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Friday, September 30th, 2011
Scientists in many fields have been working hard at developing simple tests that can diagnose Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Field CT scans, blood tests and neurological tests have all been used with limited success. New research reveals a simple, two-minute reading test that may quickly and accurately test for a concussion.
How Does the Test Work?
The King-Devick (K-D) exam, originally used to identify reading disorders in young children, uses visual function as a measure of brain activity. In other words, if a patient exhibits decreased eye movement, there is a greater chance that he has sustained a concussion from the brain injury.
The study, reported in the American Academy of Neurology publication Neurology Today, examined boxers and martial arts athletes before and after matches to see if there was a noticeable change in their test results. The test consists of standardized tasks like speed-reading numbers arranged left to right in a zigzag pattern on printed cards. To prepare participants, there is one practice card before the three test cards are presented.
Reading Test Study Results
Researchers began with individuals who clearly suffered traumatic brain injuries as witnessed by a doctor with experience in sports trauma who was sat ringside during the fights. They analyzed 39 fighters who fought for three rounds, a total of nine minutes. The athletes used gloves and standard approved headgear. They were tested 15 minutes before the fight and again after the fight ended. (more…)
Thursday, September 29th, 2011
In Lake Worth, Florida, Jennifer English underwent lumbar spinal surgery with Medtronic, Inc.’s Infuse Bone Graft. After the surgery, English developed uncontainable bone growth in her spine that, in turn, began to compress her nerves and cause severe and ongoing pain. Even though the FDA had not approved the device for English’s surgery, the company marketed its product to her for the spinal surgery.
Medtronic Markets Product for Unapproved Uses
In a press release, English asserted that Medtronic did not accurately represent the pitfalls and benefits of their product and marketed the device improperly for uses not approved by the FDA. According to English’s attorney, when the device is used for certain surgeries, it can cause bones to grow out of control, leading to chronic pain. Patients must then undergo revision surgeries to correct the damage and remove the extra bone growth.
Since the lumbar surgery, English has endured two more surgeries, one of which was an emergency procedure, to rid her of the unwanted bone growth. (more…)
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
A record-breaking $58.6 million was recently awarded to the family of an eight-year-old boy who suffered severe brain damage during birth because of a negligent doctor at Stamford Hospital.
The award is the highest ever paid for a single cause of medical malpractice in the state of Connecticut. According to The Hartford Courant’s Courant.com, the doctor waited too long to perform a Cesarean section, causing the boy’s condition. The boy now suffers from cerebral palsy and permanent brain damage. He cannot walk, eat or talk. He uses a wheelchair, has to eat through a tube and is incontinent.
Family Struggles to Conceive Only to Suffer Birth Injury
The D’Attilo family struggled to have a child. While her husband Domenic had a daughter from a previous marriage, Cathy D’Atillo desperately wanted a child. Cathy underwent in-vitro fertilization to conceive her son Daniel. The couple was overjoyed to finally be pregnant after six years of trying. On February 2, 2003, the family was at Stamford Hospital, anxiously awaiting their son’s arrival into the world.
Sadly, D’Attilo’s labor ran into complications. (more…)
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
Michael Buettner was a financial planner with a satisfying life and a bright future, until he needed emergency heart surgery. Although surgeons successfully replaced his aortic valve, something went terribly wrong, leaving him with a permanent and disabling brain injury.
Oxygen Deprivation Leads to Devastating Brain Injury
A Los Angeles area newspaper, the Daily Breeze, reported on Buettner and his condition, explaining that he suffered hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation because of heart surgery. Although his intellect is intact, he lacks the basic skills needed to live his life. He cannot stand up or walk without help. He has difficulty reading and cannot hold down a job. His speech is heavily slurred and he suffers from mood swings. His frustration is evident to everyone around him.
The bills for Buettner and his fiancée Janet Thomas are astronomical. He receives Social Security disability that barely covers his monthly mortgage. Health insurance costs the couple $800 per month. The pair struggle to make ends meet, but fall short every month.
Thomas is the only person who understands Buettner, so she serves as his voice. “I’m in here,” he said through his fiancée, “It’s tough to express myself to the outside world. Everything from before is in here. I can’t find a way to get back to that person.”
Medical Mistakes Leading to Brain Injury
Monday, September 26th, 2011
A $250,000 Federal grant will go to Cleveland Clinic to develop blood tests that could offer early detection of traumatic brain injuries on the football field and off. Aimed at detecting a specific protein released into the bloodstream following a brain injury, the test could provide a definitive test to clearly identify head injuries.
Head Injuries Widespread
Almost 4 million Americans suffer from concussions every year. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light, moodiness and depression. If not properly treated, TBI could lead to other problems such as ongoing depression, Parkinson’s disease and early dementia. Those with concussions who suffer a subsequent head injury before the first has healed are in the greatest danger of suffering long-term problems because of the injuries. For this reason, it is important to identify concussions early, intervene with treatment and avoid reinjury.
The most vulnerable populations include teenagers, especially boys, involved in athletics. If coaches could administer a simple, accurate test, injured players could be pulled from the field to receive proper treatment for their injuries. The result would be fewer repeat concussions and better treatment outcomes for those who suffer head injuries.
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