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In the News: Spinal Cord Injuries and Depression

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.


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