October 25, 2015

Understanding a Klumpke Palsy Injury

by Levin & Perconti

Klumpke paralysis, or klumpke palsy, is a type of newborn injury known as brachial palsy. As explained by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the condition occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus are injured, due to stretching, tearing or scarring. This network of nerves extends from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers. Each one controls a specific movement or sensation in the arms or hands.

The injury occurs at birth as a result of improper delivery techniques by the doctor. It begins when the baby’s shoulder lodges behind the pubic bone of the mother during delivery. This situation creates an emergency situation where it is vital to the viability and health of the newborn to complete delivery. In response, your obstetrician may use a variety of methods, including:

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October 17, 2015

Another NFL Suicide Reveals CTE Diagnosis

by Levin & Perconti

The autopsy of a deceased National Football League athlete reveals some troubling news about his health and the toll that the game of football may have taken on his mind, as well as his body. As reported by ABC News, an autopsy of the former linebacker’s body revealed that he suffered from a degenerative brain disease.

Adrian Robinson, Jr. spent his life playing football. After playing at Temple University, he first entered the NFL in 2012, after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Over the next few years, he bounced around between a few teams before signing with the Canadian Football League in April of 2015. A month later, Robinson reportedly took his own life by hanging himself.

The results of an autopsy reportedly confirmed that Robinson had a brain injury called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Researchers reportedly state that the disease was likely caused by years of playing football, where he experienced numerous concussions and trauma to the head. According to the report, Robinson’s family has not filed any lawsuits in regards to his death. However, it was only a little over one year ago that the family of another deceased player sued the NFL regarding his suicide.

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October 8, 2015

Bike Helmet Use Significantly Reduces TBI Risk

by Levin & Perconti

When you think of bicycling, you probably think of children wobbling from side-to-side or families riding through a neighborhood park. Unfortunately, what may not immediately come to mind is the vital importance of wearing a helmet when bike riding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 48% of children between the ages of five and 14 wore adequate helmets when riding on their bicycles. Additionally, biking injuries resulted in more than half a million serious injuries and 800 deaths in 2010. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are among the common bike related injuries. From a fall on the street to a collision with a vehicle, the head should be protected when riding a bike.

A recent study published on Health.com researchers how well helmets protect cyclists from TBIs. The study involved 6,200 people who experienced a TBI after a biking accident, only 25% of which were wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. Researchers found that:

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September 27, 2015

Study Shows Prevalent CTE Among Football Players

by Levin & Perconti

Researchers find new evidence regarding the potential effects that the game of football has on the brain. As reported in the Chicago Tribune, a study conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs and Boston University shows an overwhelmingly large percentage of degenerative brain diseases among deceased National Football league (NFL) players.

The study included 165 post mortem brains, all of which were donated to the study by former players from the high school to the NFL level. Researchers examined the brains for known signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The reported findings were as follows:

***Of the 91 deceased NFL players examined, 87 showed signs of CTE

***Of the 165 total deceased players examined, 131 showed signs of CTE

***Of the deceased NFL players examined, 96% tested positive for a degenerative brain disease

***Of the total deceased players examined, 79% tested positive for a degenerative brain disease

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September 19, 2015

MRIs a Useful Tool in TBI Diagnosis

by Levin & Perconti

A new study is championing the benefits of a procedure that may lead to better treatment for brain injury patients in the military. According to an article in US News and World Report, brain imaging is proving helpful in the identification of microbleeding inside the brain, following a a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This condition can lead to additional complications, including stroke or swelling of the brain, so early diagnosis is extremely valuable.

Details of the Study

The study involved the examination of 603 military personnel, with previous TBI diagnoses. An average of 856 days passed between the onset of injury and the provision on an MRI. The participants were divided into injuries that occurred within the past three months and those that occurred more than three months prior.

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September 11, 2015

Vision Testing as a Tool for TBI Detection

by Levin & Perconti

Early detection of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is essential to proper treatment and prevention of further injury. Unfortunately, the condition, which is often called the “invisible injury”, often proves difficult to diagnose because the brain's complexity. For this reason, medical professionals generally rely on physical abnormalities as an indicator of brain injury. Particularly among sporting professionals, the search for adequate early detection techniques is continuous. According to a recent article by the NYU Langone Medical Center, researchers believe that vision testing may prove to be a valuable tool in the early detection of concussions.

Administration of the Test

Athletes are shown a series of numbers from reading cards and asked to name them as quickly as they can, while being timed. The test is given at the start of the season to establish a baseline score. During games, when a concussion is suspected, the athlete is given the same test on the sidelines. The results are then compared with the baseline scores. Slower times alert the coaching staff to the possibility of a concussion.

