injury, there's that immediate damage to the vessels and some swelling, but then there's secondary injury where there's a chronic inflammatory state. It's like a fire that hasn't been put out but continues to smolder for months and sometimes years. That's what I'd like to help people figure out that this inflammation can be quenched and the brain can heal even if it's been ...
Dr Daniel Amen: All right. Have you had a brain injury? Or, if someone is suffering in your family that you're worried and that's why you're listening to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, it's just so important to know if it's true because we can rehabilitate it. I think that's the most exciting thing that you've seen and that I've seen, which is why we did the big NFL study, high levels of damage. It's like, stop lying about it. But rehabilitate them and that's what we are going to start talking about in the next podcast, so stay with us. We're with Dr. Kabran Chapek, the author of the new book Concussion Rescue. If you really want to know the method of how we treat traumatic brain injury and concussions at Amen Clinics, this is a great resource. It's a great book to pick up. Kabran also is going to have a new course at Amen University called Concussion Rescue ...
Tana Amen: Oh, I love that.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... that we're really ...
Tana Amen: Oh, that's great.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... excited about. If you want to get into the deep end of the pool, stay with us.
Tana Amen: That's fantastic.
Dr Daniel Amen: We'll send out a notice of when the course ... It's already recorded, but when it will be released. Stay with us.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode. While you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from brainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at or a 10% discount on all supplements at For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.