Articles Posted in Informational

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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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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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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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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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This week finally saw the end of the drawn out “government shutdown.” As many know, the shutdown itself was seemingly the result of certain members of the U.S. House of Representatives disagreement with the duly passed law known as the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Those members of the House sought to delay funding for any government operations–hence in the shutdown–unless the President and other agreed not to fund Obamacare. Naturally, President Obama refused to give into such demands. With the compromise bill passed this week, virtually nothing changes about the law and its roll out will continue.

It is important to understand how the ACA will affect medical care, particularly in the context of brain injuries.

The Law

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Picture this: A high-powered business executive and his assistant have just arrived in Chicago for a conference. They rent a car at O’Hare and head down the highway toward their downtown hotel. The pair cruise down I-94 at a good speed because traffic is relatively light. Then, out of nowhere a taxi cab slams into the side of their rental car. The pair’s vehicle is thrown hard right and collides nearly head-on with the concrete side wall on the highway.

Investigations show that the taxi driver was obviously negligent. He attempted to change lanes without paying attention, swerving without realizing that the pair’s car was next to his.

The executive and his assistant suffer very serious traumatic brain injuries in the car accident. Their airbags deployed, but that did not prevent their heads from colliding with the hard interior of the car. Both will requires month of surgery and rehabilitation, and their ultimate ability to regain full functioning is unclear.

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It is the million-dollar goal in traumatic brain injury (TBI) research: finding an actual treatment option to treat a TBI. As we have often discussed, with the brain remaining so mysterious, it is currently next to impossible to do anything about a TBI other than deal with the consequences as much as possible. Rehabilitation and therapy are the main tools available to TBI sufferers to get their lives back together after an accident.

Researchers have been working very hard to break through with actual treatment options that can minimize brain damage after the initial incident. If successful, these advances would be truly revolutionary, preventing significant deterioration and greatly improving the lives of those hurt in car accidents, falls, and many other incidents that frequently cause TBI.

Are Hormones the Answer?

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Traumatic brain injuries are caused by significant contact between the head and a hard surface. This much is well known by most. That naturally leads to the assumption that one important way to prevent head injuries is to promote the use of helmets. Of course, that is exactly what many advocates are urging on a wide variety of fronts–from bicycle helmets and motorcycle helmets to better designed football helmets.

Yet it is a mistake to assume that all we need is more helmet use to get rid of the TBI problem. In fact, researchers are still toiling away to figure out exactly how helpful helmets are–the results may surprise you.

Bike Helmet Study

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One community message is shared year after year around this time: the need to be careful while swimming. While most outdoor pools, lake, and rivers are still a bit too chilly in May for Illinois residents to use is mass, that will soon change. And considering the warm weather that is already upon us, many community members are already looking to beat the heat and get the summer started in full swing.

Obviously, use of various aquatic spaces is a staple of the warm months. For those in Chicago, Lake Michigan, with its myriad of beaches, is always there for a fun weekend treat or weekday break. Throughout the state there are lakes, rivers, ponds, community pools, apartment pools, water parks, and other spaces for all residents to enjoy a refreshing dip.

But every year there are too many families who end up suffering immensely as a result of swimming accidents. In most cases those hurt are our most vulnerable: young children.

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Last week we explained how March was being celebrated as “Brain Injury Awareness Month.” As with so many other public health and safety issues, raising awareness and educating about the issues is a critical step in addressing the problem and ultimately finding solutions to minimize the harm.

In honor of sharing information about these harms, an article in Take Part recently sought to dispel some misunderstandings about brain injuries. The headline itself is provocative: “What’s Really Causing Traumatic Brain Injury (Hint: It Isn’t Sports).” The main point that the author makes is that while sports-related TBIs have gained significant attention in recent years, they actually constitute a relatively small percentage of brain injuries. Car accidents and falls remain, far and away, the most common underlying cause of TBI.

The Basics