2012 June Archive

Study Shows Re-Routing Spinal Cord Signals Enabled Paralyzed Rats to Move

By Cullan & Cullan on June 28, 2012 - Comments off

A new study conducted by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology restored movement in paralyzed rats with a combination of electrical stimulation, drugs, and willpower-based training. With the aid of chemical injections, electrodes, and a chocolate reward, researchers re-routed signals from the rats’ brains to their spinal cords, which motivated them to walk voluntarily, supporting their entire weight on their hind legs. One of the study’s co-authors notes that because the rats actively participated in the tasks, the brain was actively involved and challenged to find new ways of controlling the hind limbs, which ultimately will form new nerve connections.

The research, which began five years ago at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, builds on a recently published case in which a paralyzed young man regained standing and some voluntary leg movements after being trained on a treadmill using electrical stimulation. Experts note that the new treatment developed in the study may not necessarily work on humans. However, a chairman of neurosurgery at Houston’s Methodist Neurological Institute notes that the study is “a significant contribution to understanding the biological mechanisms underlying the generation of [movement] due to spinal cord injury.” Read the rest »

Summer Travel Safety in Nebraska: The Dangers of Underinflated Tires

By Cullan & Cullan on June 26, 2012 - Comments off

NE Summer Travel Safety TipsWith the anticipated arrival of the summer season, many Nebraskans are making plans for a seasonal adventure or two. As a number of summer excursions may involve a fun road trip, it is imperative for NE residents who may be hitting the open road to ensure their vehicle and all of its vital parts are in excellent working condition in order to avoid a serious Nebraska auto accident.

One of the most important components of any motor vehicle is its tires, and new information from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that underinflated tires are a factor in a number of accidents. The NHTSA estimates that underinflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. In addition to being dangerous, underinflated tires waste more than 1 billion gallons of gasoline each year. Read the rest »

Nebraska Birth Injury Information: What is a Placental Cerebral Infarction?

By Cullan & Cullan on June 22, 2012 - Comments off

NE Birth Injury Cerebral PalsyA birth injury is any injury that occurs to a baby during delivery and is typically caused by medical negligence. A very dangerous type of birth injury is a placental cerebral infarction, which affects the flow of blood from the placenta to the fetus. As a form of cerebral hypoxia (which is a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain), this birth injury reduces the supply of oxygen to the baby’s brain during operative surgery or various stages of development. Placental cerebral infarction can result in cerebral palsy or other disabilities depending on which area of the brain is damaged due to the reduced oxygen.

Causes of Placental Cerebral Infarction

A fetus’ supply of oxygen can be affected both during pregnancy or the labor and delivery. There are a number of problems during pregnancy that may cause placental cerebral infarction, including: fetal anemia; lung malformations; cardiac disease; maternal diabetes; congenital fetal infections; and preeclampsia. In addition, when a doctor performs a Caesarian section or another operative surgery, certain problems may result in cerebral hypoxia, such as a physician failing to respond to a mother’s low blood pressure. Read the rest »

Master Complaint Filed Against NFL Alleging Brain Injury Information Hidden

By Cullan & Cullan on June 19, 2012 - Comments off

According to an ESPN.com report, scores of lawsuits involving thousands of former National Football League (NFL) players affected by brain injuries and concussions have been consolidated into one master complaint, which may result in a very costly case for the organization. Attorneys for the players filed the complaint in federal court in Philadelphia, and the lawsuit names more than 3,000 plaintiffs with an estimated 2,500 players among that total and the remainder being made up of wives filing for loss of spousal support. The master complaint is a standard part of multidistrict litigation which allows for the consolidation of lawsuits that have common factual issues and allows for more efficient handling of pretrial issues.

