Archive for the ‘Automobile Insurance Claims’ Category

Slip and Fall outside of Car not an accident according to FSCO- Reversal of controversal slip and fall case

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Webb and Wawanesa involves the case of a woman, Daphna Webb who slipped on ice outside of her car. She parked her vehicle in a residential neighbourhood, near a snow bank where access points had been cleared. When she exited her vehicle, and walked around the front of her car, she fell backwards and broke 4 bones in her foot.

A May 2011 decision from Arbitrator Joyce Miller found that Webb was still in the process of exiting her vehicle when she fell, therefore the incident constituted an “accident” under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).

The SABS defines “accident” is defined in section 2 of SABS as: “An incident in which the use or operation of an automobile directly causes an impairment or directly causes damage to any prescription eyewear, denture, hearing aid, prosthesis or other medical or dental device.”

Arbitrator Miller found that that the use of a motor vehicle caused an uninterrupted chain of events ending in Webb’s injuries.

Wawanesa appealed the decision, stating that the use or operation of an automobile did not cause Webb’s injuries.

The July 18, 2012 decision of Director Delegate Lawrence Blackman rescinded the decision of Arbitrator Miller and found in favour of Wawanesa, holding that the chain of causation was broken. There was an independent source, the ice and snow at a pedestrian access point resulting from the weather conditions.

Director Delegate concluded that Webb’s injury falls outside of the scope of the applicable definition of accident.

Aaron Waxman and Associates is a Toronto Personal Injury Law Firm. We handle disability claims, automobile accident claims, long-term disability claims and other types of personal injury claims.

 

 

Rakosi and State Farm – Claimant’s appeal dismissed (social media warning)

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Eniko Rakosi was involved in a car accident on May 5, 2008. She applied for accident benefits through her accident benefits insurer, State Farm.

State Farm denied various benefits including income replacement benefits, attendant care and medical benefits. The issues failed at mediation and the claimant filed for arbitration.

At the pre-hearing, State Farm asked for productions from Ms. Rakosi’s Facebook account. The arbitrator hearing the case, Arbitrator Bujold ordered Ms. Rakosi to produce all photographs (with her in it) posted to her Facebook profile, included any limited access or private portion of her profile from the date of loss to May 5, 2010.

Arbitrator Bujold held that the test for production was a “semblance of relevance” test.

Previously, State Farm had accessed Rakosi’s Hi5 account (another social networking site) and found photographs which showed the claimant engaged in various social and recreational activities. State Farm believed that her Facebook account would show similar photographs. Since Rakosi’s claim was that she was unable to engage in employment and required help with personal care, State Farm wanted access to this information. They felt there would be a ‘semblance of relevance’.

Ms. Rakosi’s Hi5 site showed pictures of her being attached to a zipline and ziplining. State Farm was of the view that these pictures related to activities related to the disputed benefits. Since Hi5 and Facebook are both social media sites, State Farm made the argument that the Facebook content was relevant.

The Arbitrator was not persuaded by Ms. Rakosi’s counsel that there were reasons against production.

Ms. Rakosi appealed the decision, citing previous decisions that were in favour of claimants like Prete and State Farm, and  Leduc and Roman, where the appellant deemed the semblance of relevance test was correctly applied.

The appeal was heard by Director’s Delegate Blackman, who upheld the original decision that Ms. Rakosi should produce her Facebook account.

Director’s Delegate Blackman however found that the original arbitrator had erred by using the “semblance of relevance” test. This test was used in the court system, under the Rules of Civil Procedure (prior to the January 1, 2010 changes).  Relevance could be interpreted broadly. When the RCP changes came in January 2010, the rule,  Rule 30.02(1) was changed to reflect proportionality, changed from “relating to any matter in issue” to “every document relevant to any matter in issue in an action”.

The rules guiding arbitration stem from the Statutory Powers Procedure Act and instead use a test based on relevance and reasonableness.

Director’s Delegate Blackman felt that using the semblance of relevance test would undermine the alternative dispute resolution system and create a more complicated and costly system while the courts in tort matters are moving in the opposite direction.

Director’s Delegate Blackman found there was no error in extending the inference from one social media site to another and agreed it was likely that her Facebook site would likely contain similar photos.

Aaron Waxman and Associates is a Toronto Personal Injury Law Firm. We handle various types of claims, including accident benefits claims.

If you are involved in a law suit and have social media sites, remember to inform your lawyer you have social media accounts. Do not alter, delete or remove anything from your account during the course of your lawsuit.

