June 30, 2015

Children with TBIs Experience Increased Sleepiness

by Levin & Perconti

A recent article on Medpage Today is discussing the prevalence of sleep problems among children with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). According to the study, these youth experience higher rates of disturbed sleep patterns during the night, with increased sleepiness during the daytime hours.

The Study Details

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June 23, 2015

Domestic Violence Victims Suffer Silently with Brain Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

The prevalence of traumatic brain injuries within certain sports is well documented. News outlets are filled with stories about the National Football League player lawsuit, as well as legal actions against the National Collegiate Athletic Association and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. While these victims are front and center in the conscious of the public, some organizations are working to help a group of victims who often go unheard.

According to the Mayo Clinic, TBIs occur when an external force connects with the head, causing the brain to malfunction. The force is usually a blow to the head or a violent jolt. The symptoms of a TBI can range from a mild concussion to fatality. With most TBI patients, the injury causing force is obvious. A military veteran may have experienced a battlefield related injury. The body of a car crash victim probably jolted forcefully or his head may have hit some area of the car. For athletes, the physical contact of the sport can create a significant force. While all of these possibilities are openly and commonly discussed, the blow of a lover's hand to the head is not.

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June 15, 2015

Does Brain Injury Contribute to Domestic Violence?

by Levin & Perconti

Two of the country’s most controversial and concerning problems may be linked to one another, according to an article in Time. Researchers are asking whether traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) lead to violent behavior towards domestic partners. The article centers on Jovan Belcher, a professional football player who killed his girlfriend and himself in 2012. According to the report, approximately one year after his death, researchers exhumed his body to study his brain. It was reportedly determined that it was severely decomposed, which suggests that he suffered from some level of brain trauma during his life.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain malfunction that is often found in individuals who experience repetitive brain traumas, like athletes who suffer from regularly occurring concussions. According to experts, it develops from the buildup of an abnormal protein that causes the tissues of the brain to progressively degenerate. Though symptoms of the condition can appear during the lifetime of a patient, CTE is currently only diagnosable post-mortem. As reported in the article, Belcher’s brain showed collections of the abnormal protein in various sections.

Symptoms of CTE

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June 9, 2015

Sports-Related Brain Injuries - Rugby and TBI Dangers

by Levin & Perconti

The risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among football players and boxers is well documented and commonly discussed among medical professionals. But another sport is becoming part of this international conversation. A new study in the May edition of the Quarterly Journal of Medicine is examining the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries on rugby players. As reported on HealthDay, medical experts now believe that injuries related to this popular sport can lead degenerative brain disease later in life.

The study comes after the death of a rugby player who regularly played the game from the age of 20-years-old until 50-years-old. Upon his death at 57-years-old, the player was reportedly showing signs of brain injury. According to the report, the player suffered from numerous concussions and head injuries throughout his athletic career. The autopsy revealed a diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which reportedly develops in cases of repeated concussions.

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June 3, 2015

Helmet Sensors: A Useful Tool Against Concussions?

by Levin & Perconti

In the fight against traumatic brain injuries, technology is a major piece of the puzzle. Medical professionals work with engineers and designers to create equipment that better protects and treats these potentially fatal injuries. One of the latest technologies seems like a sure bet, but its implementation is causing concern for one of the largest sporting organizations in the world.

Sporting goods manufacturer Riddell introduced InSite in 2013. The sensors are placed inside of helmets and provide coaches with valuable information about blows sustained by players.

According to an article in Newsweek, the technology does the following:

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May 25, 2015

An Unusual Analysis of the Traumatic Brain Injury

by Levin & Perconti

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) contribute to an alarming number of deaths and permanent injuries every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 2.5 million people suffered from some type of TBI in 2010. Whether symptoms range from a seemingly harmless concussion to a loss of consciousness, medical professionals want the public to understand the potential risks of brain injuries and proactively work to prevent and/or treat them.

The Comparison

Towards that goal, an article in Brainerd Dispatch is explaining the medical ins and outs of brain injury in a unique way. Dr. Bruce Cunningham is making the comparison between TBIs and ankle sprains. He explains that the pain which often accompanies a sprain is “nature’s way of getting you to rest the injury so it can recover and reduce the chance of reinjury or a worse injury.” The signs of brain injury may include a persistent headache, blurred vision, nausea and an inability to focus. According to Cunningham, these symptoms are also designed to make you rest and recover from your injury.

Swelling is another common thread between the TBI and an ankle sprain. Both injuries are caused by an outward action. When the tissues of the ankle become damaged, internal bleeding may occur. In response, the brain reportedly releases fluids from other tissues in the area. Though the fluids are there to protect the area during healing, they also force you to immobilize the ankle. Swelling can also accompany a brain injury for similar reasons. However, unlike the ankle, which has freedom to expand outward, the brain in confined within the skull. Therefore, continuous swelling can lead to additional injury. In addition, completely switching off the brain is virtually impossible for a conscious human being, which complicates rest and recovery.

The article pointed out one other major difference between the two injuries, which exemplifies the seriousness of TBIs and their potential danger. With an ankle sprain, you can see the injury. You can visually tell when the swelling has subsided and the bruising is healed. This is not the case with a TBI, absent medical evaluations. For this reason, many TBI patients misdiagnose themselves and continue with their regular activities. They do not realize that their brain is not fully healed, and the possibility of injury recurrence is high.

