Boys in Washington and across the nation who participate in contact sports could be at an increased risk for developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, later in life. A new study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that almost one-third of men who had played contact sports as children showed signs of CTE. Meanwhile, none of the men in the study who had not played contact sports as children had CTE.

CTE is a degenerative brain disorder that can only be diagnosed posthumously, so the study relied on research that was conducted using donated brains. Researchers studied the brains of males who had played contact sports such as football, basketball, baseball, boxing, wrestling and rugby. The author of the study said that the frequency with which CTE was identified in former athletes was surprising.

The report, which was published in the December edition of Acta Neuropathological, analyzed 66 men who had played contact sports in their youth. CTE was identified in 32 percent of these men while signs of CTE were not found in any of the 198 brains from people who hadn’t played any contact sports in their youth. The leader of the research team said that CTE awareness could help to make contact sports safer.

>The National Association of State Fire Marshals has published an advisory about hoverboards, a popular self-balancing scooter often bought for children. Numerous incidents of the toys exploding and starting fires have been reported in the United States and the United Kingdom, and families in Washington should only buy hoverboard brands that are UL approved. Caution during charging, which appears to trigger most of the fires, should be exercised as well.

Consequences of the fires have been serious. For example, one U.S. family lost its home to a fire started by a FitTurbo hoverboard given to a 12-year-old boy for his birthday. His mother reported seeing sparks shooting from the toy. The fire quickly spread through the home and caused extensive damage. In another incident, an 11-year-old girl felt her hoverboard get hot while she was riding it. She jumped off just in time to avoid being burned when it caught fire.

Similar hoverboard fires have alarmed UK officials. In response to numerous complaints, National Trading Standards inspected 17,000 hoverboards and identified potential fire risks in 88 percent of models. Explosion risks plagued cheap knockoff models that officials said were flooding the market during the holiday shopping season.

People in Washington may want to learn about an exciting new study out of Finland that demonstrates even elderly patients may be helped by surgery following a traumatic brain injury. Historically, when elderly people suffered such an injury, nothing was done due to their age and the fact that they could die from such surgery.

Now, people are getting older and enjoying a longer life span. Researchers with the Helsinki University Hospital Department of Neurosurgery decided to study the effects of surgical treatment for people at or over the age of 75 who had suffered a traumatic brain injury.

While none of the patients who were unconscious when brought to the hospital remained alive after one year, those who were conscious and who underwent the corrective surgery recovered, according to the researchers. Those who recovered then reportedly enjoyed similar life spans as did their peers. One of the study’s authors indicated that he believes the results demonstrate that deciding against surgical intervention for TBI should not be a decision made only on the basis of age. While the study was small, the author indicated that it did demonstrate that elderly patients could potentially benefit from surgery when they have suffered a TBI.

Washington residents should always be aware that accidents can happen at any time, even when they are enjoying the outdoors at parties or gatherings. If an injury does happen, the injured person may suffer medical-related damages while the property owners may also suffer losses if the owners allowed hazardous activities to take place.

In New Jersey, for example, a person suffered an injury in a bungee-trampoline device at a company picnic. As the rider came down from a high jump, the operator lifted the man again before his feet touched the trampoline. This caused the rider to rupture a tendon that required surgery to heal. In total, he incurred more than $8,000 in medical bills. He also reportedly experienced a reduced range of motion in that arm, scars and weakness.

The injured rider and his wife filed lawsuits against multiple companies. They filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of the bungee-trampoline device, the company that owned the venue and the company that rented the device. The lawsuit alleged that the device did not have adequate warnings and that the property allowed a hazardous activity to take place. They also named the company that rented out the device, claiming that they did not properly train the operator. The injured rider ultimately settled for more than $300,000.

Washington residents may be interested to know that a judge in New York has said GM may be liable for punitive damages related to faulty ignition switches. In 2009 GM came out of bankruptcy as a new business entity. In essence, that would shield the company from lawsuits related to anything that happened during the existence of the former General Motors.

However, the judge said in his ruling that employees and knowledge may have been transferred from the old entity to the new one. He further said that the new GM could be liable for damages if it could be shown that the new company had knowledge of issues related to the old company. This is seen to be problematic for the new GM as it has admitted that it knew about faulty ignition switches.

According to one attorney, there are 250 cases against GM pending in state and federal courts. The attorney said that the ruling was a complete win for the plaintiffs as it allows jurors to hear evidence that may help them put a dollar amount on the lives lost in accidents related to the faulty switches. Furthermore, the ruling allows plaintiffs to pursue cases in which GM’s conduct may have led to a decline in the value of their vehicles.