FSCO Arbitrator upholds Leone decision: 60 day time limit for mediation elapsed

Friday, August 31st, 2012

On February 10, 2012, FSCO Arbitrator Jeffrey Rogers released a decision, Leone v. State Farm stating that mediation was deemed to have failed because it did not occur within 60 days of the application being filed and the parties could not extend the time limit on consent once the 60 days had expired.

Director’s Delegate David Evans upheld the decision and dismissed State Farm’s appeal, and found that mediation was deemed to have failed.

Leone had submitted an Application for Mediation, which was received by FSCO on October 8, 2010 and no mediator had been appointed by March 14, 2011. Leone then submitted an Application for Arbitration. State Farm argued that he needed to attach the Report of Mediator to his application.

Arbitrator Evans states “I agree with the arbitrator that Mr. Leone did not need to attach the report of mediator to his application for arbitration where mediation has failed by statutory definition, but no report of mediator is available…Mr. Leone should not be prevented from proceeding to arbitration where through no fault of his own, s.280(8) has not been complied with.”

S.280(8) is the requirement to issue a Report of Mediator if the mediation fails.

What is the impact of the decision?

FSCO has notified all lawyers, law clerks and paralegals who have submitted applications for mediations of the decision, provided them with a mediation file number and stated that the following two options continue to be available for those files waiting in the queue:

1. Complete a Consent To Fail Form

2. Complete an Extension Form

Both forms must be completed jointly with the insurer, and require the signature of the client.

The appeal of several court decisions,  Cornie v. Security National (and the other 3 cases heard with it) and Younis v. State Farm regarding the 60-day time limit issue was heard on July 19, 2012 at the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment and as a result, FSCO felt it was not yet time to change the dispute resolution processes without having heard the results of the Court of Appeal decision.

For those Applications for Arbitration where no Report of Mediator was issued, FSCO is holding them in abeyance pending the Court of Appeal decisions.

According to the FSCO website the current wait time for a pre-hearing date is 6-8 months.

FSCO is looking at outsourcing its mediations to private mediators to assist with clearing up the mediation backlog. It is hoping to have a contract in place by early September. FSCO hopes to hand off 2,000 mediation files monthly to private mediators.

The mediation backlog is frustrating for claimants. By the time the mediation takes place, their circumstances may have changed dramatically. They may have been forced to find work due to financial stress, or their condition may have worsened due to lack of treatment. Treatment needs to be delivered in a timely fashion, in order to be beneficial.

It is not in an insurer’s best interest to have a continued backlog in mediations. Insurers pay 2% interest on claims per month. The longer an application sits in the queue, the more interest accrues.

There are various consequences of Leone v. State Farm and Cornie v. Security National if the original decision is upheld.

In Leone, the arbitrator noted that State Farm did not receive an Application for Mediation from FSCO until a mediator had been appointed. Generally, plaintiff’s counsel sends 2 copies of the application to FSCO, the second copy to distribute to the insurer. If FSCO is backlogged, the insurer does not know until months down the road that there is a pending application.

If the Court of Appeal upholds the decisions in Cornie and finds that 60 days begins to run when the application has been filed, insurers may not know about the application or the dispute until they receive a statement of claim.

Road Trips – Do You Drive Fatigued?

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Road trips are very popular, especially in the summer.

Fatigued driving is known to be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than driving while under the influence.

Angus Reid conducted the survey, known as the “Neglected Drive Survey’ and polled 1003 parents online from June 19-23, 2012 and found that 30% of men nod off behind the wheel, compared to only 14% of women. According to the poll, one quarter of men have swerved because they were tired, one third were worried about getting their family into a car accident because they were tired while driving.

These are frightening statistics, because you are only in charge of your own vehicle. The statistics are as follows:

  • 64% of men have continued driving on a road trip when tired
  • 24% of men said they have not paid close attention to the road because they were tired
  • 17% of men said they hoped they wouldn’t get into an accident and kept driving even though they were exhausted
  • 10% of men almost got into an accident because they were tired

When you notice your eyes are getting heavy, you  have to recognize the signs of fatigue and consider the safety of your family, and other drivers on the road.

Don’t fill up on coffee or short breaks. Caffeine is simply not a solution.

The survey results also noted that younger parents are more likely to continue driver vs. older parents, especially if their children aren’t in need of a break. Dads do most of the driving and are not keen on stopped unless a break is needed.

