January 29, 2015

Military Researchers Consider a New Type of Brain Injury

by Levin & Perconti

Each year, thousands of people die from brain injuries or the complications they cause. The Centers for Disease Control characterize traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) as a serious public health issue, occurring at a rate of about 2.5 million incidents each year. They generally occur when the head is jolted or bumped violently, which commonly happens during sports play, car accidents or physical attacks. For victims that survive their injuries, certain brain functions may become permanently impaired. TBIs range in seriousness from mild concussions to severe episodes of unconsciousness. Though TBIs affect individuals in different ways, new research suggests that affected military personnel may suffer from a previously undiagnosed type of TBI.

USA Today is reporting about a recent study regarding young soldiers who died after being caught in violent wartime blasts. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied the brains of five deceased soldiers who died between the ages of 23 and 38. Each of the individuals were survivors of one or more combat blasts, but died some time later. When studying the patterns of the brains, researchers reportedly found lesions that differed from those normally seen in brain injury cases. According to the report, the physicians described honeycomb patterns of damage, spread across various areas of the brain.

Vassilis Koliatsos is professor of pathology, neurology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins. he co-authored the study and is quoted in the article as stating, "We saw a pattern that we had not seen before." He went on to explain that military troops have not been exposed to this level of repeated blasts since World War I, when the trenches where soldiers took cover were subjected to explosives and blasts repeatedly.

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January 22, 2015

More Information on Head Cooling to Treat Hypoxia

by Levin & Perconti

During birth, a lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to extensive developmental complications, including traumatic brain injuries and death. Crucial development occurs during the first stages of life and a healthy brain is essential to proper growth. A number of complications can lead to a lack of brain oxygen, or hypoxia in medical terms. The attending physician and medical staff should recognize the signs of hypoxia during or directly following the birth. When that occurs, certain treatments can lessen the extent of the injury and prevent further problems. Head cooling is one possible course of action and it is the subject of recent studies.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association investigated the best practices for head cooling treatments among infants. Head cooling occurs when the temperature of the brain is gradually cooled to a stage where its cells are at a resting point. After 72 hours, the cells are reportedly “woken up” without significant damage, which improves future neurodevelopment.

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January 14, 2015

Measuring the Brain's “Temperature” to Fight TBIs

by Levin & Perconti

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are common among military personnel, especially those involved in active duty. As reported by the website military.com, concussions are the most common combat related injuries. Violent blasts, falls and strikes to the head may all cause soldiers to experience concussions. These occurrences may be mild, with symptoms that only last a few minutes or hours. Median level concussions are the most common, with symptoms lasting a few months and a small percentage of soldiers experience the most serious TBIs, with symptoms that persist for months and even years. The US military actively works to prevent, diagnose and treat TBIs in the most effective an efficient manner possible. According to recent reports, the Army has a new tool in its fight against this serious condition.

Army Times is reporting that the Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment (DANA) is helping medics to more quickly diagnose the existence and seriousness of TBIs. With the assistance of a cellular phone application, information about a soldiers condition is instantly shared with other physicians, even if the soldier is on the battlefield. Here's how it works. The soldier is given a series of tests that are conducted like a video game. The testing can last anywhere from five to forty five minutes and measures the soldier's speed and accuracy when responding to the questions. The scores are then sent to a medical provider, who analyzes them for possible TBI indications. The army likens this to measuring the temperature of the brain, so DANA is commonly referred to as a "brain thermometer".

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January 10, 2015

Doctors Advise Less Rest for Teen TBI Patients

by Levin & Perconti

As concern continues to mount over teen concussions and brain injuries, a recent research study is giving advice that seems to contradict the norm. Concussions are mild forms of brain injury. When they occur, most physicians advocate for extended rest before a return to regular activities. Where opinions differ is the appropriate duration for that rest. While some doctors assert that a day or two is sufficient, others direct their teenage patients to remain inactive for up to a week. Some physicians even prescribe prolonged rest in a dark room. US News Health is reporting about a new research study, which suggests that longer resting periods may prove counterproductive to the healing of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin conducted the study involving 88 participants, aged 11 to 22, who recently suffered a concussion. Half of the participants were reportedly directed to rest for a period of two days before easing back into their normal daily routines. The other half were instructed to rest for five full day. During the rest period, the patients were instructed to refrain from school work, as well as any physical activity. According to the report, participants in both groups reported a 20% loss of mental and physical energy, leading researchers to conclude that extra days of rest were of little consequence.