The master complaint accuses the NFL of failing to provide information linking football-related head trauma to debilitating long-term health issues, such as brain damage and irreparable memory loss. The official complaint charges that the NFL was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows that produce concussive and sub-concussive results, and that certain members of the NFL player population were at a significant risk for developing “long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result.” In addition, the complaint alleges that the NFL turned a blind-eye to the risks of repeat concussions and failed to warn players and enforce appropriate safety regulations to protect its players. Read the rest »

Physicians Failing to Review Hospital Test Results Can Be Dangerous for Patients

By Cullan & Cullan on June 14, 2012 - Comments off

NE Diagnosis Mistake InjuryA new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows the potential dangers of doctors not reviewing hospital test results. The study, which examined two hospitals, concluded that 40 percent of the hospitals’ patients were discharged pending test results. Of these cases, 10 percent of the results may have led to a change in treatment or a completely new diagnosis. The physicians were unaware of over 60 percent of the results, some of which required urgent action. Ultimately, doctors failing to review test results after a patient has been discharged can result in delays in diagnosis and cause other detrimental consequences.

According to DigitalJournal.com, a recent case in New York of delayed diagnosis illustrates the dangers of physicians not reviewing post-discharge test results. A healthy 30-year-old man experiencing severe abdominal pain was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Following a CT scan, exploratory surgery, and a series of blood tests, the doctors were unable to find the cause of the pain and eventually discharged the man as the pain became manageable with oral medicine. Read the rest »

Celebrate Safely This Summer in Nebraska with Fireworks Safety Tips

By Cullan & Cullan on June 12, 2012 - Comments off

The beautiful Nebraska summer bring a number of opportunities to celebrate with friends and family, and fireworks are always a mainstay at this season’s celebrations. Though all fireworks provide an array of visual delights, one of the most popular to use year-round are sparklers. These inexpensive, hand-held fireworks that provide a miniature light show are fun for people of all ages, but if not handled properly, they may cause serious injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that 16 percent of all fireworks-related injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs, with the majority of injuries happening to children.

As June is National Fireworks Safety Month, Intercare.org offers these safety tips for Nebraskans who may make sparklers a part of their seasonal celebrations:

  1. If you have little ones, sparklers should only be used by children under close adult supervision to avoid a child injury accident. Show children how to hold sparklers away from their body at arm’s length, and teach them to not wave sparklers or run with them. Those looking after children should not hold a child in their arms while using a sparkler. Read the rest »

School Van, Truck Head-On Collision in NE Leaves Two High School Coaches Dead

By Cullan & Cullan on June 8, 2012 - Comments off

A tragic accident on a rural highway in Central Nebraska claimed the lives of two high school coaches as well as the driver of the pickup truck involved in the collision, according to an Associated Press news report. The Nebraska traffic crash occurred on June 1 when a school van carrying high school basketball players collided with a pickup truck on Highway 2 near Ansley, approximately 160 miles west of Lincoln. The westbound school van was driving students from Broken Bow High School home from a basketball clinic in Kearney when an eastbound truck crossed the centerline and hit the van head-on.

The Nebraska State Patrol reports that both the 38-year-old assistant coach, who was driving the van, and the 24-year-old head coach, who was his front seat passenger, were killed. The 70-year-old driver of the pickup truck died as a result of the collision as well. Eight of the boys in the school van were taken to area hospitals for treatment, including two students who were treated and released. According to the school district, one student was hospitalized in critical condition, another was being treated for a broken femur and elbow, and another was receiving treatment for fractures. Read the rest »

Abbott Labs to Pay $1.5 Billion Settlement in Depakote Drug Marketing Case

By Cullan & Cullan on June 5, 2012 - Comments off

NE Depakote Drug IllnessAccording to a news report in The Baltimore Sun, Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay $1.5 billion in criminal fines, civil settlements, and forfeiture after pleading guilty in a case concerning allegations of illegal drug marketing. The Illinois-based company will pay $100 million to 44 states, as well as Washington D.C., where officials claimed the company marked Depakote for uses other than those approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Depakote is considered safe and effective for the treatment of seizure disorders, migraines, and mania associated with bipolar disorder, but Abbott was accused of marketing the drug for autism, agitated dementia, and schizophrenia.

This sizeable settlement is considered the largest multi-state consumer protection-based pharmaceutical settlement ever reached. Abbott has agreed to stop promoting the unapproved uses of Depakote and making false or misleading claims about the drug. Also, the company’s scientists, not their sales staff, will develop medical content for doctors and limit distribution of studies relating to the drug’s unapproved uses, in addition to other steps. Abbott said in a statement that they fully cooperated with the investigation, and as a result have established “robust compliance programs to ensure its marketing programs meet the needs of health care providers and legal requirements.” Read the rest »