Aaron Waxman and Associates is a Toronto Personal Injury Law Firm. Contact us today for a free no obligation consultation.

 

Difficulties in the land of Accident Benefits

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Recently, Ontario’s Standing Committee on General Government held public hearings on Ontario’s auto insurance industry practices in Queen’s Park. This committee doesn’t have the power to make changes, but it has the power to recommend them.

The Committee heard from the Insurance Industry, health professionals, personal injury lawyers, Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force

Personal Injury Lawyers in Ontario can certainly speak to a number of growing concerns when it comes to auto insurance. Especially since the September 1, 2010 reforms.

Accident victims have to contend with the Minor Injury Guideline and a maximum of $3500 of medical/rehabilitation benefits.

Insurance adjusters must provide a medical reason for denying a treatment plan. But why are they being allowed to make medical decisions?

The accident victims who are denied treatment, whose rehabilitation is put on hold are at a serious disadvantage.

It certainly seems as if more and more treatment plans are being denied. And with the MIG in existence, it is harder for people who are placed in that category to achieve full recovery if they require further treatment after the $3500 has run out.

Applying for mediation is they way to appeal an insurer’s decision, however there are over 30,000 applications waiting to be processed and mediated at FSCO. That is very telling.  It is estimated that an additional 3000 applications are being submitted each month.

And what might these applications be for? Denials of benefits – medical benefits, weekly benefits, attendant care benefits, housekeeping benefits….benefits accident victims require to recover and rehabilitate.

Legislation requires that FSCO mediations are to be completed within 60 days of the filing of an application. The reality now is that mediations are taking place 10 to 12 months later, or even longer.

So what did the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) have to say to the Committee?

According to an article posted on CanadianUnderwriter.ca   IBC’s VP for Ontario, Ralph Palumbo said “While the September 2010 reforms were a needed first step in reducing the pressure on no fault injury costs, claims costs are still out of control..”

Mr. Palumbo listed the following reasons for high costs:

1.Mediation Backlogs

2. Increase in Catastrophic Injury Claims

3. Increase in Bodily Injury Costs

4. Persistence of Auto Insurance Fraud

 

With respect to catastrophic injury claims, Palumbo noted that hospitalizations from car accidents decreased by 12% while the number of CAT claims increased.

He further noted that  on the tort side of things, bodily injury claims are increasing drastically. Both the frequency and cost of these claims has been rising. BI claims represent more than $2 billion in annual costs.

Palumbo had this to say: “BI is on the same track accident benefits were before the 2010 reforms and more needs to be done to assess the causes and what can be done to alter this concerning trend.”


Aaron Waxman & Associates is a Toronto Personal Injury Law Firm dedicated to serving the needs of their clients.

 

 

 

Ontario Budget Revealed: What it Means for Personal Injury Law

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

On March 27, 2012, the Ontario provincial budget was released. This report includes changes to the definition of catastrophic impairment and enforcement to reduce auto insurance fraud.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is of course applauding the fraud measures proposed in the budget and the administrative penalties recommended.

On September 1, 2010 the government made major changes to Ontario’s auto insurance system. The government feels that premiums are stabilizing for drivers across Ontario. Building on the success of these reforms, the government wishes to take action to tackle fraudulent and abusive practices, base insurance benefits on scientific and medical principles, and ensure its regulator continues to identify and respond to new and emerging issues.

Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force

The government is committed to combating insurance fraud and continues to support the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force who issued an interim report in December 2011 and the government has already:

  1. enhanced auto insurance fraud training for police officers;
  2. started a pilot project using the Health Claims for Auto Insurance database, which will allow health care providers to flag clinics that are misusing their credentials and cut down on identity theft;
  3. amended regulations to ensure that treatments are provided as invoiced;
  4. issued a Superintendent’s Guideline to ensure that insurers are not being involved for medical devices at a significantly higher than market rate;
  5. encouraged the industry to communicate the issue of fraud across a number of media platforms, and measure the current state of consumer engagement and awareness on the issue; and
  6. required CEOs of automobile insurers in Ontario to annually attest that their accident benefit cost controls are effective and that legitimate claimants claimants are treated fairly.

The Task Force recommended that the government should provide that the Superintendent of Financial Services with the power to impose administrative monetary penalties for contraventions of legislation and regulations. The government is proposing amendments that will provide the authority in order to enhance regulatory effectiveness.