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January 3, 2015

Researchers Improve Helmets to Prevent Brain Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

Concussions are common occurrences in the world of sports. Some athletes constantly experience hits to the head or violent jolts from bodily impacts. Football is one such sport, where players are required to perform in a manner that promotes the likelihood of traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurrences. The National Football League (NFL) is currently battling a class action lawsuit that accuses organization leaders of purposely withholding information about the dangers of TBIs. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) are also facing lawsuits filed by current and former players.

The website redorbit.com is reporting that researchers are looking at how helmets can better prevent head injuries for football players. Information presented during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, showed that current football helmets are inadequate at protecting players from concussions. When studies were completed to determine their usefulness, results reportedly showed that the frequency of brain injuries was only reduced by about 20 percent, when compared to players not wearing any helmet all. These statistics are prompting researchers to look for technological methods for safety improvement.

Protecting The Player

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December 24, 2014

Soldiers and Athletes Fights Brain Injuries Together

by Levin & Perconti

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are a major issue of concern within the medical community. These injuries can range from mild concussions to serious, debilitating conditions. The most common causes are falls, vehicle accidents and violent behaviors. Two professions rank high among the causes of TBIs. According to researchers, professional athletes and active duty military personnel experience brain injuries at significantly higher than normal rates.

Much has been done to address the issue of brain injuries among military soldiers, who are often impacted during active combat. Severe blows to the head, along with violent explosives leave these men and women with serious injuries. A recent report by ESPN discusses how military treatment efforts are now being expanded to include professional athletes, including members of the National Football League (NFL). Researchers hope that the new program will aid TBI recovery for both the participating soldiers and the athletes.

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December 19, 2014

Big Disappointment for TBI Treatment

by Levin & Perconti

The fight against traumatic brain injuries (TBI) took a disappointing blow recently, when a highly anticipated treatment showed no benefit for treatment. According to a report in Medscape Medical News, researchers were hopeful that the administration of progesterone immediately following a TBI would improve brain function and diminish long term effects. The prevalence of TBIs continues to grow within the United States, leading to deaths and long term disabilities. Researchers are diligently working to identify a viable treatment and previous studies led them to believe that progesterone was a strong possibility.

More than 200 laboratory studies have researched the administration of progesterone to treat brain injuries. Animal testing showed a reduction in cerebral edema, which is the accumulation of fluid within the spaces of the brain. The fluid retention causes the brain to swell, increasing pressure against the skull. When this occurs, blood flow can become restricted, leading to significant decreased functioning and possible death. Cerebral edema is a common condition among brain injury patients and a procedure to prevent or treat it would provide a major accomplishment in the fight against TBI damage.

The Study Details

Early phased human trials reportedly resulted in less fatalities and better functioning over time. This is what led to widespread excitement over the latest round of trials. According to the Medscape article, the first of two Phase Three trials were conducted in the following manner:

***Researchers expected to test 1140 patients with severe, moderate-to severe, or moderate acute TBIs.

***The average patient age was 35 years old

***Patients were randomly administered an intravenous dose of progesterone or placebo within 4 hours of the initial industry

***Doses were administered regularly for 96 hours after injury

The study was halted short of the anticipated 1140 enrollment number due to what the article characterized as “futility in achieving the primary outcome”. The reported outcomes included:

***When compared to the placebo group, the progesterone groups showed minimal significance

***The progesterone group also exhibited a higher rate of phlebitis, which is vein inflammation

A second Phase Three trial was also undertaken, including 1195 patients between the ages of 16 and 70 years old. Doses of progesterone and placebo were administered within 8 hours of injury, continuing for 120 hours. No significant improvement was exemplified in the progesterone-treated patients, when compared to the placebo group. According to the report, there was also little difference in the rate mortality between the groups.

Dr. W. Wright, who authored the study, characterized the study results as “a stunning disappointment.” He further stated, “ Over 200 positive published studies in multiple laboratories, two pilot clinical trials, prompted immense enthusiasm for this study to finally [offer a] breakthrough and provide a positive treatment for traumatic brain injury.”

