Thursday, 28 April 2011

Study Suggests Antidepressants Can Help Treat TBI

A new study indicates to Los Angeles brain injury lawyers that the use of antidepressants, common after a brain injury because of the high risk of depression among these patients, may not only help treat these emotional problems, but also actually treat the brain injury itself.

Depression is a frequent side effect of a traumatic brain injury, and doctors have typically prescribed antidepressants to help patients with these symptoms. However, this study shows that antidepressants can not only help treat symptoms of depression, but also help brain cells survive and thrive, which is critical for the treatment of brain injury.

In the study, whose results have been published in the Journal of Neurotrauma this month, researchers found that mice with brain injuries showed substantially improved memory, and increased brain function after they were treated with antidepressants. The researchers induced traumatic brain injury in the mice, and treated them with antidepressants. They found that after about four weeks, the mice that had been treated with antidepressants showed 70% more brain cells than those mice that did not receive the antidepressant therapy.

The researchers also conducted an object recognition test to understand whether the antidepressants contributed to any enhanced brain functioning. The mice were shown new objects, and the researchers analyzed how long the mice stared at the objects. If the mice stared at a particular object for a long time, then it indicated enhanced memory, because of the novelty of the object. The researchers found that the mice that were given the antidepressant therapy spent an average of about 15% more time looking at the new objects. However, the researchers also found that the use of antidepressants didn't seem to help much with mobility and motor functions.

More research is needed to confirm the benefits of antidepressant therapy on the treatment of TBI. These initial findings look promising, and could possibly benefit patients with mild or moderate brain injury.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Poll Shows Most Americans Want Hospitals to Be Frank about Errors, Infections

When it comes to hospital safety, most Americans don't believe that ignorance is bliss. That information comes from a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, which shows that most Americans want hospitals to be upfront about errors and infection rates. The poll also suggests that Americans want to know how individual hospitals are faring when it comes to patient safety.

The poll, which was conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, had few surprises for Arizona medical malpractice attorneys. The poll found that more than three quarters of the respondents had high to moderate concerns about they or their family member being injured by a hospital-acquired infection. About 71% of respondents were also concerned about being injured or a family member being injured by a medication error. Approximately two thirds of respondents worried about surgical errors. 96% of the respondents believed that hospitals should be required to inform the state health department about medical errors that take place in their facilities. 82% believed that the public should have access to such information as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the U.S., there are approximately 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections, and these cause approximately 90,000 deaths. Reducing hospital-acquired infections has posed an enormous challenge for hospitals. Many states have required hospitals to report their infection data. States like New Jersey have been proactive in making this information available to the public on a website.

A system that makes hospital error and infection data available to the public is a system that allows for more accountability by the hospital. In Arizona however, vested interests have succeeded in ensuring that safety information is not easily accessible to the public. The argument against open disclosure of hospital errors and infection numbers is that such open disclosure would place pressure on the hospital to deal with public perception of these numbers, rather than dealing with the problem itself.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Even William and Kate Need a Pre-Nup

Everyone loves a fairytale wedding, but the future king and queen of England would do well to remember that even fairytale weddings can go wrong. In fact, a royal wedding which involves a large amount of wealth, properties, and titles, would probably start off on a more solid footing if it included a prenuptial agreement.

There are enough warning signs to Pasedena family law lawyers in Prince William's own family to suggest that a prenuptial agreement would not just be advisable here, but absolutely necessary. The official terms of his parents’ divorce were not made public, but according to some financial advisors of his parents, his mother Diana, the late Princess of Wales, ended up with a 17 million pound settlement, which accounted for a large portion of his father's personal fortune.

In case of a divorce in the future, Catherine Middleton shouldn't be so sure that her interests will be protected as well. In the case of the divorce of Prince Andrew from his wife Sarah Ferguson, she was left with an 800,000 pounds settlement. Considering that she had been a royal bride and the financial status of the Windsors, it was a pitifully small settlement, and predictably enough, she was soon struggling financially.

The stiff British upper lip has meant that few people in that country accept the need for prenuptial agreements. The Royal family has not made an official comment about the presence of any prenuptial agreement. However, other European royals, most notably Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria who recently married her personal trainer, have been very sensible and signed solid prenuptial agreements. Under the terms of Victoria’s prenuptial agreement, in case of a divorce, her husband receives half of their private household possessions, but he has no claims on her inheritance or the throne.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Dating Website Bans Sex Offenders, Sets Dangerous Precedent

Last week, a California woman filed a lawsuit demanding that popular online dating website Match.com include a new screening feature that would ban sex offenders from registering on the website. The woman's lawsuit came after she was sexually assaulted by a man she'd met on the popular dating website. The lawsuit demanded that Match.com change its screening procedures to include a match of users’ names with names on federal sex offender registries. Considering how inaccurate some of this information is, California criminal defense attorneys were quite surprised when Match.com gave up without a fight, and agreed to set up sex offender screenings on the website.

The owner of the site, Mandy Ginsburg, has always held out against including sex offender screenings on the website, precisely because of the unreliable data available in sex offender registry data. However, she has now done an about-face. According to her, she has been given new information that suggests that a “combination of improved technology and improved database” can allow higher levels of accuracy.

What we really need is to find ways to integrate sex offenders, many of whom are people with mental problems who need treatment, back into society. Our laws already make it difficult for sex offenders to do this, placing strict restrictions on where they can live. Also, there are enough numbers of studies to show that most sexual assaults are committed not by people who are on the sex offender registry, but by those who have no previous record of sexual assault. Besides, good luck to Match.com trying to verify aliases with names on sex offender registries.

There are other things that concern Pasadena sex crimes defense attorneys. What's to stop people tomorrow from suing dating websites, to force them to include screenings for DUI convictions, domestic violence, shoplifting, possession of marijuana and other crimes? This could set a precedent for the violation of the rights of people convicted of all kinds of offenses.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Motorcycle Safety Foundation Speaks Out Against Distracted Driving

Any time a motorist is distracted while driving, it affects the safety of not only other motorists on the road, but also motorcyclists. In fact, a motorcyclist may be at a higher risk of serious injury in an accident involving a distracted driver than motorists. Motorcycles have little protection, apart from a helmet, protecting them from serious injuries in an accident. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has added its voice to calls to those around the country, calling for the elimination of the distracted driving menace.

In fact, Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers believe that one of the reasons for the spike in motorcycle accident fatalities over the past decade has been the growing numbers of motorists who engage in other tasks while driving. Even a driver with his hand on the steering wheel and eyes on the road may fail to spot a motorcyclist emerging from the side of the car. When a person is texting or talking on cell phone while driving, his chances of noticing the motorcyclist in time, diminish.

You don't have to be talking on the cell phone or texting while driving to cause an accident with a motorcycle. Even tasks like changing radio stations, conversations with your fellow passengers and snacking while driving, can leave a motorcyclist with serious consequences for him/her.

Unfortunately, when it comes to distracted driving, it seems to be harder to get the message across that such practices are actually deadly. Unlike drunk driving which is widely recognized as a dangerous driving practice, distracted driving seems to be more acceptable, especially among young and teenage drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 6,000 people every year are killed in accidents involving distracted driving. Many of these are motorcyclists, and it's about time that Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers also added their voices to anti-distracted driving efforts.