Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

Helmet Update

Posted in Soldiers, Veterans and Military Issues, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Concussion in Military

Ms. Cheryl K. Chumley posted the following blog about the use of defective helmets for the military: defective since they can actually make blast head injury worse than with no helmet.  Ms. Chumley
Displayed the following with permission from The Washington Times.

The post brings up helmet issues.  Nowadays you see skiers, horseback riders, and most other sports with physical contact participants, wearing protective gear and specifically helmets. The trend is in response to what we now know about repeat trauma to the head.  In the case of the military there are injuries relating to explosion blasts.  Blasts have shockwaves that put excessive force on the body and head, and the brain inside that head.

A helmet designed by the U.S. military to protect soldiers from traumatic brain injuries during explosions could actually cause worse medical damage, researchers concluded.

The Army Times reported that officials with the Naval Research Laboratory have been testing a myriad of designs on the helmet, which is called the Conformal Integrated Protective Headgear System and which nearly covers the face of the wearer.

But they haven’t been able to find a prototype that truly protects the jaw and face from blasts, while at the same time prevents the skull from suffering more damage from the waves that emanate from the bombs or explosions, The Blaze reported.

Researchers are concluding that while the helmet may cover more of the face, it doesn’t actually protect from more explosive effects.

“In some cases, waves trapped by the geometry produced increased pressure when reduced pressure was expected,” the researchers found. “Specific injury mechanisms and prediction of injury severity … remains elusive.”

The Aging of the Brain

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, The Human Brain

The beginning of a scientific discovery can start with something so basic it might be overlooked.

As we age, our short term memory fades. This is less about our ability to focus our attention and more about our inability filter out surrounding distractions. New research from Neuron shows that when we learn (train our brain) to differentiate a sound between progressively more disruptive distractions, we reduce our overall distractibility.

Alcohol and the Brain

Posted in Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury, The Human Brain

We all know that drinking and driving is against the law but did you know that Chronic misuse of alcohol results in measurable damage to the brain. A new study uses high-resolution structural magnetic resonance scans to compare the brains of individuals with a history of alcoholism versus those of healthy light drinkers. The abstinent alcoholics showed pronounced reductions in frontal and superior white matter tracts.

Drinking is not good and a no-brainer – no pun intended.

Brain Injury Association Of America Legislative Update December 2014

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney, Personal Injury, Soldiers, Veterans and Military Issues, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) asked me to share this Legislative Update for December 2014.

Congress returned from the Thanksgiving holiday this week to address a number of pending issues, including appropriations to keep the federal government running past Dec. 11, when the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding government ends. Also on their plate is the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which has passed every year for the past 53 years.

 Traumatic Brain Injury

On November 26, President Obama signed S. 2539, the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Reauthorization Act of 2014, reauthorizing funding for TBI Act programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through fiscal year (FY) 2019. The measure is now known as Public Law 113-196. BIAA applauds the President, bill sponsors and all of those who have supported this measure to improve data, prevention, research, and service delivery for individuals with brain injury and their families. This was a heavy lift for brain injury stakeholders and all should feel especially pleased that we were successful.

Veterans and Suicide and TBI

At the end of November, the House Veterans Affairs Committee passed bipartisan legislation to help prevent veteran suicide and to amend the requirements for reviewing discharges of military service members diagnosed with TBI or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Introduced by Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Representatives Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), H.R. 5059, requires a board reviewing the discharge or dismissal of a former member of the Armed Forces whose application for relief is based at least in part on PTSD or TBI-related to military operations or sexual trauma, to: (1) review the medical evidence from the VA or a civilian health provider that is presented by the former member; and (2) review the case, with a presumption of administrative irregularity, and place the burden on the VA or the Department of Defense (DoD) to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence that no error or injustice occurred. Referred to as the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, the bill requires a third-party review of Pentagon and VA mental health and suicide prevention programs at least annually. H.R. 5059 has 107 cosponsors and is named for Clay Hunt, a Marine veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who committed suicide in 2011 at age 28.

 Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to consider the BIAA-supported Jacob Sexton Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 as a part of this year’s national defense bill next week.

