Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

Brain and Spine Injury Law Blog

$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

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update

With all the news in Sports, Celebrity deaths, veterans conditions, and others, it is proper that a month a year be devoted to Brain Injury Awareness.  Well March is the month.  I ran across this post from a brain injury survivor who makes the announcement.

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I find it strangely interesting that this time last year, as I was enduring the beginning of my life with a TBI, I had no idea that March was National Brain Injury Awareness Month. This year I feel compelled to shout it from the rooftops (or the computer screen)! Over the next few weeks, I intend to share with you stories and journeys of those living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or caring for a loved one who is recovering from one. My hope is to educate those who aren’t familiar with TBI, and to help other TBI-ers understand that they are not alone, and that their symptoms are not just “in their head” (pun intended).

Let me start by offering you some statistics on TBI from BrainTrauma.org:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults from ages 1 to 44.
  • Brain injuries are most often caused by motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, or simple falls on the playground, at work or in the home.
  • Every year, approximately 52,000 deaths occur from traumatic brain injury.
  • An estimated 1.5 million head injuries occur every year in the United States emergency rooms.
  • An estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related TBIs occur each year.
  • At least 5.3 million Americans, 2 percent of the U.S. population, currently live with disabilities resulting from TBI.
  • Moderate & severe head injury (respectively) is associated with a 2.3 and 4.5 times increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Males are about twice as likely as females to experience a TBI.
  • Exposures to blasts are a leading cause of TBI among active duty military personnel in war zones.
  • Veterans’ advocates believe that between 10 and 20 percent of Iraq veterans, or 150,000 and 300,000 service members have some level of TBI.
  • 30 percent of soldiers admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center have been diagnosed as having had a TBI.
  • The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown.

There are three levels of traumatic brain injuries: mild, moderate and severe. Don’t let these names fool you. A mild TBI is just as serious as a moderate or severe one. The names refer to loss of consciousness and mental alteration as a result of the trauma. In my case, we think I was unconscious for only about a minute or so, therefore classifying me as “mild”. But like I said, don’t let the name fool you. The resulting damage can be the same for all three — a TBI does not discriminate.

A TBI changes you. Literally and figuratively. My personality is different. My energy levels and sleep patterns are foreign to me. The confused woman in the kitchen staring at the oven is someone I am just now starting to understand. The woman who has to write a Post-it note for every single task on her to-do list is no longer the multi-tasker she once was. The woman who used to type at 100 words per minute with zero mistakes now has to take her time and correct many keystroke errors as she goes because her brain gets confused with letters.

I am finally coming to terms with this “new me.” It has been just over a year since I fell on the ice, landing full force on my skull. In the beginning I was angry. I was confused. I was in a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally. People didn’t understand. Didn’t believe me. Couldn’t understand my hidden injuries. I didn’t have a strong support system, but what I did have was determination!

Life with an “invisible” injury or illness can be a real challenge. Since I posted my last blog, “Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury,” on The Huffington Post last month, I have made an entirely new circle of friends. I created a group on Facebook, affectionately named “The TBI Tribe.” This is a safe place where we can hang out, talk, vent frustrations, share in each other’s successes, and more importantly, have a place where we all feel like we fit in. I was craving an environment where others understood my struggles and didn’t pass judgement. I have found exactly that in this tribe!

I want to share with you a little bit about one of my new friends, Jennifer L. White from St. Louis, Missouri:

In July of 2000 Jennifer collapsed in her Atlanta, Georgia apartment. She called 911 and told them she was dying. She did, in fact, die in the ambulance on her way to the hospital. Fortunately medics were able to resuscitate her. Doctors determined that she had had a stroke and performed brain surgery to eradicate the brain bleed. She spent 10 days in the ICU followed by several months in a rehab facility. Overnight she went from the vice president of a large marketing firm, to unemployable and on disability. The massive stroke has left Jennifer with cognitive deficiencies, balance issues, and double vision. She jokes that she can, however, make a killer peanut butter sandwich! It’s important to have a good sense of humor when dealing with a TBI. Aside from her impairments, Jennifer looks completely healthy and “normal.” A few words from Jennifer:

The brain injury has affected me in a variety of ways. Emotionally, I am fragile but working hard to toughen my spirit.  I am much more introspective (I don’t know if this is from the actual brain injury or the fact I now have more time to be introspective). Things are just harder for me than most people.   I have to actually think seriously about where I am stepping.

