We’ve all heard the story – a woman ordered a McDonald’s coffee and tried to hold it between her legs while driving. It spilled. She sued; and then won millions of dollars in the “lottery” of personal injury cases.
In our fast-paced world of rear-end collisions, violence, and competitive sports, the word “concussion” has become almost commonplace.
Many of us realize that there could be some potential complications, but you just have to get checked out, rest for a while, and then you’re fine…right?
A new study published in the medical journal Neurology, indicates that concussions may have longer-lasting consequences than we originally thought.
This is big news for victims of car or workplace accidents. Our NC accident lawyers will tell you: try to make sure all future needs are calculated into any settlement you reach with an insurance company after an accident.
Quick Definition of Concussion
A concussion is a mild version of a “Traumatic Brain Injury” or “TBI.” They often cause short-term cognitive changes (such as memory loss) as well as other complications, including blurred vision and balance problems.
TBI’s are a serious problem in the United States. In fact, the Center for Disease Control CDC reports that brain injuries cause around a third of all deaths due to injury in the United States.
According to the Mayo Clinic falls, car accidents and violence are top causes of trauma to the head.
Study Results: Brain Changes Linger After Head Injury
The study Neurology published was conducted by researchers at the University of New Mexico, who observed 26 patients who had suffered concussions and compared their results to 26 healthy control subjects.
Each of the subjects was given a diffusion MRI, a specific type of medical test that observes the movement of water and other molecules through the brain. The purpose is to track the underlying architecture and structure of the brain. The test can be more sensitive and reveal more potential abnormalities or changes to brain function than a traditional MRI or a CT-scan.
The concussion patients were given the test within 14 days of their injury and were then retested four months after.
In the case of the concussion victims, the diffusion MRI revealed something troubling. Even four months after the time when the concussion occurred, the brain injury victims still had 10% more fractional anisotropy (FA) within the gray matter in their prefrontal cortexes as compared with study participants who had not experienced a recent trauma to the head.
This data suggests that the brain may be slow to return to normal after a concussion.
However, it is not clear exactly why this delay occurs:
One possibility is that the increased FA is simply a result of the healing functions of the brain – like scar tissue.
Other possibilities, however, are less positive. Some explanations say that the increased FA might have occurred due to the aftereffects of fluid accumulation caused by the concussion; or that the increased FA occurred because the concussion caused a change in the shape of the brain’s structural cells.
The results also indicated that concussion victims may not recover as quickly as expected.
Those who had recent concussions performed slightly worse than healthy patients on tests of cognitive function and memory.
More research is clearly needed to determine the true long-term impact of trauma to the brain.
Victims of serious accidents involving head trauma need to be aware that they could experience long-term complications, and are at-risk for dementia and other health problems that can result from repeated trauma.
If you’ve been injured, make sure your insurance company is taking your future needs seriously. Have a professional review your case.
In 2012 alone, teen drivers in North Carolina crashed more than 40,000 times – resulting in 9,000 injuries and 71 deaths (according to the NC DMV).
That is a lot of car accidents.
But what if half of those accidents could be prevented?
According to a recent study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, all it may take is a little more instruction from parents.
The study reported that teens were half as likely to crash and 71% less likely to drink and drive if their parents helped teach them how to drive.
In addition, teens were two times more likely to wear their seat belt and 30% less likely to use a cell phone while driving. North Carolina is taking these statistics seriously and unveiled a new safety campaign aimed at getting parents more involved.
NC’s “Parent’s Supervised Driving Program”
Fox 8 reported in December that the North Carolina’s Division of Motor Vehicles launched the safety campaign with a goal of boosting the amount and quality of training teen drivers receive from their parents.
The campaign, called the “Parent’s Supervised Driving Program,” encourages parents to go beyond the required 72 hours of supervised driving time and offers a number of important tips, advice, and other supportive materials for parents who are taking their teens on the road for driving lessons.
Under the Parent’s Supervised Driving Program campaign, teen drivers will be given a written curriculum for their parents when they obtain their learner’s permit. Fox 8 said that this curriculum contains helpful information for parents to make the most of their supervised time together, such as when and where they should take their teens driving.
You can even download their “RoadReady” app that tracks distance traveled, road types, and road conditions against each state’s specific driving requirements.
The campaign has been rolled out in several other states and operates entirely off of corporate sponsors.
Parents Need to Get Involved
Despite the evidence illustrating how much teen drivers can benefit from increased supervision while learning how to drive, the Parent’s Supervised Driving Program found that only 4% of parents used a resource while teaching their child how to drive and that parents often stop the supervised driving process early or overestimate the time they have spent supervising their teen.
It’s clear that increased parental supervision can go a long way toward preventing accidents, and we encourage all parents to take a more active role in training their teens how to drive. You can do your part to make North Carolina roads safe for everyone.