Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

Did You Know That The Brain Handles Reading and Writing Separately?

Posted in Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Las Vegas Motorcycle Attorney, Las Vegas Negligent or Inadequate Security Attorney, Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney, Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Man Catches Fish

Did You Know That The Brain Handles Reading and Writing Separately?

It’s true.  Although the human ability to write evolved from our ability to speak, writing and talking are now such independent systems in the brain that someone who can’t write a grammatically correct sentence may be able say it aloud flawlessly.

In a paper published in the journal Psychological Science, a research team found it’s possible to damage the speaking part of the brain but leave the writing part unaffected — and vice versa — even when dealing with morphemes, the tiniest meaningful components of the language system including suffixes like “er,” “ing” and “ed.”

So a person can say, “The man is catching a fish.” The same person then takes pen to paper and writes, “The men is catches a fish.”

Amazingly the Brain treats writing and speaking in different areas.  If one part is injured, the other may not be.  When that happens you have these differences in communication.

 

Traumatic Brain Injury Leads to Road Rage

Posted in Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney, Personal Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Did you know that Traumatic Brain Injury has been shown to Lead to Road Rage?

According to a new study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, Ontario adult drivers who say they have experienced at least one traumatic brain injury in their lifetime also report significantly higher incidents of serious road-related driving aggression, said a new study. Serious driver aggression includes: making threats to hurt a fellow driver, passenger or vehicle. These individuals also reported significantly higher odds of being involved in a motor vehicle collision that resulted in hurting themselves, their passenger or their vehicle.

This may be due to increased irritability and lack of patience for those suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury.  All too often the inability to process normally information, a typical sign, symptom or consequence of traumatic brain injury, leads to aggression and hostility.  These issues can best be dealt with by a medical provider familiar with the problems we see in traumatically brain injured people.

Depression and Dementia

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Depression

Depression

In practice, I find that many of my clients with traumatic brain injury experience new or worse onset of depression.  The research suggests that this may be a precursor to dementia later in life.

A new study by neuropsychiatric researchers at Rush University Medical Center gives insight into the relationship between depression and dementia. The study is published in the July 30, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Studies have shown that people with symptoms of depression are more likely to develop dementia, but we haven’t known how the relationship works,” said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, neuropsychiatrist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center and lead study investigator. “Is the depression a consequence of the dementia? Do both problems develop from the same underlying problems in the brain? Or does the relationship of depression with dementia have nothing to do with dementia-related pathology?”

The current study indicates that the association of depression with dementia is independent of dementia-related brain changes. “These findings are exciting because they suggest depression truly is a risk factor for dementia, and if we can target and prevent or treat depression and causes of stress we may have the potential to help people maintain their thinking and memory abilities into old age,” Wilson said.

 

Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update for May 2015

Posted in Legislation, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The Brain Injury Association of America asked me to share this May 2015 Legislative Update.  Here it is:

National Institutes of Health Caucus formed in the United States Senate

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the new National Institutes of Health (NIH) caucus. The Senators will co-chair the caucus and it will focus on bolstering support for federal research and to find a way to fund it. The NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins and other researchers participated in the dedication ceremony this week. Since 2003, NIH has lost 25 percent of its purchasing power which the senators attribute to sequestration and flat budgets.

The 21st Century Cures bill in the House which was marked out of the Energy and Commerce Committee this week includes $10 billion for NIH. The nonpartisan legislation will help to modernize and personalize health care, encourage greater innovation, support research, and streamline the system to deliver better, faster cures to more patients. To learn more about TBI work at NIH click here. To learn more about the 21st Century Cures Act click here.

Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the National

Institutes of Health Act

BIAA along with the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC) is working to increase support for S. 800, a bill to enhance the stature and visibility of medical rehabilitation research at NIH. This legislation would specifically:

  • Clarifies the Respective Roles of the NCMRR Director, the Director of the Institute and the Director of NIH Regarding the Research Plan. The bills place the key subject matter expert (i.e., the NCMRR Director) at the helm of the Research Plan for conducting medical rehabilitation research at NIH while making it clear that the Director of the Center is exercising this authority on behalf of the Director of NIH and the Director of the Institute and in consultation with the Medical Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee (coordinating committee) and the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation (advisory board) established by statute.
  • Updates the Trans-NIH Rehabilitation Research Plan.  The bills specify that the Research Plan must include objectives, benchmarks, and guiding principles regarding the conduct, support, and coordination of medical rehabilitation research at NIH, consistent with the purpose of the Center. The Research Plan should be updated periodically or not less than every five years.
  • Adds an Annual Rehabilitation Research Progress Report.  The bills specify that the Director of NCMRR, in consultation with the Director of the Institute, must prepare an annual report for the coordinating committee and the advisory board describing and evaluating the progress made during the preceding fiscal year in achieving objectives, benchmarks, and guiding principles included in the Research Plan. In preparing the report, the Director of the Center and the Director of the Institute must consult with the Director of NIH and the report must reflect an assessment of the Research Plan by the Director of NIH.
  • Adds a Scientific Conference or Workshop on Medical Rehabilitation Research.  The bills specify that the coordinating committee periodically, or not less than every 5 years, host a “scientific conference or workshop on medical rehabilitation research” in connection with updating of the Trans-NIH Medical Rehabilitation Research Plan.  This policy ensures periodic review of the state of medical rehabilitation science and outreach to the research community in connection with revisions of the Research Plan.
  • Improving Stature of Medical Rehabilitation Science.  The bills specify that the coordinating committee includes the Director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director of NIH and the coordinating committee is chaired by the Director of the Center, acting in the capacity of a designee of the Director of NIH.  This policy is intended to maximize the likelihood that the trans-NIH nature of medical rehabilitation research is realized.
  • Clarifies Funding Among NIH Agencies. The bills specify that the Director of the Center, in consultation with the Director of the Institute, the coordinating committee, and the advisory board, must develop guidelines governing the funding of medical rehabilitation research by the Center and other agencies of the NIH. These guidelines should ensure that funding initiatives reflect the purposes of the Center and are consistent with the Research Plan. This policy is intended to establish funding grant procedures that focus on a common understanding of medical rehabilitation research needs.
  • Includes a Definition of Medical Rehabilitation Research.  Because current law does not include a definition of the term “medical rehabilitation research,” the bills specify a definition of this term as: “The science of mechanisms and interventions that prevent, improve, restore, or replace lost, underdeveloped, or deteriorating function (defined at the level of impairment, activity, and participation according to the World Health Organization in the International Classification of Function, Disability, and Health (2001).”  This definition is consistent with the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations and would facilitate a consistent understanding of medical rehabilitation science at NIH.

BIAA, along with 21 other DRRC organizations sent a letter of support to Congress urging the passage of S. 800.

White House Names Disability Public Engagement Representative

The White House announced this week Maria Town is the new Disability Public Engagement Representative and she will be in this position until the end of President Obama’s Administration. Ms. Town will serve as Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement in the White House.

Maria has been involved in the Disability Rights movement for many years and has worked in the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in the Department of Labor. You can follow Ms. Town on Twitter: @maria_m_town

 

Preserving Rehabilitation Innovation Centers Act of 2015 Introduced

This week, Congressman Pete Olson of Texas introduced the Preserving Rehabilitation Innovation Centers Act of 2015. This legislation would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to preserve access to rehabilitation innovation centers under the Medicare program. To read the text of this legislation click here.

From Traumatic Brain Injury to Savant

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, Books, Articles, and Literature, Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Las Vegas Motorcycle Attorney, Las Vegas Negligent or Inadequate Security Attorney, Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney, Personal Injury

I post blog items and information I come across regarding Traumatic Brain Injury.  While reading professional journals, articles, and Scientific literature, I share things of interest.  One of those topics includes the unique and rare situation where a concussion actually causes the brain to exhibit genius level processing.  (Of course that does not take away from the other negative signs, symptoms, and consequences of traumatic brain injury) Think of the popular movie Rainman: being cognitively impaired while displaying the ability to count a dropped and scattered box of toothpicks on the floor.  A concussion or stroke does not usually enhance cognitive ability.

Darold Treffert, a physician who has studied savantism for many years, has chronicled the ways that people with no artistic interest or talent can suddenly develop a passion for painting or music after experiencing head trauma or other types of brain insult.