I define my life in two ways: before and after the stroke.  It has certainly delivered me a tough blow. I have been advised not to have children. I am scared that I am predisposed to have something else happen to me, and I am sorry that I don’t find sweetness in the sweet things in life because I am more bitter than I want to be.  But call me crazy… I am glad to be alive.

I hope that you will join me this month as I share with you more stories and continue to bring awareness to the world about TBI.

Brain Injury Association of American Legislative Update Feb 2015

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update

The Brain Injury Association of America asked me to post this legislative update here.

February 27, 2015

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill

Please join the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, chaired by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), and the Brain Injury Association of America for Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The schedule of events for the day:

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.         Brain Injury Awareness Fair

First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office                                                             Building

2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.           Briefing: Finding a “New Normal”: Post-Injury Supports and Services That Make a Difference

121 Cannon House Office Building

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.           Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness                                                           Month

B-339 Rayburn House Office Building

Plan to attend to network with other national and federal agencies and to visit with your Members of Congress regarding key issues affecting brain injury. Please stay tuned to BIAA’s website under the government affairs for more information.

BIAA’s President/CEO Presents on behalf of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation

Susan Connors, president/CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America, joined with members of the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation in presenting to attendees of the American Medical Rehab Providers Association spring meeting in Washington, D.C. Ms. Connors described the challenges individuals with brain injury and their family members experience when trying to access post-acute rehabilitation at inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units as well as residential rehabilitation facilities and out-patient clinics.

BIAA serves on nine advocacy coalitions in Washington, D.C. and serves as a steering committee member for the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation (CPR). The CPR is a coalition of national consumer, clinician, and membership organizations with the goal of preserving access to rehabilitation services. CPR advocates for policies that ensure access to rehabilitative care so that individuals with disabilities, injuries, or chronic conditions may regain and/or maintain their maximum level of independent function. To learn more about BIAA’s coalition work, please click here.

Therapy Cap Repeal Legislation Introduced in the United States Senate

This week, a bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to repeal the Medicare outpatient rehabilitation therapy caps, S. 539, was introduced in the  by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

The House of Representatives recently introduced legislation to fully repeal the current monetary caps on Medicare therapy services. The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act, H.R. 755, led by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.), Xavier Becerra (D-Ca.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Lois Capps (D-Ca.), would permanently remove the limits that Medicare places on physical and speech-language therapy combined and occupational therapy. While there is an exceptions process designed for medically necessary therapy, it has been a burden and insufficient to protect access to care.

The Brain Injury Association of America works with the Therapy Cap Coalition in Washington D.C. throughout the year to repeal the therapy cap. BIAA grassroots has played a key role in the work to repeal the therapy cap. Please contact your Member of Congress today and ask him or her to address a permanent solution to the Medicare therapy caps before March 31, 2015, when the current exceptions process will expire. You can reach your representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Is Pain Measurable?

Posted in Attorney Selection, Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Spine Injury, Back Injury, Neck Injury and Bone Injury, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
PI Suit

The use of technology in the courtroom is routinely met with skepticism initially.  A new area where technology has offered the potential to objectively observe pain, a subjective complaint, in other people. fMRI has become useful in the area of proving brain injury in court, and now may be able to help us quantify pain. Most personal-injury cases settle out of court, so it is impossible to document how often brain scans for pain are being used in civil law. But the practice seems to be getting more common, at least in the United States, where health care is not covered by the government and personal-injury cases are frequent. Several companies have cropped up, and at least one university has offered the service. The approach is based on burgeoning research that uses fMRI to understand the nature of pain—a very subjective experience. Scientists hope that the scans can provide an objective measure of that experience, and they see potential applications, such as in testing painkillers. But many neuroscientists say that the techniques are still far from being accurate enough for the courtroom. Critics say that the companies using them have not validated their tests or proved that they are impervious to deception or bias. And whereas some think the technologies will have a place in legal settings, others worry that the practice will lead to misuse of the scans.

Only time will reveal whether this technology will be allowed into evidence in a court of law for the purpose of proving pain.  I will report any new developments here.

