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Drugs & Brain Injury

The big headline for the past few days has been Lamar Odom, former NBA player, who remains on life support in a hospital in Las Vegas. The famous athlete is known to have consumed a number of questionable substances before he was discovered, unresponsive, on the floor. Most people tend to assume that brain damage stems from a forceful physical impact, such as a car crash, but there are many possible causes.
It’s no secret that drugs alter the perceptions of those who use them. It is less commonly known that some drugs can cause neurological damage – drugs such as cocaine, rohypnol (roofies), MDMA and Methamphetamines. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, possible negative side effects of such drugs include seizures, strokes and general damage affecting everyday life. It’s alarming to learn that one ‘fun weekend’ could lead to permanent brain damage, not to mention death.
As tragic as Odom’s situation is, our local Virginia communities can learn from it. There are numerous synthetic and cocktail drugs available in the Hampton Roads area, drugs that are not tested or approved, with absolutely no long-term research to look to. Some of these products are available in stores, and of course online. With so many unknown substances being marketed to us constantly, it is inevitable that injuries will occur. We can only hope that we collectively recognize the danger associated with such products, and keep praying for Odom’s recovery.

Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer
Virginia brain injury attorney Richard Serpe has protected the rights of innocent victims for over 29 years. If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, we can help you.
We are prepared to handle cases in Hampton Roads […]

By |October 19th, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on Drugs & Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

We often hear about the damage contact sports like football causes the brain. Much more common, however, are brain injuries caused by car accidents. These injuries can be deceiving, as they often do not show symptoms until long after the initial incident occurred. And unlike athletes with traumatic brain injuries, we don’t wear protective head gear when behind the wheel. Seat belts and air bags are life savers, but should your head hit the dashboard, you could be even more seriously injured than you expected.

Closed Head Injuries
Many traumatic brain injuries are considered to be closed head injuries. This means that the injury occurred within the head, with no outward signs of trauma. With no blood, scars or other indicators of injury, many concussions get dismissed too easily. What’s happening inside the head is much scarier. A closed head injury means that the brain has forcefully struck the inside of the skull.

Symptoms Can Be Misleading
Brain injuries can be misleading in their symptoms, too. Physical symptoms like fatigue and headaches can be easily explained away by not getting enough sleep or caffeine. Cognitive symptoms like struggling with multitasking or short-term memory loss are also rarely taken seriously on their own. Emotional symptoms like depression, anxiety or impulsive behaviors can be confused for other mental health issues.

Don’t Delay Treatment
If you’ve been in a car accident and experience any of these kinds of symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately. Even if you’re sure you don’t have a serious injury, it’s best to get checked out by a doctor who can spot TBI and help you recover and treat the symptoms. Don’t hesitate – seeing a doctor could save your life

Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer – Richard Serpe
On a case by case […]

By |September 28th, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Beyond Football: Concussions Possible in All Sports

With the end of summer comes America’s favorite season: the return of football. Many youngsters will take to the fields ready to tackle and take hits in the name of their favorite sport. Parents are aware of the risks associated with the sport, as youth football injuries have been widely studied and reported on through the years. A new article in the New York Times says more parents should be aware: it’s not just football causing concussions in athletes. Nearly every sport can lead to mild traumatic brain injuries.
Most people believe that concussions only occur when someone loses consciousness. Not so, says the New York Times. 90 percent of concussions do not result in loss of consciousness and victims often only experience a few moments of mental disruptions. It’s easy to shake these symptoms off as “getting your bell rung,” as coaches would describe such injuries in decades past. Now, we know that these injuries are indeed considered to be mild traumatic brain injuries.
Hitting your head isn’t the only way to have a concussion. Simple whiplash can be enough to send the brain colliding into the skull, causing real and often lasting damage.
Experts say that the traditional test for concussions – a five minute test done on the sidelines of athletic fields – can miss up to 40 percent of brain injuries. One test simply does not cover enough ground. Multiple kinds of tests can diagnose closer to 90 percent of concussions. But with the pressure of the game pushing coaches, parents and players alike, student athletes are often sent back onto the field or court without real confirmation of injury – or lack thereof.
Talk with your children’s coaches about your concerns about safety. Ensure that […]

By |August 31st, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on Beyond Football: Concussions Possible in All Sports
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    New Study Provides Insight into the Brain Injury Healing Process