Scientific and Evidence-Based Approaches:

What does the government mean by basing insurance benefits on scientific and evidence based approaches? This is a reference to accident benefits of course.  The report mentions that scientific and medical knowledge with respect to identifying and treating “a variety of injuries” has improved “remarkably” over the past decade and states that “The government will ensure, where possible that insurance regulations reflect the most relevant science on identifying and treating injuries from automobile accidents”.  This apparent clarity will help minimize disputes over benefits and ensure people get the treatment they need and ensure treatments are based on medical evidence.

The report goes on to say that newer scientific and evidence-based approaches can be applied to serious and minor MVA injuries.

There are recommendations that a new Minor Injury Guideline be developed.

The government received the Superintendent of Financial Services Report with respect to Catastrophic Impairment (based on the work of an expert panel) and will move forward to propose regulatory amendments in this area.

The report is to be made public in the coming weeks. The question is, will the report mirror what the expert panel said? Will Superintendent Phil Howell’s report differ? Two big concerns that the Plaintiffs’ bar has is whether or not the combining of physical and psychological impairments will be allowed to determine catastrophic determination and the use of the Glasgow Coma Scale. To learn more about the proposed changes, refer to our earlier post about the changing definition of catastrophic impairment found here.

Modern Insurance Regulation:

FSCO, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario is to modernize to meet current challenges. The government proposes to enhance FSCO and its regulation of the insurance sector by proposing to:

  1. engage in a review of the automobile insurance dispute resolution system;
  2. strengthen the Superintendent’s authority regarding Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices;
  3. clarify the Superintendent’ s authority regarding rate and risk classification approvals;
  4. support a Superintendent’s review of the profit provision benchmark in auto insurance rate change approvals;
  5. work with insurers to explore the implications of voluntary usage-based auto insurance policies;
  6. harmonize the timing of statutory automobile insurance reviews; and
  7. improve solvency supervision of Ontario insurers.

The new Budget also noted the Ontario government’s intention to review and update the Insurance Act:

  1. the government is proposing amendments to the life insurance and accident and sickness insurance parts of the Insurance Act to enhance consumer protection, reduce regulatory burden and harmonize with other Canadian jurisdictions; and
  2. the government is enhancing the effectiveness of its insurance regulation by proposing amendments to give the Superintendent of Financial Services the authority to impose administrative monetary penalties in the insurance sector.

Social Media and Personal Injury Cases: LTD Benefits

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

We recently blogged about social media and personal injury cases. Insurance companies are using social media as a means of surveillance to try to find out more about a claimant’s character, and their credibility.

At discoveries, defence lawyers are asking for plaintiffs to produce their Facebook photos, or preserve their accounts. The requests for access to plaintiffs’ and claimants’ social media sites are not going to disappear as more and more people are joining these sites.

But how much do these social media sites tell about a person??

Consider a Quebec woman’s fight with her long-term disability insurer made headlines late in 2009. The headlines were essentially “Depressed woman loses benefits over Facebook photos”.

Nathalie Blanchard, an employee of IBM, went on sick leave for major depression and was being paid long-term disability benefits through Manulife Financial for a year and a half. She attended therapy, took prescription medications, and then her doctor suggested that she take a trip and try to enjoy herself, so she booked a trip, she notified her insurance company and she took pictures of her trip.

She posted those trip pictures on Facebook. It turns out Manulife had their eye on her Facebook account and noticed her photos and determined she did not appear depressed in her photos.

When her benefits cheques stopped coming, she called Manulife and asked why. Manulife described her Facebook pictures to her and told her that is evidence she is no longer depressed. She doesn’t understand how Manulife accessed her photos when her profile is private.

She retained a lawyer to sue Manulife and have her benefits restored, her lawyer felt Manulife’s actions were inappropriate.

It is important to consider the fact that depression and mental illness aren’t visible illnesses like physical injuries. A picture doesn’t necessarily capture a person’s state of mind.

Manulife felt that Blanchard was well enough to work based on her pictures.

Manulife would not comment specifically on Blanchard’s case but said they would not deny or terminate a valid claim based solely on information found on sites such as Facebook. A spokesperson for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said “We can’t ignore it, wherever the source of the information is..”

The case is before the courts now.

 

Recent Developments in Brain Injury Research

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Brain Trauma might be more common than expected according to the Mayo Clinic. In a recent study published in the journal Epidemiology, researchers from the Mayo Clinic applied a new system for classifying injuries to the head and found that the incidence of traumatic brain injury is likely greater than has been estimated by the CDC.