The August 2014 issue of Scientific American, an article entitled  Accidental Genius was published. The articles talks about Jason Padgett who suffered a “severe head injury.” As a consequence, he was able to visualize and draw intricate geometrical shapes. He went on to develop a passion for math, physics, and drawing geometric shapes after he sustained a concussion following an assault.  Previously math-adverse, college dropout, Padgett, now takes advance courses in math to better understand the geometric shapes he can draw.

Neurologist, Bruce Miller, of the University of California, San Francisco, has been studying FTD.  FTD stands for frontal temporal dementia. It differs from Alzheimer’s dementia in that the degenerative process affects only the frontal lobes and not wider areas of the brain.

Researchers would like to unlock the key to obtaining acquired savantism, without the concussion.   How to bring out the inner-savant.   Various diagnostic tests including DTI, (diffuse tensor imaging), and DTT (Diffuse Tensor Tracking), as well as PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and NIRS (Near Infrared Spectroscopy) are able to capture brain activity during the carrying out of creative tasks.

The question is whether these studies are worth pursuing.

Acquired savantism provides strong evidence that a deep well of brain potential resides within all of us.  The challenge now is to find the best ways to tap into our inner savant – that little bit of Rain Man – while keeping the rest of our mental facilities intact.

Research Reveals Traumatic Brain Injury Can Be Reduced From Brain’s Ability To Heal Itself

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Brain Lipids

 The Cure for Traumatic Brain Injury?

In an extensive opinion piece recently published online on Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, researchers make the case for pioneering work underway seeking to understand and repair brain function at the molecular level.

Also known as TBI, traumatic brain injury most commonly results from a sudden, violent blow to the head, in some cases driving broken bone into the brain, or from a bullet or other object piercing the skull and entering the brain.

This trauma sets off a complex constellation of reactions in the brain that can impair thinking and reasoning, behavior and movement.

Each year, at least 10 million TBIs that are serious enough to result in hospitalization or death occur around the world.

Most attempts at treatment have targeted the physical damage with drugs aimed at protecting neurons — the cells that carry messages from the brain to the rest of the body — from further damage. But while such attempts have shown promise in animal studies, they’ve all failed to help human patients.

Over the past three decades, more than 30 such clinical trials have ended in failure.

More recently, evidence has been amassed by researchers showing that the human brain has “a significant, albeit limited” ability to repair itself both physically and functionally, including:

Angiogenesis — the creation of new blood vessels.

Neurogenesis — the formation of new nerve cells.

Oligodendrogenesis — the development of several types of cells including those that make up the myelin sheath, a protective coating on parts of nerves.

• Axonal sprouting — the process of in which undamaged axons, threadlike parts of nerve cells that carry signals to other cells, grow new nerve endings to relink damaged neurons.

These findings will greatly assist physicians in treatment and care of those with traumatic brain injury.  This is great news!

Smell Test Helps Predict Traumatic Brain Injury In Blast Injury

Posted in Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Soldiers, Veterans and Military Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Decreased ability to identify specific odors can predict abnormal neuroimaging results in blast-injured troops, according to a new study by Federal researchers released online in the journal Neurology, March 18, 2015.

The olfactory system processes thousands of different odors, sending signals to the brain which interprets the smell by linking it to a past memory. If memory is impaired, as is the case with Alzheimer’s disease, sleep deprivation, and acute traumatic brain injury, the task is not entirely possible. When the smell test was abnormal in a subject, those soldiers were all found to have abnormalities on their brain scans.

In the field, the battlefield, determining if an injured soldier sustains brain injury in explosive events, blast injuries, is predictive of what more involved tests requiring medical equipment in a medical setting, reveal later.  Taking care of veterans should be a government concern.

Concussions, Sports, Kids

Posted in Personal Injury, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Youth Sports

Recent concussion laws that set out to prevent head injuries in American teenage athletes should be extended to include the activities of summer camps, travel teams and all-star teams. This will ensure that all children and youths who suffer head injuries receive appropriate care and education. So says Thomas Trojian of Drexel University College of Medicine, lead author of a study that showed a marked increase in the number of teenagers receiving medical treatment for sports-related concussions after laws pertaining to these injuries were passed in Connecticut in 2010. The findings are published in Springer’s journal Injury Epidemiology.

