Articles Tagged with traumatic brain injury

Adults in Washington may acquire apraxia of speech after having a stroke or sustaining a traumatic brain injury. Apraxia of speech is a condition that affects a person’s ability to produce certain sounds. Although people who suffer from apraxia may be perfectly aware of what words sound like, their brains are unable to tell the right muscles how to move in order to say the words correctly.

Apraxia cases can range in severity, with the most severe cases causing people to be unable to produce any sounds at all. Most people with apraxia have a hard time producing certain sounds, so they either omit or substitute these sounds in their speech. A person with apraxia might have inconsistent speech errors and have an easier time producing automatic greetings than words that they are thinking about.

A speech therapist diagnoses a person with apraxia of speech by assessing their sound production, melody of speech and oral-motor abilities. Once this condition is diagnosed, an individual with apraxia might benefit from speech therapy that is designed to retrain their facial muscles. People with severe cases of apraxia might require alternative communication tools in order to function in their daily lives.

Washington residents may have heard a lot about traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, in recent years. From the shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to lawsuits over repeated concussions suffered by NFL players, TBIs have been all over the news.

The extra attention is helpful because the Centers for Disease Control reports that TBIs are a major cause of disability and death in the United States. In 2010, around 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospital stays or deaths were tied to TBIs, and the condition played a part in approximately 30 percent of all injury deaths in the country.

TBIs can occur due to a blow or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury, such as a gunshot wound, that interrupts a person’s normal brain function. TBIs can be mild, meaning a person may feel dizzy or briefly lose consciousness, or severe, meaning a person may be unconscious for a long period of time or experience significant memory loss. Most TBIs reported are mild and are referred to as concussions.

Washington residents may be interested to hear that the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit against Verizon was offered a $3 million settlement in July. The suit alleged that the driver of a Verizon-owned bucket truck was distracted at the time of the 2012 accident that caused the woman to suffer a traumatic brain injury. The woman, who had been a nurse for 32 years, was forced to leave her job as a result of her injury.

The accident occurred on Feb. 27, 2012, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. The Verizon truck rear-ended the plaintiff’s stopped vehicle on Garrett Road. The woman’s mild traumatic brain injury, which doctors and neuropsychologists agreed resulted from the collision, caused diminished cognitive function and memory loss. She also suffered from herniated neck and back discs that required surgery.

People who testified at the trial stated that the driver of the truck was using two cellphones at the same time as he approached the woman’s stopped car. He was on hold to speak with a Verizon employee with his personal cellphone while looking down at his business cellphone when he struck the woman’s car. Verizon settled the suit after court proceedings that lasted more than a week.

We frequently write about the causes of head trauma. Many traumatic brain injury patients sustain their injuries during falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports collisions and during the birthing process. But no matter how an infant, child or teen sustains a TBI, it is important for parents to understand that this injury may cause consequences well into the future.

Not only can TBI result in learning difficulties and pain, a new study indicates that these injuries place young people at an elevated risk of being bullied and at an elevated risk of attempting suicide during their teen years. Young people who have suffered concussions and more traumatic injuries are both at heightened risk for these frightening scenarios.

The study’s lead author is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. She has concluded that TBI victims are also more likely to be bullies themselves during their adolescence and are generally at an elevated risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors when compared with their non-injured peers. They are also more likely to become runaways and to be prescribed anti-depressant medication.

We have previously written about how important it is to prevent brain injuries whenever possible and to properly diagnose and treat those that do occur. Whether they occur as a result of auto accidents, maritime accidents, sports-related collisions or a host of other scenarios, brain injuries may be life-altering and must be treated seriously. A new study conducted by research experts at England’s Oxford University confirms this critical point.

According to this recent study, individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) face a significantly higher rate of premature death than the general population does. According to the study’s lead researcher, “After a traumatic brain injury, patients have a threefold increased risk of dying prematurely.”

This statistic is certainly upsetting. But it is important to understand some deeper truths that this research has revealed. The study’s authors determined that most of the premature deaths suffered by brain injury victims occur as a result of additional brain injury, suicide and assault. In addition, the risk of premature death climbs even high if the patient struggles with a substance abuse and/or psychiatric issue.

Throughout 2011, the media reported widely on the prevalence of concussions and other traumatic brain injury sustained by children and young athletes. A recently released study indicates that as the public’s awareness of this issue increases, the number of young athletes being treated for recreationally-sustained head injurieshas also increased.

The study was commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and focused on data related to emergency care for children and young athletes during the period of 2001-2009. In 2001, just over 150,000 recreationally-related brain injury visits were reported for this age group. The number of visits jumped to nearly 250,000 in 2009.

Many professionals view these numbers as heartening. The way in which the data was analyzed strongly supports the idea that awareness, not an increase in actual injury occurrence, accounts for the spike in visits. One of the study’s authors noted that “We would like to see the numbers go down because we hope we have gotten better at preventing (head injuries), but we knew the numbers would have to go up before they start to come down because awareness has to go up first.”

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