13th Pacific Northwest Regional Brain Injury Conference 2015

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, Books, Articles, and Literature, Brain Injury News and Event Update

The sponsors of the 13th Pacific Northwest Regional Brain Injury Conference 2015 sponsors asked me to remind everyone of the upcoming conference.

 

March 12Pre-ConferenceManaging Challenging Behaviors 

Conference March 13-14, 2015 From 8am to 5pm

 

Reception & Dinner

The Music Within Us

Friday, March 13, 5:30 to 10 pm

 

 

Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel 8235 NE Airport Way Portland OR 97220For Special Room Rates& Assistance

503-335-2862

 

Questions?

 

Contact BIAOR

800-544-5243

biaor@biaoregon.org

 

13th Pacific Northwest Regional Brain Injury Conference 2015

 

Hosted by BIAOR , BIAWA & BIAIDwww.biaoregon.org/annualconference.htm

 

 

Registration is open for the 13th Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Conference 2015.  Hotel room rates expire March 6.  Register today 503-281-2500.  Professional members will be $575 for all three days, $175 for Thursday, March 12, only (8.5 CEUs), $425 for Friday and Saturday (17 CEUs).Who should attend?  Attorney’s – Win More Cases-Help More Clients

Medical Professionals – Increase your understanding and strengthen you skills dealing with individuals with brain injury

Case Managers – Learn about the newest and latest resources while increasing your understanding and strengthening you skills dealing with individuals with brain injury

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, Special Education Teachers, Youth Transition specialists- learn strategies in dealing with consumers and students that have varying degrees of difficulty, increasing positive outcomes

Adult Foster Home Providers, Caregivers, Family Members – learning strategies in dealing with difficult behaviors helping survivors reach the highest level of functioning possible

 

Pre-Conference 

 

Thinking Outside the Box:  Working with Clients and Individuals with Brain Injury and Other Neurological Changes will be devoted to effective ways caregivers and families can work with clients and individuals with brain injury and other neurological disorders and the best practices being used.  A round table question and answer session with the experts–bring your questions.  Intended audience are case managers, trauma nurses, foster care providers, nursing home staff, family caregivers and all other interested attendees.

 

Keynote Speakers will be:

Functional Neurological Management of Persistent Port-Concussion Syndrome – Dr. Glen Zielinski will give an overview of some of the underlying pathophysiology of PPCS will be presented, with emphasis on central vestibiopathies and impairment of visual-vestibular proprioceptive interaction, methodologies to evaluate and address this will be presented, along with case study results.

 

The Amen Clinic and Their Method – Kabran Chapek, ND will present on: – Brain SPECT Imaging: A powerful, Evidence Based Tool in Assessing TBI  – How SPECT imaging is transforming clinical practice – Cases of Hope and Healing in TBI – Natural and Effective approaches to Treating Traumatic Brain Injury – Dietary approaches to treating Traumatic Brain Injury

 

Brain Injury in the Young: What We Know Now - Fred Langer, JD RN will review of old myths we in the medical field had about brain injury in the young and comparing the state of art data to what we know now.

 

Do you see what I see?   Dr. Bruce Wojciechowski will focus on how life changing visual disruptions (the hidden disability) following TBIs can be addressed, evaluated, and treated.  The survivors, family members, and practitioners will be able to recognize and identify changes in visual behavior following minor to catastrophic TBIs and all points in between.  This talk will also cover the latest evaluations, treatments, and future treatments with the hopes of being able to strategize with successful traumatic brain injury individuals.

 

Native American Vocational Rehabilitation – Angie Butler

 

Mobility Options – Living after Brain and /or Spinal Cord Injuries – Ryan Green

 

Register Now! 

 

REGISTER

Pot Does Not Kill Brain Cells

Posted in The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Marijuana Plant

A 2015 study tosses the 2014 claims that smoking marijuana (or eating it) kills brain cells.  Remember the “this is your brain on drugs..?”. Not so much.  If someone tells you that you are killing brain cells by smoking marijuana, you can now tell them with science that they are wrong. A new study published in late January 2015 proves that marijuana does not kill brain cells. This serious research may come as a surprise to some considering most marijuana headlines have to do with older people that drive around in a van with weed in it for almost a decade.