What people often fail to remember and recognize is that even mild traumatic brain injuries can affect a person’s sensory motor functions, thinking, awareness and communication.  A lot of people have gone undiagnosed.

Researchers came up with the  Mayo Traumatic Brain Injury Classification System, a new brain injury method that classifies head injuries with new categories.  The categories label patients with “definite,” “probable” and “possible” TBIs, providing a way to incorporate symptoms such as a brief period of unconsciousness or even an injured patient’s complaint of dizziness or nausea.

Researchers are finding a strong link between TBI and post traumatic stress disorder. Researchers found a causal link between mild traumatic brain injuries and PTSD. There is an increased susceptibility to developing PTSD. People who have sustained a mild TBI are also more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

An experimental drug might limit stroke damage. There is currently only one effective treatment for stroke, which is a Tissue Plasminogen Activator TPA that can dissolve blood clots that cause a stroke. the catch is that is has to be given very soon after symptoms appear and doctors first have to make sure that the stroke itself was not caused by a ruptured blood vessel. If that was the case, TPA can make the situation a lot worse.

At the Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute in Canada, it was discovered that a drug known as a PSD-95 inhibitor could be used as a treatment for strokes. It works by blocking a key protein that leads to brain-cell death. The study has been published in the journal, Nature.

Daily doses of a drug, Amantadine, used to treat Parkinson’s disease may help treat brain injuries according to a new study. The drug was given to patients who had suffered severe brain injuries. The doctors found that the drug helped with recovery and noticed a difference between patients who were given the drug and patients who were part of the clinical study that did not receive the drug.

Amantadine was also used as a flu drug in the past. When given to patients with serious traumatic brain injuries, it was noted that far fewer patients who were given this drug remained in a vegetative state. Visible steps towards recovery was seen.

Another medication being tested as a treatment for brain injuries is Clazosentan. A TBI causes a decrease of blood flow to the cerebrum of the brain. There is a receptor in the brain called endothelin receptor A (ETrA) contributes to the restriction of blood flow as early as four hours after a brain injury. Clazosentan is thought to specifically block these receptors.

How can doctors truly diagnose a brain injury? ABC news posted an article about detecting unseen damage in the brain with traumatic brain injuries. Doctors often miss brain injury damage that doesn’t show up on scans. Scientists are in the process of testing a tool that lights up the damage caused to the brain’s wiring by blows to the heads. Scientists want to make these “invisible wounds” visible.

For doctors, if they can’t see or quantify the damage, it’s hard to treat it. Especially with more serious head injuries, standard scans, like CT scans cannot see beyond bleeding or swelling to tell if the brain’s connections are broken in a way it that it can’t repair on its own.

Scientists are looking into technology called fibre -tracking, referring to nerve fibre, which act like a telephone network. These fibres make up the white matter of the brain. The new proposed MRI scan examines these connections and detects if any connects have been broken.

Aaron Waxman and Associates is a Toronto Personal Injury Law Firm that handles brain injury litigation claims and other personal injury matters.

Social Media and Personal Injury Cases

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Insurance companies and their adjusters are increasingly relying on social media as an investigative tool.

Insurance companies are using social media to verify and challenge the accuracy of personal injury claims.

So, what types of accounts are being looked at? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, My Space, hi5.

But, insurance companies haven’t gone public with their policies about social media. We don’t know how they are collecting information, monitoring social media and for what purpose.

Anyone who has a claim for accident benefits or disability benefits should be aware of these tactics and consider what they post on social media sites. You have the ability to choose your privacy settings on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Be wary of what your friends post, especially if they have open profiles and check your settings regarding visibility for these posts.

Clients should also be aware of anonymous “friending” to gain access to Facebook or directing a third party to “friend” someone for the purposes of investigation. These are unethical practices.

According to a recent article published by Canadian Underwriter, “As much as social media sites can help to inform, it is also important to view the information as a snapshot. You have to incorporate it into a total assessment of the claim. You can’t just hang your hat on social media.”

What do the courts have to say about the use of social media in litigation?

Judges in Canada are sorting through the consequences of the uses of social media. The following Ontario cases are cases where judges ruled that content posted on social media sites (Facebook) is admissible as evidence in limited form:

Kourtesis v. Joris (2007)

Leduc v. Roman (2009)

Wice v. Dominion of Canada General Insurance (2009)

These cases show that defence lawyers have successfully argued for the production and preservation of this ‘private’ information in some capacity.