Proper Care and Treatment

When TBIs occur, proper treatment is vitally important to ensure proper healing and minimize the potential for further injury. Patients should seek the assistance of a health care provider as quickly as possible, even if the only symptom is a headache or slight confusion. Left untreated, a brain injury can leave an individual with lifelong disabilities, or in the worst case, prove fatal.

If you or a loved is suffering with a severe brain injury at the hands of another, contact the experienced attorneys at Levin & Perconti.

May 19, 2015

TBIs May Contribute to PICA Condition

by Levin & Perconti

The effects of a traumatic brain injury can prove vast and far reaching. From cognitive disorders to emotional difficulties, injury to the brain can touch virtually every aspect of a patient’s life. As suggested in a medical study, this may also include the urge to eat substances that are dangerous to the body and seen by most people as extremely odd.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines Pica as an urge to eat non-food substances, such as laundry detergent or paper. It is reportedly more common in children than in adults, affecting about a third of all minors between the ages of 1 and 5 years old. Some of the most common materials ingested by people with this disorder include:

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May 7, 2015

WWE Faces Brain Injury Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is one of the most popular and profitable sporting ventures in the United States. On a weekly basis, millions of viewers tune in to watch their favorite wrestlers battle in the ring. The luckiest of fans get to see the matches in person, as the stars of the WWE travel across the country to give entertaining performances that are filled with body slams, kicks and jumps from the top rope. But the moves that are so beloved by fans may lead to long term brain injuries, as alleged by a lawsuit that was recently filed against the WWE.

Newsweek is reporting that three former wrestlers filed suit against the organization in California. Russ McCullough (a/k/a Big Russ McCullough), Ryan Sakoda and Matt Wiese (a/k/a Luther Reigns) are reportedly seeking damages, with claims that WWE officials purposely hid information regarding the potential dangers of traumatic brain injuries. The legal complaint states the organization “has for decades subjected its wrestlers to extreme physical brutality that it knew, or should have known, caused...latent conditions and long term irreversible bodily damage, including brain damage.” The former wrestlers also reportedly allege that they were forced to fight, even when suffering from concussions and other injuries.

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May 1, 2015

Study Finds Premature Aging from TBIs

by Levin & Perconti

When trauma affects the brain, the consequences can range from a temporary concussion to a lifetime of physical disabilities and neurological complications. While the prevalence of sports concussions is commonly reported in the news, researchers are also focusing on the long term affects of a traumatic injury on the brain. MedicineNet is reporting about a recent study, which suggests that premature aging of the brain is consequence of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The British study reportedly found that severely traumatized brains showed structural changes similar to those found in healthy older brains.

The Study Details

According to the report, study researchers examined the brain scans of 99 patients, suffering from TBIs. The causes of injury included automobile accidents, falls and physical assaults. The time of initial injury ranged from one month to more than 40 years, and each of the participants reported persistent neurological complications, even years later. The brain scans were then compared to scans taken from individuals with no history of TBI.

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April 24, 2015

Using Light Therapy to Treat Brain Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

In the ongoing fight to treat debilitating brain injuries, scientists may have identified a new and unexpected tool. According to the Science Blog, Gulf War veterans and other traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients are receiving innovative light treatments in hopes of improving brain function. The 30 minute procedure is reportedly painless and involves the application of infrared lights through the scalp of the head.

How the Treatment Works

Patients are reportedly given helmets containing diodes, which are electronic components that emit a current. These diodes send red lights and near-infrared lights through the head. Additionally, physicians place diodes into the patient’s nose for the purpose of reaching deeper regions within the brain. According to the report, MRI scans revealed that the light increased the flow of blood inside of the brain by causing an increase in the output of nitric oxide.

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April 16, 2015

Using Smell to Diagnose Brain Injury

by Levin & Perconti

The prevalence of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) is a continuous challenge for the United States military. The conditions that soldiers face in battle are conducive to mild and serious concussions, which left untreated, can evolve into lasting injuries to the brain. In response, researchers are constantly looking for productive methods of diagnosis and treatment, even in the chaotic heat of battle. Medscape is reporting about a possible new method of diagnosing brain injuries on the battlefield and it focuses on the sense of smell.

The Study Details

The study was reportedly conducted by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. It included 231 soldiers who were injured following battle explosions in Iraq or Afghanistan. All of the soldiers were immediately air lifted to Walter Reed Military Medical Center. Using the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT), physicians evaluated the soldiers for TBI. According to the report, the patients with mild or no brain injuries exemplified normal senses of smell. Soldiers with severe brain injuries were found to have olfactory impairment, meaning their sense of smell was abnormal.

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April 9, 2015

TBIs Fuel Premature Retirement from the NFL

by Levin & Perconti

Recent headlines are filled with stories about the dangers of traumatic brain injuries among players in the National Football League (NFL). The aggressive hitting that intrinsically accompanies the game creates an environment where players are at substantial risk for blows to the head. As players advance in age, the possible long term effects become obvious, leading to an abundance of legal actions against the league. A class action lawsuit alleges that NFL leaders purposely withheld information about the potential ramifications of multiple concussions and brain injuries. The two sides are currently finalizing a settlement agreement. In consideration of these findings and events, several players are making the decision to prematurely end their professional football careers.

The Boston Globe is reporting about Chris Borland, who is a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. At 24 years old, he announced his decision to leave the NFL after only one season of play. According to the article, his decision is based on concerns about about long lasting brain conditions. The significance of his actions stems from the fact that Borland is a member of the first generation of players to have full disclosure about the dangers of the game. Players are now armed with enough data, studies and personal experiences to make in informed decision about playing the game for an extended amount of time.

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