According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, 8 out of 10 adults will experience lower-back pain – some from traumatic events such as car accidents or slip and falls. Of those, 20% will experience chronic back pain (lasting longer than three months). Researchers reviewed data associated with almost 123,000 patients who went to their primary care doctor after an acute episode of low-back pain and received physical therapy for that back pain within two weeks to three months of initial complaint. Findings published by the American Physical Therapy Association (April 2015) found that those who received early PT (within 14 days) required significantly less follow up and advanced imaging techniques (significantly lower medical expenses) compared to those who waited longer. This at least implies that those patients who sought treatment earlier for their low-back pain, had fewer complaints of ongoing pain due to the early intervention.
A May 2015 study, published by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that current reliance on old diagnostic tools, such as the Glascow Coma Scale alone are inadequately incorporating vast improvements and discoveries made in how neuroscientists study brain structure and sources of brain dysfunction after Traumatic Brain Injuries, such as those sustained after car accidents or slip and falls that involve an impact with the head. Cognitive neuroscience has identified scores of brain networks activating varied structures within the brain to perform certain tasks. Certain types if TBIs affect different networks at their sources. Understanding which brain networks are damaged in a TBI would then better guide clinicians, who should be directing their patients toward different cognitive therapies depending on which networks are in need of repair or support.
These sentiments were somewhat echoed in another study published by the University of Taipei in April 2015 that illustrated the different effects on concussion between men and woman. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that results in a temporary loss of normal brain function and may include such symptoms as: headaches, memory loss, mood changes, inability to focus for the same period of time, and fatigue among others. While 85-90% of people fully recover from concussions, the rest will experience ongoing issues. Women tend to experience a higher rate of memory impairment issues after a mild traumatic brain injury such as a concussion.
Serious car accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other injuries caused due to the negligence of another can result in a trip to the nearest hospital’s emergency room and ICU. In April 2015. Johns Hopkins University published findings of a metadata study that reviewed forty previous studies involving over three thousand patients who survived their stay in a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). The study found that 20% of patients reported symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 7-12 months after getting out of the hospital. This is why a good personal injury attorney will consider their injured client’s psychological injury in addition to their physical injuries when warranted.
Because spinal structures look so similar, orthopedic and neurosurgeons will frequently operate at the wrong level. This happens nearly four times per week in the United States according to Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering professor. As a result Johns Hopkins researchers have developed software, that integrate with live imaging already in use during surgeries, to label vertebrae’s in real time during surgery. This software won Technology of the Year by the North American Spine Society. It can go a long way in preventing a common cause of medical malpractice.
Links to other Personal Injury Related Medical Research