ABLE Act Passes House

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update, Personal Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The Brain Injury Association of America asks me to pass this on:

The House overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, H.R. 647 by a vote of 404-17. The Senate is expected to take action this week, and the bill is likely to pass. While this is good news, recent changes limit the program availability only to people who acquire a disability before the age of 26 instead of all individuals with a disability regardless of age.

 The purpose of the ABLE Act is to allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save and accumulate funds in a tax-free savings accounts. These accounts can pay for housing, transportation, home health, and other eligible expenses without jeopardizing benefits and eligibility for Medicaid or Social Security benefits. Limiting the program to people who acquire a disability before the age of 26 means a significant number of individuals who sustain brain injuries will not be helped by the ABLE Act.

 Congress needs to understand that the ABLE Act is important for all people with disabilities, not just those injured before the age of 26. Covering all age groups will help people with brain injuries to live as independently as possible and improve their economic statuses.

The Senate needs to hear from you before they vote on the ABLE Act! Call your Senators today and let them know that ALL people with disabilities should be eligible for an ABLE account! Senator Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.) is the Senate bill sponsor, and there are 77 cosponsors. 

 You may contact your senators by phone or via email. If you email, be sure to include your name and your contact information. 

 

Click here to find your senators’ contact information.

The Brain on Fear

Posted in Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Soldiers, Veterans and Military Issues, The Human Brain

Even if people forget the details of a traumatic event or what is called explicit memory, the emotions associated with that event also known as implicit memory may remain ingrained in the brain for a long  time, says a new study.

In the context of fear, our brain differently encodes contextual memory of a negative event, such as the place, what we saw and the emotional response associated, the results found.

“The study helps explain how the processing of fearful memories can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder,” said project coordinator LluAs Fuentemilla from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) in Spain.

The study was published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Fasting for Brain Health

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, The Human Brain

New research, from the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, reveals that intermittent fasting yields unforeseen benefits for brain health. Just two days of calorie restriction per week could delay the onset of degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even protect against strokes. Not to forget, exercise also promotes brain health.

Spine and Brain Injury

Posted in Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury, Spine Injury, Back Injury, Neck Injury and Bone Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Most research on spinal cord injuries has focused on effects due to spinal cord damage and scientists have neglected the effects on brain function. University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) researchers have found for the first time that spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause widespread and sustained brain inflammation that leads to progressive loss of nerve cells, with associated cognitive problems and depression.

The research, published recently in two articles, one in of the Journal of Neuroscience, the other in Cell Cycle, highlights the close links between spinal cord injury and loss of brain function, and suggests potential treatment to prevent such changes.

Enriching Environment Good for Treating Traumatic Brain Injury

Posted in Personal Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A violent blow to the head has the potential to cause mild to severe traumatic brain injury — physical damage to the brain that can be debilitating, even fatal. But to date, there is no effective medical or cognitive treatment for patients with traumatic brain injuries. Now a new study points to an ‘enriched environment’ — specially enhanced surroundings — as a promising path for the rehabilitation of mild traumatic brain injury patients.

Read the article at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432814003635

PTSD can Develop Even Without Memory of the Trauma

Posted in 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, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

I once heard a neuropsychologist declare that one could not have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post concussion syndrome (PCS).  If you do not remember the trauma you are precluded from having PTSD since you do not remember the trauma.  Therefore if you have organic PCS, damage to the brain, and your memory of the trauma is absent, you PTSD.  The referenced neuropsychologist worked for the defense trying to disprove the existence of brain injury in the case.

There are many forms of memory and only some of these may be critical for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports a new study by researchers at the University at Albany and the University of California Los Angeles. Their findings, published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, suggest that even with no explicit memory of an early childhood trauma, symptoms of PTSD can still develop in adulthood.

There are case reports of people who have experienced terrible life events that resulted in brain damage, some of whom developed syndromes similar to PTSD even though they had no recollection of the event itself.

 These reports suggest that explicit memory may not be an absolute requirement for PTSD, whereas other forms of learning, such as fear conditioning, may be required.

 Explicit memory is the type of memory that can be voluntarily recalled from prior experience and articulated.

The findings are consistent with the idea that one can get both post concussion syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder.