Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Jan 2014

New Data on Brain Injuries Cause for Concern

Head injuries are among the most serious injuries that you can suffer in an accident.  As the CDC reports, brain injuries are a contributing factor to just over 30 percent of all injury-related deaths in the United States every single year, and the direct and indirect costs of brain injuries exceeds $76.5 billion annually. 

When many people think of brain injuries, they think of serious head trauma that results in a loss of consciousness or a coma. While it is true that these types of injuries occur often, an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer in Riverside knows that the most common type of brain injury is actually a concussion. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that around 75 percent of all brain injuries that occur each year are concussions.  The prevalence of concussions among injury victims makes a new study published in the medical journal Neurology especially troubling.

Concussions Can Cause Lasting Changes to the Brain

To determine the impact of a concussion, researchers from the University of New Mexico conducted a study in which victims of recent head injuries were given a special type of brain scan called a diffusion MRI. A total of 26 patients who had experienced mild concussions were tested both 14 days after their initial injury and again four months after their injuries occurred. The diffusion MRI is a medical test that allows the mapping of the diffusion process of water and other molecules in biological tissue. The same tests were performed on another 26 participants in the study who had not experienced brain injuries in the past.

The diffusion MRI revealed that the gray matter in the prefrontal cortex was still damaged in the concussion patients even four months after the original trauma had occurred. Standard MRI tests and CT-scans likely would not reveal the damage, but the diffusion MRI better reflects the underlying structure and architecture of the brain. As a result, it was possible to see that the gray matter in the brains of concussion victims had around 10 percent more fractional anisotrophy than the brains of the control subjects. It is not clear whether this increased FA is a sign of the lingering effect of fluid accumulating in the brain because of the concussion; if the increased FA is a result of a change in the shape of the brain’s structural cells; or if the increased FA is a sign of healing.

The study did, however, suggest that the difference in brain matter also translated to a difference in behavior. When the study subjects underwent the diffusion MRI, they were also given behavioral and memory tests at the same time. The people with the concussions performed slightly worse on both tests that measure memory and tests that measure attention, which is consistent with previous data on concussions.

The news that even a simple concussion can have a lasting impact on the brain’s structure and on cognitive function is disturbing. It is important for victims of all brain injuries to understand the extent of damage their injuries caused before accepting a settlement and while pursuing a claim for injury compensation so they can ensure they receive full compensation for the extent of injury suffered.

The Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton has offices in Riverside, CA. Call 949.757.0707 today to schedule a free consultation.

Aug 2013

Brain Injury Comes to the Big Screen While New Studies Underscore Dangers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that at least 1.7 million cases of traumatic brain injury occur each year and that TBIs account for 30.5 percent of all deaths caused by injury in the U.S. 

Our Orange County brain injury lawyers know that the consequences of brain injury can be very serious, but often are underestimated, unrecognized or misunderstood. In fact, some insurance companies will even deliberately try to downplay the severity of a brain injury to avoid compensating victims fully for their injuries and the lifelong damage that results from head trauma.

Now, however, the serious consequences of brain injuries are getting more attention thanks to a new HBO documentary. The documentary exploring the lifelong and life-changing harm that is caused by damage to the brain is being aired even as new studies reveal just how grave the impact of a brain injury can be.

HBO Explores the Consequences of a Brain Injury

Recently, Forbes reported that director Lucy Walker had produced a film that critics are describing as “the definitive film on brain injury.” The documentary was produced by HBO and follows a rising snowboarding star named Kevin Pearce who had Olympic potential but instead ended up spending months in a rehab hospital after he suffered a blow to the head while attempting a trick.

The film premieres in theaters this year and highlights the struggles that Pearce faced in learning how to walk and talk again. While Pearce hopes to snowboard again in the future, the documentary also included interviews with his doctor in which the permanence and pervasiveness of his injuries were discussed. His physician said that Pearce’s memory and vision will be permanently affected and that he is at great risk if he ever suffers another blow to the head.

The film also highlights the “insidious” nature of the injury, which is described as affecting everything because “it’s physical and it’s mental and it’s social and it’s practical.”

Even though the pervasive and lasting consequences of a brain injury are already well-known to doctors and to patients like Pearce, studies are routinely being performed that raise ever more concerns about the dangers of TBI. Towards the end of July, for example, Medscape Today published a story about a new study showing a strong association between traumatic brain injury and the subsequent development of an ischemic stroke.

The study showed that there is such a strong association between TBI and ischemic stroke, even adjusting for other factors, that the risk for a TBI patient was just as great as the risk of a patient suffering from hypertension. Hypertension is currently the leading stroke risk factor, so it came as a surprise to researchers that TBI had as strong of an association with stroke as hypertension.

While researchers are not yet ready to confirm that TBI is a stroke risk factor, the data in this study of more than 1,173,353 patients is not good news for victims who are struggling to cope with devastating brain injury. Even if patients are able to relearn basic tasks and to get better, which as the new HBO documentary shows is a clear struggle, they also face lasting health consequences that could affect their future.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Irvine, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.