The number of sports-related concussions being treated in emergency departments among American high school athletes has increased over the past decade. This is, among other reasons, because of a greater awareness that athletes with related symptoms should receive appropriate treatment. Since 2014 it has become mandatory nationwide for athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 years to be removed from play when a concussion is suspected. In such cases an athlete must also be further evaluated by a licensed medical professional.

 

 

 

 

Protecting Our Rights in Nevada

Posted in Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury

Preserving Your

Constitutional Right to

Protect You and Your

Family

This legislative session, bills have been introduced into the Nevada Legislature that threaten your constitutional right to protect you and your family. The 7th amendment in the Bill of Rights in our U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to a trial by jury as recourse for harm done to any citizen. These proposed new laws, which are really new government regulations to severely limit your rights, are being rushed through the legislative process at unprecedented speed, with almost no time for public input.

Here are Just a Few Examples of Those Bills:

Legislation that would substantially erode the ability of homeowners to take legal action to get shoddy workmanship in their home repaired in a timely fashion. Legislation that would virtually take away the ability of an injured person to hold the seller of dangerous products accountable, which would have protected, for example, the companies responsible for the Hepatitis C outbreak in Clark County. Legislation that would give insurance companies an unfair advantage over consumers, depriving victims of their opportunity to recover their claims, which just puts more money in the pockets of insurance companies at the expense of the wronged party.  We need your help in fighting these threats to our fundamental rights. Our legislators need to hear that their constituents oppose these new government regulations to limit their constitutional rights. To learn more about these issues and how you can help by contacting your legislators, please visit:  www.protectingournevadarights.com

$5.2 Million Brain Injury Verdict Against Trucking Company Upheld on Appeal in Texas

Posted in Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney, Personal Injury, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

I found this recent post about a trial verdict in a case of traumatic brain injury being upheld on appeal at $5.2 million in TEXAS (of all places).  It is interesting because the plaintiff was a driver/employee of trucking company-defendant.  This is a guest post by Starkeisha Tucker.

Texas Affirms $5.2 Million Brain Injury Verdict Against Trucking Company

Posted on February 24, 2015 by

shutterstock_224285425

The Texas appellate court ruled that an injured worker may keep a $5.2 million damage award for a brain injury sustained while working for a trucking company.

The Texas appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, stating the employer was negligent in providing a safe place to work.

Robinson was injured when he fell head first from an unevenly loaded flatbed trailer in April 2007. He was attempting to cover the load with a tarpaulin in the shipping yard of West Star Transportation.

Charles Robison and his wife filed suit against West Star in 2009, arguing that West Star was negligent and failed to provide a safe work place.

On appeal, West Star argued unsuccessfully that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient as to the three specific theories of liability:

  1. Failure to provide fall equipment to assist with tarping.
  2. Failure to conduct a pre-planning meeting.
  3. Failure to implement their policy to refuse to tarp over-sized loads.

 

Worker’s comp “non subscriber”

West Star, based in Lubbock, TX, was a non-subscriber under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act at the time of the accident. In Texas, employers may opt out of the state’s workers compensation program. Texas is one of few states that offer this alternative.

Non-subscribers manage their own employee injury claims through a company-sponsored employee benefit plan. According to USLAW.Org, non-subscribers increased when workers compensation rates went up.

As a non-subscriber, West Star does not have the defenses of contributory negligence, assumption of risk or negligence.

West Star’s only defense to the suit was to show it was not negligent and thus not the proximate cause of Robinson’s injuries. Alternatively, it could show whether the plaintiff was a guilty of some act of negligence.

West Star argued because Robinson was an experienced flat-bed operator he was not owed a duty to warn, train or supervise.

Unreasonable risk

The court disagreed stating West Star created an unreasonable risk of harm to its employee by accepting an unusually large load and failing to  provide necessary safety equipment.

West Star’s remaining issues on appeal were overruled by the court. It ruled that all evidence and testimony presented to the jury was legally and factually sufficient to support the verdict.

This case is West Star Transportation v. Robison, et al., case No. 07-18-00109-CV, Texas Court of Appeals Seventh District of Texas at Amarillo.

Kevin P. Parker, The Lanier Law Firm, represented Charles Robison