A new discovery in medical research could help patients in Washington with traumatic brain injuries. Researchers from the University of Maryland and the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System have found a way to deliver stem cells to injured areas of the brain using a magnetic field. Although the method has only been tested on rats, researchers believe magnetic cell targeting is very promising.

Previously, medical researchers had been attempting to treat traumatic brain injuries using stem cell therapy without magnets. The problems they had using stem cell therapy on the central nervous system was that the stem cells did not always reach the injured parts of the brain, and there was a risk of intracranial hemorrhage.

Researchers are now labeling human neural progenitor cells with iron-oxide nanoparticles and using a magnetic field to guide them towards injury sites in the brain. The magnetic field allows scientists to specifically target the areas that they want the stem cells to go towards. There are still a lot of important questions that haven’t been answered in the research. Scientists do not know what will happen to the stem cells once the magnetic field is removed, and they do not know what effect stronger magnetic fields could have on the stem cells.

Previous campaigns that warned of the hazards of buzzed driving or reminded us that friends do not allow their friends to drive drunk were highly successful at drawing attention to the problem of drunk driving in Washington and around the country. Buoyed by these successes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has joined forces with the Ad Council for another road safety campaign, and this time the goal is to reduce the number of teens killed or injured each year in drunk driving accidents.

Traffic accidents are the leading killer of American teens, and NHTSA data reveals that nearly a quarter of the teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes each year have alcohol in their bloodstreams. The new campaign was launched as part of the National Teen Driver Safety Week in October 2015, and it features public service announcements backed up by website banner advertising and roadside billboards.

Television spots will compare the kind of mishaps that occur at parties, such as tripping over or spilling food and drink, with the far more serious consequences of drinking and driving. The campaign will also warn teens about the serious impact that a drunk driving conviction could have on their college and employment prospects. NHTSA and the Ad Council hope that using popular social media platforms and setting up a website on Tumblr will allow them to reach even more young people.

Washington high schools may include cheerleading as an option for extra-curricular activity. In addition to providing opportunities for developing relationships while participating in demanding physical activity, this sport may also be an excellent source of scholarship opportunities for talented individuals. However, the competitive nature of the sport may create situations in which team members are encouraged or expected to take unnecessary risks as they attempt stunts that are dangerous. These situations can result in serious injuries for those who are not comfortable or well-prepared. Brain injury is one of the most serious potential outcomes, and it is important for those participating as well as those overseeing to be aware of concussion protocol.

One of the main reasons for greater risk of serious brain injury is the fact that many routines involve the use of flyers. One flyer works with three supporting individuals, two acting as bases to support the flyer with the third supporting the two bases from behind. If any of these individuals loses focus or errs, one or all could be hurt. Dropping a flyer could result in that person suffering broken bones, bruises, or injury to the spine or head. A flyer falling on the supporting individuals could also lead to head injuries or other negative outcomes.

Cheerleaders should be their own advocate to ensure that they aren’t placed in jeopardy through the performance of a stunt with which they are uncomfortable. Additionally, it is important to speak up if an injury has occurred, especially a blow to the head. Ignoring concussion protocol could lead to more serious consequences in a future incident.

Based on estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2014 had the lowest rate of highway fatalities on record. This is in line with a continuous decline in traffic fatalities going back to 1985, and the rate of decline seems to be accelerating. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that traffic deaths have declined by about a third in the last three years.

The reduction in automotive fatalities has generally been attributed to improvements in safety features in cars. Seat belts, air bags and collision avoidance systems have all worked to lower the chances an accident will occur and lessen the severity if one does.

However, in spite of all the progress that has been made, death as a result of a car crash is still one of the most common causes of death as tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on data from 2013, people have a one in 77 chance of dying due to a car crash. Individuals are equally as likely to die due to firearms, but they are more likely to die of poisoning, with odds of one in 53.

Brain injuries are a major cause of permanent disability for Washington residents. A serious brain injury may result in a person who was once fully independent requiring long-term care. Even a minor brain injury can cause cognitive problems and depression. A new research paper by researchers at University Of Maryland School Of Medicine cites inflammation as the major cause of long-term damage.

After a serious brain injury, a person is often given a specific diagnosis like chronic traumatic encelphalopathy. Researchers argue that diagnosis of a cause like inflammation, which is usually not taken seriously, may lead to better outcomes because it is a treatable condition.

After a concussion, an inflammation reaction can occur that lasts for months or years after the injury. In cases of repeated injuries, such as those sustained by football players, chronic inflammation can lead to permanent damage. Recent studies suggest that inflammation can be controlled with experimental drugs and controlled exercise programs. Researchers hope that a better understanding of how brain damage occurs will lead to better treatment after injuries. The research suggests that repeated minor injuries can lead to damage that looks very similar to the damage that occurs after moderate or severe injuries, due to inflammation. The inflammation can eventually cause brain cell death.

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