If you or a loved suffers with a severe brain injury at the hands of another, contact the experienced attorneys today.

See Related Posts:

New Blood Test May Diagnose TBIs

The Facts: Brain Injuries and Female Athletes

December 12, 2014

New Blood Test May Diagnose TBIs

by Levin & Perconti

The diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) is a major health concern within the American medical community. According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, about 52,000 fatalities occur each year as a result of TBIs. In addition, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with TBI-related disabilities. The Foundation also reports that TBIs are associated with a significant increase in Alzheimer's disease risks. It is a serious problem that sends millions of injured individuals to the emergency room each year. Though there are numerous causes of TBIs, sports related injuries are among the most common. The problem is continuously growing, with increased incidents reported annually.

The severity of traumatic brain injuries makes early diagnosis even more vital. Towards that end, doctors and researchers are constantly looking for innovative methods to identify the condition at its earliest stage. A recent report in the Star Tribune discusses a new process of diagnosis that researchers find promising. They have reportedly spent decades searching for a blood test that adequately indicated the presence of a concussion, as well as its severity.

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December 5, 2014

The Facts: Brain Injuries and Female Athletes

by Levin & Perconti

Brain injuries are serious conditions, spanning from mild concussions to debilitating brain damage. Their recent prevalence in the media has called attention to the dangers of brain injury and the risk that is inherently involved in sports like football and boxing. The National Football is dealing with a major brain injury related lawsuit, as is the National Collegiate Athletic Association. But recent reports are highlighting the serious reality that brain injuries are not limited to males.

According to a report by NBC News, young women may be more likely to suffer from brain injuries than their male counterparts. Of the millions of concussions reported each year, at least a third of them are experienced by females. This is causing researchers to take a serious look into the dangers of female-dominated sports. Female soccer players reportedly have a 68 percent higher chance of developing a concussion than male soccer players. Among all sports played by both genders, females develop concussions twice as often.

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November 26, 2014

Brain Injuries Linked to Drug Use in Teens

by Levin & Perconti

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are linked to a variety of negative behaviors and circumstances. Studies have found connections between these conditions and the development of dementia, as well as incarceration rates. Researchers recently undertook a new study to examine a possible connection between traumatic head injuries and drug use. They concluded that teenagers with TBIs are between two and four times more likely to use illegal drugs than those with no history of brain injury.

The research was published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation and featured in an article by the medical website, Health Canal. The study reportedly examined drug use among more than 6,000 Canadian students in ninth through twelfth grades. Students were given a survey, which questioned them about their drug use and history of traumatic brain injury. For the purposes of the study, TBIs were reportedly defined as a strike to the head leading to a knockout of at least five minutes or a night in the hospital for treatment of side effects related to the brain injury. While the survey was able to document links between the two, it did not provide information about whether the drug use or TBI occurred first.

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November 21, 2014

Important TBI Legislation Passes the House

by Levin & Perconti

Advocates for the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are celebrating a victory with the passage of the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014 by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) made the announcement last week, stating that it is an accomplishment several years in the making. According to an NBC News report, the passage of the Act will mean continued federal funding for prevention and education, as well as research and treatment initiatives.

Susan Connors is President and CEO of BIAA. She is included in the article as stating, “The passage of this reauthorization of the TBI Act means that research relating to children with brain injuries will gain more attention. TBI prevention and surveillance programs at CDC will continue, as will the state grant program and protection and advocacy grant program currently administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).” She also added her appreciation grassroots TBI organizations, “without whom this would not have been possible.”

Under the legislation, the following authorizations would occur:

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November 14, 2014

Recognizing Traumatic Brain Injury Behaviors

by Levin & Perconti

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can manifest itself in a variety of ways, depending on the location of the injury inside of the brain. Each part of the brain controls a different emotion and/ or action and damage to an individual section can result in specific behaviors or inabilities to function. The following are common behaviors associated with specific TBIs.

The Frontal Lobe – The frontal lobe is the area of the brain behind the forehead. It is responsible for emotions and determines your individual personality. It also controls spontaneity and sexual behaviors. When the frontal lobe is injured, the individual may demonstrate changes in their social interactions and inhibitions. A high level of intolerance or overly aggressive behavior are also common with frontal lobe TBIs.

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