New Study Provides Insight into the Brain Injury Healing Process

For patients with brain injuries, doctors have always stressed rest, rest, and more rest. However, the results of a new study led by a dedicated nurse in the Cleveland Clinic’s Neurointensive Care Unit may contradict traditional thinking in this area.
While getting up and being active after any other injury is strongly encouraged, those suffering from brain injuries have been commonly confined to their beds. Nurse Kate Klein found this peculiar, and so she decided to design a study of her own to find out if rest really was the best medicine for her patients. Klein found that her brain injury patients that got up and moved early and often after their injuries had shorter stays in the ICU and the hospital. Her research helped to make lasting changes in the Neurointensive Care Unit at the Cleveland Clinic. Ceiling mounted lifts were installed at each bedside in the unit, which help nurses with moving patients who are unable to sit, stand, or walk on their own.
The science behind this discovery is not completely known, but scientists believe that it has to do with how neural synapses change and adapt. Research done with animals has shown that their brains have heightened neuroplasticity (which is the ability of the brain to reorganize and form new neural connections) immediately after a brain injury. With this in mind, researchers believe that by having patients get up and out of bed, making them more alert, and exposing them to familiar situations, they can help jumpstart the recovery process. However, there’s still much more to be learned about the brain and how to best treat injuries.
You can check out the full story, covered by NPR, online. And for more information about […]

By |July 9th, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on New Study Provides Insight into the Brain Injury Healing Process

White Matter Brain Injuries Cause Depression, Anxiety

Scientists have known for years the damage that can be done by head trauma. Physical and mental problems can plague people for years after a bump to the head. Though this has been widely accepted by the medical community, scientists are only just now beginning to understand the reasons why concussions have such long-term effects on the body. reports that a new study published in the Radiological Society of North America offers insight into the mystery. The scientists compared the brains of those who suffered depression and anxiety as the result of a concussion with the brains of people who also had concussions, but no depressive symptoms. The results were clear: the depressed patients had brains similar to people whose mental illness was not caused by brain injuries.
This is likely, the research says, due to decreased functionality of white matter in the brain. It’s the portion of the brain linked to the reward centers, as well as the vermis, which helps regulate our fears.
The good news is that people suffering depressive symptoms following a brain injury can use techniques used by non-trauma patients, like therapy and medication, to help ease the pain of depression and anxiety.
As common as brain injuries are, scientists are truly only just now beginning to understand their effects on the body. As more research is done, we can expect better treatment options and a greater understanding of how to prevent such injuries. This study certainly has long reaching ramifications for doctors and patients alike.

Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer
Richard Serpe has helped victims of personal injuries and families affected by a wrongful death for over 29 years. If you suffered a brain injury due do to someone else’s negligence, you have legal rights. […]

By |June 17th, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on White Matter Brain Injuries Cause Depression, Anxiety

Children with Concussions Likely to Have Academic Problems

A new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics shows that high school students may face significant learning problems following concussions. The study, which included 349 students aged 5 to 18, determined just how difficult it is for students to learn after experiencing head injuries.
The study determined that the severity of the concussion symptoms were directly related to future academic performance. 88% of students not fully recovered from their symptoms experienced problems with concentration, fatigue and headaches. 77% of those children also had problems taking notes, studying and completing homework assignments.
The study went on to suggest that more communication needs to be done between healthcare providers and educators to bridge the gap that these students are facing.
Many student athletes face concussions and other head injuries while playing sports like football and soccer. Concussions are caused by blows to the head, falls, or any movement that might cause the head and brain to move too quickly. Symptoms of concussions can include headaches, nausea, irritability, fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, sadness, sleep issues and a lack of balance.
Studies like this one show just how impactful a head injury can be on a young person’s life. Most people can recover from mild concussions fairly quickly, but elderly people and children can often suffer greater long term effects. With high pressure classes and future-deciding games on the line for these students, their health often takes a back seat. But given the long term effects concussions can have on a person’s life, parents, teachers, coaches and students alike need to be more knowledgeable about the risks taken on the field.

