Traumatic Brain Injury Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Over a period of time, traumatic brain injury contributes to a number of long-term health consequences that may be irrevocable. A new study, that analyzed data involving thousands of patients with traumatic brain injury, also links TBI to an enhanced risk of stroke.

Stroke is typically associated with the above 65 group, but a significant number, or approximately 20% of strokes every year involve persons in the under 65 category. Scientists for a while now have been at a loss to understand why strokes occur in people below 65 years of age.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School analyzed data involving more than 400,000 people who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and more than 700,000 people who had suffered trauma, but no brain injury. All of these people had been treated in hospitals in California between 2005 and 2009, and the average age of the patients in the study was 49.2 years.

The researchers analyzed the risk of suffering a stroke among the persons who had suffered a brain injury over 28 months after the injury, and found that more than 11,000 people in the brain injury group or 1.1% suffered a stroke in the months after the injury. In the other group, the stroke risk was just about 0.9%.

According to the researchers, that is a statistically significant difference, because people in the below 65 year age group typically are not prime candidates for a stroke.

However, the researchers have stopped short of confirming a cause-and-effect relationship between stroke and brain injury. More studies are needed to investigate whether the increased stroke risk is due to an artery damaged by the injury, or is the result of stress or other factors.

Caltrans Warns Motorists of Accident Risks from Road Debris

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Many car accidents in California every year involve not two vehicles that collided with each other, but vehicles colliding with or trying to avoid pieces of debris that fall off pickup trucks and other vehicles. The California Department of Transportation is again warning motorists of the accident risks that come when they collide with road debris.

Road debris is a huge issue in California, and according to the Department of Transportation, each year, millions of pounds of debris are collected by dump trucks. Much of the debris constitutes typical items that are found in a California household. Debris may consist of mattresses, bathtubs, computers, stoves and ovens, clothes, shoes and every other item that you can think of. These items typically fall off pickup trucks when they're being transported, and then simply lie on the road, posing a serious accident hazard to unsuspecting motorists.

Road debris must not be underestimated as an accident hazard. There have been serious, and even fatal accidents involving motorists who either collided with the debris, or met with an accident when they were trying to avoid a piece of road debris. For instance, in 2006, a California Highway Patrol officer was killed in an accident when he was trying to avoid a stove that was falling off a pickup truck.

For the California Department of Department of Transportation and other public agencies, clearing up road debris is equally as hazardous. The Department of Transportation advises motorists to drive slowly and drop speeds when they see road debris, and then pull over and call 911. If necessary, change lanes to avoid the debris. Don't panic and don’t make an emergency maneuver that can increase your risk of being involved in an accident.

New Study Investigates Safer Child Behaviors around Dogs

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Every year, approximately 4.5 million people in the United States suffer dog bite related injuries. A majority of those victims are children below the age of five. Children are not only the biggest victims of dog bites in the United States, but also some of the most seriously injured victims, because they have little protection to guard against catastrophic or devastating injuries during a vicious attack.

Often, these injuries are caused when children, who are naturally trusting, and curious, try to pet a strange dog. However, these injuries can also be caused when a child is playing with a family pet or some other familiar dog. Whether the attack involves a strange dog or a familiar dog, it is very important that children are trained to behave appropriately around dogs.

A major part of behaving appropriately around dogs is to recognize when dogs may be threatened or aggressive. A new study that is being conducted in the United Kingdom, aims at reducing a number of dog bite attacks involving children by educating them to recognize the warning signs displayed by a dog that’s feeling threatened.

In the research, the scientists are investigating how children between the age of three and five interpret the signals that are displayed by dogs that are feeling threatened or aggressive. A dog may treat a child’s friendly overtures as signs of hostility or aggression, and may feel threatened as a result. Such dogs are much more likely to attack a child.

According to the researchers, very often, these attacks occur because children are not able to integrate those warning signs appropriately. The scientists are currently testing children between the age of three and five on how they interpret signals, like a dog's body language and other signs. They believe this will help them to gain insight into a child’s thought processes, and can help change child behaviors around animals.

Pilot Inexperience Being Investigated As Cause of San Francisco Plane Crash

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Investigations into the plane crash at San Francisco International Airport that killed two passengers of an Asiana Airlines flight have begun. Those investigations are now focusing on the lack of experience of the pilot of the Asian Airlines plane.

The pilot was still in training on the Boeing 777, and had never landed a Boeing 777 at San Francisco Airport before. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate this angle further, but it is not rare for pilots to have varying levels of experience on a new plane. The pilot in this particular case had logged 43 hours flying the 777 jetliner, over a total of nine flights. It takes experience of 60 hours and 10 flights for a pilot to be considered fully qualified for flying the 777 jetliner. However, the pilot had more than 9,700 hours of experience flying a number of other jetliners included the Airbus A320. The co-pilot, in this case, had logged more than 3,000 hours of experience flying the 777.

So far, it seems that the plane clipped a portion of the sea wall, when it descended, and bounced around the runway before finally crashing in a field. At this point, it is also clear that the plane descended significantly lower than the 150 mph targeted speed, and it also appears that the pilot and co-pilot tried to abort the landing just a few seconds before the crash.

Two female passengers, both of them 16 years old were killed in the crash, and it is believed that they were ejected from the plane. Investigators are also probing whether one of the girls was run over by a fire truck that was racing to help the plane, which burst into flames as soon as it crashed landed.

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