Unfortunately, two big stories in the news about marijuana are keeping this newly released 2015 study subdued for the moment. Regardless, the new 2015 marijuana study may be used in the near future to give more oomph to a study published in 2003 that has been repeatedly used to legalize marijuana across America. That original study that proved that marijuana does not kill brain cells was in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society published by Cambridge University. Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1815383/marijuana-does-not-kill-brain-cells-new-2015-study-disproves-2014-claims/#FDS7lAS8xe3zVDmF.99 So get out a deep technical book, read, and have a hit! Or not.  There will be a test.

 

NABIS 28th Annual Conference on Legal Issues in Brain Injury

Posted in Brain Injury News and Event Update

NABIS 2015NABIS has asked me to post this announcement for the 28th Annual Conference on Legal Issues in Brain Injury. This is a premier annual event designed to educate advocates of those suffering traumatic brain injury.  Both a legal conference and medical conference are presented.  Check it out.

Co-Chairs Kenneth Kolpan and Simon Forgette, leaders in the fields of traumatic brain injury and  trial, have consistently presented the nation’s top educators and medical and legal experts for over a decade.

 

Brain Injury Causes Chronic Degenerative Changes

Posted in Age & Alzheimer's Issues, Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, Soldiers, Veterans and Military Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
mri_brain

There is a widespread misunderstanding about the true nature of traumatic brain injury and how it causes chronic degenerative problems, researchers argue. The authors propose that chronic brain damage and neuropsychiatric problems after trauma are largely caused by long-term inflammation in the brain. They say inflammation is a key culprit behind the symptoms linked with TBI, including brain atrophy and depression.

This leads to the statement that Traumatic Brain Injury is not just an event but a process.  The long term affects of Brain Injury go largely untreated in mild and moderate cases.

In a perspective article published in the latest issue of Neurotherapeutics, the two authors — Alan Faden, MD, a neurologist and professor of anesthesiology, and David Loane, PhD, an assistant professor of anesthesiology, propose that chronic brain damage and neuropsychiatric problems after trauma are to a large degree caused by long-term inflammation in the brain. In their view, this inflammation is a key culprit behind the myriad symptoms that have been linked with traumatic brain injury and mild traumatic brain injury, including brain atrophy, depression and cognitive decline.

Dr. Faden and Dr. Loane also say that there has been too much emphasis on a specific diagnosis known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the set of symptoms and pathology that has been found in some former professional football players. They argue that this may deflect focus from other mechanisms, which may be more important and treatable. They say that although chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a serious problem, relatively few people have been diagnosed with this condition. Instead, they contend, researchers and journalists should focus more on the fact that even repeated concussive impacts or mild traumatic brain injury may trigger chronic brain inflammation that can persist for years and cause lasting damage.

Brain Myths

Posted in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Christian Jarrett

Christian Jarrett Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist turned science writer. He’s a columnist for 99U.com, author of The Rough Guide to Psychology, editor of 30-Second Psychology, and co-author of This Book Has Issues. His next book due in 2014 is Great Myths of the Brain. He recently wrote a book entitled Great Myths of the Brain.  He used the latest research to tease fact from fiction in contemporary neuroscience and lists the following as 10 Great Brain Myths:

1). Many school teachers around the world believe neuromyths, such as the idea that children are left-brained or right-brained, or that we use just 10 per cent of our brains. This is worrying. For example, if a teacher decides a child is “left-brained” and therefore not inclined to creativity, they will likely divert that child away from beneficial creative activities.

2). On a similar note, educational campaigners have misappropriated neuroscience findings to support their cause. For example, Leonard Sax, a psychologist who ran the organization that used to be known as the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, says that girls and boys should be taught differently and separately because of differences in their brains. I looked at one of the key studies that he cites in his book: It’s clear that Sax over-interpreted the tentative results to make groundless claims. In case you’re wondering, a 2014 meta-analysis found no evidence for single-sex education being beneficial for boys or girls.

3). The California-based neuroscientist V.S Ramachandran has fuelled incredible hype and myth around mirror neurons. He credits these cells with bringing the great leap forward in human culture, and he has argued that a broken mirror neuron system is the cause of autism. The latest research suggests otherwise: it’s time to bury this harmful brain myth.