By |May 15th, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on Children with Concussions Likely to Have Academic Problems

Trusts Protect Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors

Advocacy Wealth Management’s Thomas Johnson explains Trust services designed to conserve settlement funds.
Nearly all survivors of a serious injury have special needs, perhaps none more so than those with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some of the challenges that present themselves both to the injured person with a TBI and to the injured person’s family are:

Gaps in knowledge or memory;
Unpredictable behavior including impulsiveness and rage;
Predatory relatives or “friends”;
Inability to manage activities of daily living.

At Advocacy Wealth Management, we believe that it is crucial to understand the family dynamics around all of our injured clients. For a person with TBI, in particular, we want to have a clear answer as to whether our injured client needs protection from himself, family, or friends. In our practice, the answer is almost always yes.
Given that our client may live a very long life, our role then becomes to protect and conserve his or her settlement so that it can enhance the client’s quality of life, for life. In many cases, we will recommend that a trust be included in the overall settlement plan with language in the trust document that protects the client from himself, family, and friends.
If public benefits, such as Medicaid, are paying for custodial care and ongoing medical needs, we will likely recommend a Special Needs Trust (SNT). An SNT can hold the settlement funds for the well-being of the injured while preserving the benefits Medicaid offers over the injured person’s lifetime. Upon the termination of the trust either during life or upon death, Medicaid has first claim on any assets that remain in the trust up to the total amount of Medicaid benefits paid to care for the injured person during life.
Another kind of […]

By |March 30th, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on Trusts Protect Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors

$3,500,000.00 – Richmond Maritime Accident that led to Brain Injury

$3,500,000.00 – Richmond Maritime Accident that led to TBI

By |March 24th, 2015|Cases Won|Comments Off on $3,500,000.00 – Richmond Maritime Accident that led to Brain Injury

Brain Injuries Remain Mystery to Doctors, Scientists

Our military servicemen and women are rightfully treated as American heroes. They volunteer to fight for our freedoms, taking on any sacrifice asked of them to protect our country. When they return home, however, their fight is not over: too often, veterans experience brain injuries that affect daily life long after they’ve left the combat zone. Though VA hospitals do their best to help treat such injuries, much is still unknown about the way symptoms of head trauma manifest.
Medical researchers are currently trying to understand how blast force brain injuries – most frequently sustained in combat situations – result in brain damage. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are common causes of such injuries, and those who survive such explosions are likely to suffer brain damage. By further researching this kind of injuries, researchers hope to create better methods of treatment. Indeed, blast force brain injuries have been around since the days of World War I – known then as shell shock – and can result in everything from sleep disorders to memory problems.
One researcher noted the lack of proximity to exploding WWI shells to soldiers experiencing shell shock. Many men had not been close to the explosions, yet still experienced brain injuries. These injuries often went undiagnosed, as soldiers often did not appear to be physically wounded. This common problem still occurs today, with many head traumas being easily dismissed. From the ball field to the combat zone, concussions and other brain injuries cannot be taken lightly. Athletes and soldiers alike can be in for a lifetime of pain that can be traced back to traumatic brain injuries.

By |March 24th, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on Brain Injuries Remain Mystery to Doctors, Scientists

National Brain Injury Awareness Month Celebrated

You might not know it, but March is the National Brain Injury Awareness Month. Created to shine a spotlight on injuries that can’t typically be spotted by the naked eye, National Brain Injury Awareness Month helps us better understand how brain injuries happen – and how they affect those who sustain them. Indeed, most people suffering from traumatic brain injury, or TBI, look completely healthy. Daily life, however, can change dramatically for those with brain injuries.

There are three kinds of brain injuries: mild, moderate and severe. All three can result in major personality changes, changes in energy levels and sleep patterns. More dramatic effects include increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Tragically, traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death for people ages one through 44.

Brain injuries can occur through a variety of ways. Student athletes are especially at risk if they play sports like football or soccer, which require the physical use of the head to play. Military servicemen and women are often at risk of brain injuries while in combat zones. In fact, post-traumatic stress disorder can coincide with TBI, causing a host of problems for veterans. Car accidents are also a common cause of brain injuries.

Brain injuries are more common than one might think, with 52,000 brain injury related deaths occurring each year. Sources estimate that there are about 5.2 million Americans living with TBI disabilities today. There are countless others who bump their heads and never seek out medical treatment

By |March 2nd, 2015|Brain Injury Blog|Comments Off on National Brain Injury Awareness Month Celebrated