According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, although the majority of concussions that are diagnosed annually occur in children, clinical guidelines are usually based on adult concussion sufferers. The lack of guidelines may limit the ability of pediatricians to accurately predict the duration of a child’s symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, and concentration problems — which can interfere with school and other activities.

In many concussion cases, concussion symptoms last only a few days. However, up to 25 percent of children have prolonged concussion symptoms which can last for months.

Concussion Symptom Saliva Test Study Presented at Annual Meeting

New research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting suggests that a saliva test for children may offer answers as to how long concussion symptoms will last. Researchers presented an abstract of the study, “Peripheral microRNA patterns predict prolonged concussion symptoms in pediatric patients.” The PAS Meeting is produced through a partnership of four organizations: Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Pediatric Society, and Society for Pediatric Research.

Continue Reading Saliva Test Predicts Prolonged Concussion Symptoms in Children

A recent study found that concussions in adolescents can increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life. The risk increased substantially if the individual had suffered multiple head injuries as an adolescent.

What Causes MS?

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that “disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.” Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process whereby the body’s immune system responds abnormally, targeting the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Within the central nervous system, the immune system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers, and the nerve fibers themselves. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue, which impacts and interrupts nerve impulses to and from the brain and spinal cord.

Continue Reading Study Finds Link Between Concussions in Adolescents and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

A recent study evaluated the impact of financial compensation on late mortality after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The findings suggest that compensation may reduce late mortality risk.

To determine the impact of financial compensation on long-term mortality in adults with severe TBI, the outcomes of 2545 adults discharged from three post-acute inpatient rehabilitation services were analyzed. Compensation data were available for 1851 participants, with 826 receiving financial compensation. The study noted that yearly standardized mortality ratios were elevated above general population norms for six to ten years in both groups.

Continue Reading Impact of Financial Compensation on Late Mortality After TBI

A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health noted a significant decrease in recurrent concussions among high school athletes following the implementation of laws in many states relating to sports play.

As reported by Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research, these laws aim to reduce harm from brain injuries occurring during youth sports activities. They address such factors as removal from play following injury, requirements for return-to-play clearance after a concussion, and education of coaches, parents, and athletes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 300,000 youths suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or concussions while playing sports each year. TBIs can cause serious health consequences in children, which may be short-term or lifelong.

In response to these injuries, all states have passed laws for the purpose of reducing brain injuries during youth sports play. Data is now available to analyze the possible impact of those laws on reducing brain injuries in children.

Continue Reading Fewer Recurrent Concussions Among School Athletes Following Implementation of State Laws

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause cognitive, behavioral, and physical limitations, and impact an individual’s ability to return to work, reintegrate into the community and live independently.

A new study will undertake a systematic review of the predictive nature of discharge settings following acute care of TBI patients. Researchers believe the results of this review will aid healthcare providers, and TBI patients and their families, in making informed discharge decisions to the next level of care.

Continue Reading Is the Discharge Destination for Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury Predictive of Recovery?

Data from a recent study show that the use of golf carts has caused significant injuries in children under the age of 17, including brain injuries. Golf carts are somewhat inaccurately named as their use goes far beyond the golf course.

Golf carts are used in many communities in addition to golf courses, including retirement communities, farms, and shore communities. In fact, while many golf cart-related injuries do occur on the golf course, up to 30 percent occur on public streets, yards, and farms. In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, golf carts are exempt from registration requirements. There are few regulations relating to them.

Study Shows Increasing Number of Golf Cart Injuries

Researchers evaluated approximately 100 children under age 17 treated in Pennsylvania trauma centers for injuries sustained in golf cart accidents over an 11-year period.

Twenty seven percent of the children injured in golf cart accidents suffered a concussion. The risk for concussion was found to be higher for children ages six to 11, compared with kids under six. Twenty five to 30 percent sustained intracranial injury and brain bleeding. One child died.

Continue Reading Should Children Be Driving Golf Carts?

Bruce Stern’s Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog has been nominated for participation in The Expert Institute’s 2017 Best Legal Blog Contest.

Nominees were divided into nine categories ranging from criminal law to legal technology. With an open voting format that allows participants one vote per blog, each blog will be ranked within their category by the number of votes they receive. The three blogs that receive the most votes in each category will be declared the winners in those categories and will earn a permanent position in the Institute’s Best Legal Blogs Hall of Fame.

Voting began on September 25 and continues until November 4th.

Readers can submit one vote per blog, but can vote for as many blogs as they like across every category.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog’s voting page is here.

About The Expert Institute: Founded in 2011, The Expert Institute is a technology-driven platform for connecting qualified experts in every field with lawyers, investment firms, and journalists looking for technical expertise and guidance.

A recent Opinion Page article in the New York Times discusses the implications of covert consciousness on patients’ rights. Covert consciousness is a state of consciousness that cannot be detected by bedside examination. The author pointedly asks: “If there is a legal obligation to educate the developing brain, should there not be a correlative responsibility to those whose brains are in a process of redevelopment and recovery?”

The author writes about a patient who was participating in a study of patients with severe brain injury who exhibited the ability to use her left eye to answer simple yes or no questions with an eye tracking device. The young woman had suffered a complex stroke while in college and had been thought to be in a permanently unconscious “vegetative state.” She was subsequently found to be in the “minimally conscious state,” capable of demonstrating intention, attention, and memory.

Continue Reading Civil Rights of Minimally Conscious Patients