In 2011, an Ontario Superior Court Justice ordered production of a plaintiff’s social media photos in the case, Morabito v. DiLorenzo. This was a motor vehicle accident case. Justice James A. Ramsay ruled that only photographs were relevant evidence, but not status updates or wall posts. The plaintiff was also ordered to re-attend examination for discovery to answer questions about the photos posted on Facebook and other social networking sites.

In these cases, it is about what content is relevant, and what the defense can prove is relevant to the case. The ruling judges must find the content is relevant to the issues in the case.

Another issue that arises is whether or not the plaintiff or claimant has to preserve his or her Facebook site (not allowed to delete any posts or tweets).

What happens if the content of a plaintiff’s social media profile is not relevant to the case?

In Schuster v. Royal and Sun Alliance (2009), the defence lawyers did not provide enough evidence to show the plaintiff’s Facebook profile contained relevant information. The plaintiff did not have to produce or preserve her Facebook page.

The area of social media law is still emerging. In terms of case law, decisions can go either way, so there is no clear direction as of yet.

When it comes to decisions from the Financial Services Commission, there doesn’t seem to be a clear direction either. A January 2011 decision, Prete and State Farm, found that the relevance of images (video posts and pictures) posted on a Facebook did not have enough relevance when weighed against other factors such as sensitivity and practicality. The arbitrator declined State Farm’s request for the productions.

In Rakosi and State Farm, the arbitrator ordered that the applicant produce photos of herself from Facebook and hi5 sites. The request from State Farm met the test for a “semblance of relevance”.

Plaintiff’s lawyers have to advise clients of the potential for social media sites to be used as surveillance. A good idea is to set this out in your initial letter to the client, and to remind them of this when preparing them for discoveries.

In the News: Spinal Cord Injuries and Depression

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

At Aaron Waxman and Associates, we handle personal injury claims including long-term disability claims that involve serious spinal cord injuries and chronic pain cases.

A new study emerging out of Toronto’s Krembil Neuroscience Centre suggests that victims of spinal cord injuries who undergo surgery within 24 hours are less likely to suffer paralysis. The actual timing of treatment for victims of spinal cord injuries can have a significant impact on the eventual outcome of their recovery.

Important findings from the study also show that a patient is twice as likely to experience a “major neurological recovery” when they have surgery within a day of their injury. The importance of a quick surgery is to ease pressure on the injured spinal cord according to doctors.

Lead study author and neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Fehlings states, “The differences that we are seeing with early decompression surgery are very significant and the results have a major impact on a person’s life…We are seeing about 1 in 5 people walking away from an injury they might not have otherwise…”

A new study confirms what researchers have long suspected: migraines and depression often appear together. This means the risk of developing depression is 40% higher for women who suffer from migraines. The study was conducted out of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Some researchers believe their is a biological connection, while others believe it is a quality of life issue.

Could hyperactivity in the brain explain the multiple symptoms of depression? Depression brings with it a variety of symptoms including anxiety, poor appetite, memory changes, concentration issues as well as sleep disturbances. A depressed brain has increased connections among the different areas of the brain; too many connections are happening at once, according to a recent study published in the journal PLoS One The brain must be able to regulate its connections in order to properly function.

The study’s author, Dr. Andrew Leuchter, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour at UCLA says,  “The brain must be able to regulate its connections to function properly…The brain must be able to first synchronize, and then later desynchronize, different areas in order to react, regulate mood, learn and solve problems.”

The NFL ‘Concussion Fallout’ is raising some red flags for NASCAR.  NASCAR Drivers are certainly not immune to concussions and some drivers worry what can happen to them after sustaining multiple concussions. Since 2001, NASCAR officials have been taking steps to improve the way they handle concussions on the track, particularly since Dale Earnhardt’s death. Drivers like Michael Waltrip who have suffered the likes of 10 concussions hear stories of what is happening in the NFL and start to worry about the consequences of repetitive brain injuries. He states “I would be the perfect case study to see what’s going to happen…”

In terms of safety today, drivers must wear a head and neck restraint,  and race track walls have impact-absorbing ‘SAFER’ barriers installed and NASCAR completely redesigned race cars to reduce the risk of injury. Now racing seats now look like something out of a spaceship, with foam-padded supports on each side of the helmet that barely allows a driver’s head to move during a crash.