Understanding the battle for legal compensation after a brain injury

March 30, 2012 by  
Filed under BRAIN

IMG_9551.CR2If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury much of your life is likely to change dramatically, things are unlikely to ever be the same again, but there are things you can do that can help make your life as close to normal as possible. Unfortunately these things can often be very costly, even in countries where a lot of medical costs are covered by the government there likely will still be considerable expenses that you need face.

After the shock of the incident has settled it becomes necessary to look at where this money will come from. If your injury occurred due to an accident which was someone else’s fault they may be eligible to help cover the costs of your recovery. This article gives an overview of the law concerning brain injuries that will help you understand the process. Individual cases will always be quite different so if you do need to claim compensation you should always seek advice from a lawyer that has experts in this field personally.

Doctors advice that you should start the rehabilitation process as quickly as possible, a specialist Brain Injury Case Manager will normally be appointed and they can also bring in a neuro-physiotherapy and neuropsychology to help arrange treatment and provide you with consistency through your rehabilitation. You should not delay treatment waiting to see what those responsible for the incident will pay for so prioritize starting your rehabilitation and let your lawyer worry about any compensation. If you struggle to afford the treatment you need your personal injury solicitor should be able to work with your doctor to gain early access to resources through litigation.

The focus of any claim should normally be rehabilitation; your lawyer will work collaboratively with the lawyer of the defendant following a rehabilitation code of practice. If private care is required interim payments can sometimes be secured by your lawyer to help fund this. This focus on rehabilitation looks set to be the way that cases of this nature are dealt with, the association of personal injury lawyers are currently bringing in a Multi-Track code for use in high value cases such as those concerning brain injury. These new guide lines will focus heavily on rehabilitation.

It is essential that you choose a lawyer that has expertise in dealing with head injury cases, one such law firm is Pannone Head injury lawyers and they offer more details about how the legal process works on there website.


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The health hazards of head banging

February 22, 2011 by  
Filed under BRAIN

Head banging is mainstay feature of rock concerts. Performers and spectators alike can do head banging which come in many different styles. Seems like harmless fun. Or is it?

Head banging supposedly started in 1968 at a Led Zepellin concert. Since then it has “developed into a collection of distinctive styles including the up-down, the circular swing, the full body and the side-to-side.”

However, there have been reports in recent years that linked head banging to health hazards that include brain trauma, hearing loss, stroke and trauma to the neck.

So researchers head over to rock concerts and see what it’s all about. Here is what they found.

  • The up-down style was the most common head banging technique, the style one encounters in hard rock and heavy metal concerts of the likes of Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row.
  • The average head banging song has a tempo of about 146 beats per minute.

They then constructed a head model that simulated the head banging and found that injury risk is also increased at tempos of 130 beats per minute with a certain range of motion. When the range of movement of the head and neck is more than 75º, headaches and dizziness could occur. Increasing the tempo and the ranges of motion increases the risk for neck injury.

Of course extreme head banging such as done in the original Led Zepellin concert – fans banging their heads against the stage – even increases the injury risk to the head even more. And hitting against other solid objects, including heads of other fans – well, that should well be avoided.

And what of two of the most famous head bangers, Beavis and Butt-head? When head banging at a tempo of 164 beats per minute to “I Wanna be Sedated” the range of motion of Beavis’ head and neck is about 45º, say the authors, so he would be unlikely to sustain any injury. But the news for Butt-head may not be so rosy. Preferring to head bang at a range of motion of 75º, he may well experience symptoms of headaches and dizziness.

Fortunately, there are sensible musicians out there who include warning against head banging on their album covers and packaging. But if you are really into head banging and can’t do without it, try wearing a helmet and neck braces to the concert!


It’s skiing season – helmets on, please

February 15, 2011 by  
Filed under BRAIN

It is that time of the year gain. All over Switzerland as well as in other parts of Europe, families are heading to the mountains. It is the annual 2-week winter sports holidays school break. Of course the skiing season started long before – late November/early December. But for sure, in the next 2 weeks, the slopes will be crowded with young skiers and snowboarders and sledgers. And for sure, the number of accidents will spike up.

The question comes up every year and no definite answer in sight. Should helmets be mandatory on the snow slopes? I mean, in most countries, motorcycle helmets are mandatory for everyone and bicycle helmets for kids. So why not when skiing or snowboarding?

The well-publicized 2009 fatal accident of actress Natasha Richardson added fuel to the debate in US. In Europe, a fatal accident involving a young mother and a German politician in the same year also attracted a lot of publicity. Some statistics to ponder on:

Almost 1.5 million Americans suffer from brain trauma each year. 50,000 of these cases are fatal. Studies have shown that on the slopes the following account for head injuries (from BBC):

  • 74% – skiers hit their head on the snow
  • 10% – collision with other skiers
  • 13% – collision with fixed objects such as a tree

Can helmets lower the mortality figures?

Here are what the scientists have to say (source: BBC):

In a more report in the British Medical journal:

Ski helmets reduce head injuries by 35% in adults and 59% in children under 13.

According to an Austrian study:

Between 9 and 19% of all skiing injuries reported by Austrian ski patrols and emergency departments are head injuries – and severe head injuries, including traumatic brain injury, are a leading cause of death in winter sports.

Yet another study found that:

Adults and children, of all ages, wearing a helmet while skiing were significantly less likely than those without a helmet to have a head injury.

A lot of people are actually wearing helmets voluntarily. According to the US National Ski Areas Association, 43% of skiers and snowboarders wear helmets. Helmet use is actually popular among well-skilled skiers and obligatory in Austria for skiers under 16.

So what do you think? Should helmets be obligatory?


Love as painkiller?

February 14, 2011 by  
Filed under ADDICTION, BRAIN

Happy Valentines’ Day, everyone!

Love eases all pain. Sounds like a really cliché even on this day of hearts. But surprise, surprise. There is actually science behind this. No less than researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine who tell us – love can be a strong painkiller. Even as strong cocaine!

According to Dr. Sean Mackey, chief of the Division of Pain Management:

“When people are in this passionate, all-consuming phase of love, there are significant alterations in their mood that are impacting their experience of pain. We’re beginning to tease apart some of these reward systems in the brain and how they influence pain. These are very deep, old systems in our brain that involve dopamine — a primary neurotransmitter that influences mood, reward and motivation.”

The research was actually a collaboration between 2 scientists with seemingly contrasting fields of study. One specializes in pain, the other one.

The researchers had the perfect place for conducting their research. The university setting is full of undergraduates who are “in that first phase of intense love”. In other words, there was no shortage of willing and eligible volunteers. The prerequisite: the subject must be in the first 9 months of a romance.

“It was clearly the easiest study the pain center at Stanford has ever recruited for” said Dr. Mackey.”When you’re in love you want to tell everybody about it.”

The study entailed that each subject should take photos of their beloved person as well as photos of attractive acquaintances. The subjects were shown the photos while attached to a thermal stimulator that simulated mild pain. At the same time, an MRI took a photo of the brains of the subjects.

The results indicate that feelings of love when looking at photos of a loved one significantly reduces pain. The part of the brain in question was the “nucleus accumbens, a key reward addiction center for opioids, cocaine and other drugs of abuse. The region tells the brain that you really need to keep doing this.”

Which relates to another cliché – that love is like an addiction. Indeed, the areas of the brain activated by passionate love are the same areas targeted by analgesic drugs to reduce pain and feel good.

“When thinking about your beloved, there is intense activation in the reward area of the brain — the same area that lights up when you take cocaine, the same area that lights up when you win a lot of money.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.