4). Brain myths are being used to justify gender stereotypes. Women have to deal with enough gender stereotype BS as it is, without bad neuroscience adding to the misery. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened last year when researchers got in a tangle over a wonky brain wiring study – they said it supported the idea that men are good at map-reading and women at multi-tasking. The study didn’t even look at these activities.

5). Neuro-bunk is being used to scare people about the effects of modern technologies. Spewing most of this barrage of “neuro-bollocks” is Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield. She suggests the internet is destroying our memories and identities, when the evidence suggests quite the opposite. Worst of all she has linked the rise of the internet with the increased rates of autism diagnosis, even though experts say the two are completely unrelated.

6). Brain training companies frequently make unfounded claims about the benefits of their products. One myth here is that playing their games can revolutionize your brain health, more than say socializing or reading. In October, dozens of neuroscientists wrote an open letter warning that the “exaggerated and misleading claims [of the brain training industry] exploit the anxiety of older adults about impending cognitive decline.”

7). Brain myths around coma give families false hope. Experts have analyzed the portrayal of coma in Hollywood and the condition is presented in an unrealistically positive way – patients are depicted sun-tanned and healthy, and they often emerge from years of coma apparently unscathed. In fact, most coma patients do not recover fully or even at all. There are many other harmful brain myths pertaining to injury, dementia and epilepsy, among other conditions.

8). The “chemical imbalance” myth of mental illness isn’t just wrong, it also places too much focus on biological explanations for mental illness. This might sound harmless, but in fact research shows that biological explanations increase stigma and dent patients’ hope for recovery.

9). Confusion between genuine neuroscience and neuro-bunk is particularly problematic in the world of business. Neuro-linguistic programming remains popular even though a recent scholarly review concluded that the movement “represents pseudoscientific rubbish”. Meanwhile, the new fields of “Neuroleadership” and “Neuromanagement” are mostly psychology dressed up as brain science; actual brain-based insights are rare and, so far, usually based on poor research. The risk is that businesses adopt practices that are ineffective or even damaging.

10). Why do journalists keep sticking the word “Brain” in their headlines even when their piece isn’t about the brain? It seems it’s no longer enough to sell an article with titles like “The secret to why you procrastinate” or “Science explains why you find email addictive” – today it’s your brain that procrastinates and it’s your brain that’s addicted. Last year, an Atlantic article even promised the “neuroscience guide to negotiations with Iran” (in fact, it was all psychology and history). This misappropriation of the brain is fuelling cynicism and dulling our attention to real neuroscience research

Brain Injury and Teenage Drug Use

Posted in Las Vegas Injury Attorney, Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney, Las Vegas Wrongful Death Attorney, Personal Injury, Psychiatric & Psychological Issues, The Human Brain, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Uncategorized
Depression

Is traumatic brain injury early in life a precursor to drug use?  Teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury are twice as likely to drink alcohol or use drugs when compared with whose who have never experienced a similar blow or trauma to the head.  Young adults who’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more than four times more likely to take the drug than those without a history of the injury.

That’s according to a study of Ontario high school students that was published November 2014 in The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

For years, researchers noticed this unfortunate combination in many young patients. They had either sustained a head injury while drinking or high on drugs; or were injured — for instance, while playing sports — and subsequently developed substance abuse problems.  TBI is described as any hit or blow to the head that results in the individual being knocked unconscious for at least five minutes, or spending at least one night in the hospital due to symptoms associated with the injury. The researchers explained that some of these more milder cases of TBI may be referred to as concussions, but it’s important not to simplify this term.

Curious about whether this was part of a more widespread phenomena, hospital researchers teamed up with other experts at CAMH, which is responsible for the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, one of the longest-running school surveys worldwide. For the first time, the 2011 survey asked about traumatic brain injury, defined as any hit or blow to the head that resulted in being knocked out for at least five minutes or spending at least one night in the hospital.

Data from that survey was used in the study. Experts pored over responses of 6,383 teens in Grades 9 to 12, considered representative of all Ontario students in those grades. About 20 per cent said they had suffered a brain injury in their lifetime. Among this group, the odds of substance use were significantly greater.

This is a major concern when evaluating young people.  Drug use may be caused by traumatic brain injury.  Stay tuned.