Researchers explain that vision tests are useful due to the connection between the brain and the ability to see. When brain injuries occur, the pathways are often disrupted and vision is impaired. Past studies have exemplified that decreased scores commonly occur in patients with neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

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September 2, 2015

Pursuing Civil Compensation Following a Vehicle Accident

by Levin & Perconti

Automobile accidents are among the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). This is due to the particularly violent nature of a car crash. The jolting of the head from the impact may cause the brain to move around inside of the skull, causing injury. There is also the risk that an object may penetrate the head and enter into the brain. When these accidents are caused by the illegal actions of others, the criminal justice system may ensure that they face the penalties required under law. However, a conviction does little to provide compensation for the vast monetary challenges that accompany a traumatic brain injury.

The New Haven Register is reporting about a woman who was sentenced to five years in prison, following a conviction for causing an accident that left a man with a TBI. As reported in the article, the alleged facts are as follows:

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August 10, 2015

Blood Test May Lead to TBI Diagnosis

by Levin & Perconti

As researchers and doctors continue searching for innovative methods of diagnosing and treating traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), there is optimism about a new test that not only detects the presence of TBI, but reportedly determines its level of severity as well. According to a report in Psych Central, a research study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma uses protein levels in the blood to diagnose TBIs and determine how severe the injury has become.

The Study Details

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August 4, 2015

PTSD and TBI Show Similar Symptoms

by Levin & Perconti

Members of the United States Armed Forces face challenges that most civilians find hard to even imagine. In addition to the risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that many face on the battlefields, these brave individuals often suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well. A recent report by Psych Central discusses a study to better understand the similarities between TBIs and PTSD, which often affect patients simultaneously.

What is a TBI?

The National institute of Health (NIH) defines a TBI as damage to the brain that is caused by an external force. The level of severity can range from a mild concussion to extensive loss of consciousness, amnesia and cognitive impairments.

What is PTSD?

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July 27, 2015

Researchers Report the Development of a TBI Treating Antibody

by Levin & Perconti

One of the numerous consequences of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease at a later stage of life. A recent study in Nature, the International Weekly Journal of Science, suggests that researchers have found the driving cause behind the greater risk, along with an antibody that blocks the process.

What Causes Alzheimer's Disease

As explained in the article, healthy tau proteins (trans P-tau) form scaffolding within nerve cells, which enables them to perform their correct duties. If the process works incorrectly, the resulting proteins are distorted (cis P-tau). They do not function properly, resulting in damage to the energy generators. This ultimately causes the cells to deteriorate and die.

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July 15, 2015

Money Talks - The Business of Brain Injury Research

by Levin & Perconti

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a serious problem in the modern medical landscape. From athletic concussions to military related battlefield injuries, doctors and scientists diligently search for new methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention. While no one doubts the importance of this work, the recent public interest in TBIs spawned what appears to be a lucrative business field. Makers of new inventions claim to understand concussion prevention, while physicians and researchers purport to have discovered new and effective treatment methods. A recent article in the New York Times is calling attention to this trend and asks whether these new innovations are truly worth their earnings.

Awareness about concussions and TBIs greatly increased over the past decade. This is due in part to very high profile lawsuits against the National Football League (NFL), as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As concern grew, the federal government began collaborating with several medical organizations to increase public awareness and research new treatment options.

Dr. David X. Cifu, is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who also works for the Veterans Affairs Department. He believes that this growth in government spending led to the increased research and suspicious claims. Cifu is quoted in the Times article as stating, “It was a small field that got amazingly large because a lot of people were making stuff up and claiming things.”

Military Spending

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July 9, 2015

Is Hyperbaric Treatment Really Effective to Treat TBIs

by Levin & Perconti

In the quest to adequately diagnose and respond to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), scientists and doctors have developed a variety of treatment options. Among those is the hyperbaric chamber, which provides pure oxygen to the patient. While many professionals believe in the effectiveness of these treatments on TBI patients, a recent article in The New York Times is raising questions about whether the hyperbaric chamber is truly providing any benefit.

How It Works

The Mayo Clinic, explains that hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by providing pure oxygen to patients while they are inside a pressurized environment. Doctors commonly use the treatment for wounds that are not healing correctly, along with various illnesses. The process begins with the patient's placement within an oxygen therapy chamber. Air pressure in the chamber is steadily raised to three times the normal levels. Patients breathe in large amounts of pure oxygen at pressures that even exceed those at sea level.

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