Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Researchers Find Drug Therapy Combo Effective in Treating Brain Injury

A complete cure for traumatic brain injury remains elusive, but researchers from the State University of New York Downtown Medical Center have reported success treating brain injury using a combination of drugs. The therapy involves a combination of the antibiotic minocycline and N-acetylcysteine, and according to the researchers, animals that were treated with this therapy showed a marked improvement in memory and reasoning powers. They showed a “synergistic” improvement in both memory abilities and cognition when they were treated with this combination of drugs to treat a brain injury. The researchers will continue these studies further.

There is no single drug that can be used in the treatment of brain injury. There have been several promising leads as far as drug therapy for brain injury is concerned, but unfortunately, none of these have failed to show effective results. That is why researchers have been experimenting more and more with combinations of drugs recently. The idea is to take drugs that have already been confirmed to be effective, and to use these in combination to treat brain injury. In this particular research, the researchers tested several different combinations of drugs to test the effect on brain injury.

Approximately 50% of all brain injuries occur during motor vehicle accidents. Other persons who may be at risk are victims of falls, military personnel, and victims of assault and violence. Although animal tests using this combination of drugs have been successful, it is still too early to say whether we can expect to see beneficial results during clinical trials on human beings. California brain injury lawyers understand that for the millions of people who live with a brain injury, there is an urgent need for medications that can help regain some of their cognitive, memory, reasoning and other abilities that are lost because of the injury.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Did Johnson & Johnson Hide Risks of Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch?

It’s the question California pharmaceutical liability lawyers, Public Citizen and victims’ families are asking. When did Johnson & Johnson learn about the serious risks of its Ortho Evra birth control patch? An investigation by MSNBC found that between 2002 and 2004, the best-selling patch was about 18 times more likely to cause blood clots than birth control pills, and 12 times more likely to cause strokes.

The biggest factor contributing to the increased risk of strokes and blood clots is the high amount of estrogen the patch delivers. With the birth-control pill, the estrogen dissolves in your system. However, with the patch, the estrogen keeps pumping into your system, flowing through your bloodstream for almost a week. Experts estimate that the patch delivers about 60% more estrogen than birth-control pills. That makes it much more dangerous and riskier than the use of the pill.

Several medical experts believe that the patch is more dangerous than other forms of birth control, although all hormone-based contraceptives are risky. This comes from the increased amount of estrogen that is delivered to the body. In 2006, Johnson & Johnson changed the label on the patch packaging, including a warning in fine print about the increased risk of blood clots. The company like so many others, hopes that this fine warning will relieve it of all liability.

Doctors continue to prescribe the Ortho Evra birth-control patch. Since it emerged on the market, more than 20 million prescriptions have been written for it. The Food and Drug Administration refuses to ban the patch outright, in spite of petitions by consumer safety group, Public Citizen. The appeal was made two years ago, and the FDA has not made a decision about whether to ban the patch. Johnson & Johnson in the meantime has quietly continued to settle product liability lawsuits, paying out an estimated $60 million so far to victims.

The company also faces other similar questions from California pharmaceutical liability attorneys about when it received information about defects in its DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System hip impants.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Fresno Girl Mauled by Stolen Dog

A five-year-old girl in Fresno, who was bitten by a pit bull while she was playing with the animal in the yard, is now recovering. There's plenty of mystery about the owner of the dog. According to the girl's mother, her son was dog sitting for the animal, and the little girl was playing with the animal when she was bitten. However, since the local TV stations carried news of the attack, a local family has come forward to claim that the dog is theirs. They claim the pit bull was stolen from their yard last month. They have since been looking for him, and had even offered a reward for his return.

The family is coming apparently forward to prevent the dog from being euthanized, not to take responsibility for the attack on the little girl. They claim the attack would never have happened if the dog had not been stolen. However, as Los Angeles dog bite lawyers often explain, under California’s strict dog bite liability statute, a dog owner is liable for dog bites even if the dog has never bitten anyone or even shown a tendency to bite.

This should be a warning to all owners of dog breeds that are more frequently involved in dog attacks like this, to make certain that their dogs are secured properly. Parents must also make sure that their children are not playing alone with dogs at any point in time. Children below the age of five tend to be the most frequent victims of dog bites, and you can help prevent these by making sure that your child knows how to behave around dogs. That means no pulling ears or tails, and no smacking on heads. Children of this age must be supervised when they are around dogs of any breed.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

New Federal Rules Allow Airline Pilots More Rest

Under new rules proposed by the Department of Transportation this week, airline pilots will now get nine hours of rest between shifts. That works out to a 13% increase over the current rest hours that pilots enjoy. The rules are part of a series of measures that are in the works to deal with airline pilot fatigue.

The rules are also a direct response to the deadly Buffalo plane crash in 2009 that killed 50 people. The pilots of the Colgan Air flight involved in the crash had been operating the plane in a fatigued state, having missed out on many hours of sleep in the days leading up to the crash. Under the new rules that were announced by Transportation Secretary LaHood, pilots will now get at least 30 consecutive hours of weekly rest from work. That is a 25% increase over current rules. Workdays may be limited to as few as nine hours a day, when a pilot flies more than seven segments.

For the first time, the new rules differentiate between flying at night and flying during the daytime. Pilots who fly between midnight and 4 AM will get to fly for nine hours. However, pilots who fly between 7 AM and 1 PM could work as much as 13 hours. This is meant to consider the difference between the difficulties and challenges of flying at night compared to flying in the day time. For the first time, fatigue rules for pilots take into consideration not just work hours, but also the difference between night and day, sleep cycles and the rest effect.

The current rules force pilots to switch on or off like a machine when they fly a plane, no matter what time of day or night it is. The new rules will change that. These rules take a humane and compassionate approach to flying that treats pilots like human beings. California plane crash lawyers would definitely approve.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Family of Man Killed after Dog Bite Sues Owner

An interesting case out of Seattle involves a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was killed after he developed a deadly infection, following a dog bite. Kenneth Bock was bitten by a dog that belonged to Konrad Haskins. The bite was on the finger, and it drew blood. On its own, this was not a serious dog bite. In fact, it was one of the millions of dog bites every year that that do not end in hospitalization, or the need for a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer.

Except that the very next day, Bock developed a strange and unexplained pain in his leg. When he went to the hospital, doctors diagnosed a blood clot. Bock soon developed an infection called Capnocytophaga canimorsus sepsis. This infection is caused from a bacterium that is normally found in the saliva of dogs and cats. Ten days after he was bitten by Haskins’ dog, Bock died from complications resulting from the dog bite.

His family has now filed a lawsuit against Haskins, claiming that the dog owner was aware of his animal’s history of biting people, but still allowed him to roam around without a leash. Bock’s family is relying on the animal's alleged history of biting. They are also pointing to another dog bite involving the same dog on the same day on the same property. According to lawyers for Haskins, at the time of the bite, the dog was in Haskins’ SUV, and Bock had put his hand through the window to pet the dog, and was bitten instead. Haskins insurance company refused to pay out the full amount of his policies, amounting to $1.5 million to Bock’s family, and hence, the lawsuit.

Fatalities from dog bites are not unheard of, but are relatively rare. Usually, these fatalities involve little children or infants who are mauled by dogs. A death from an infection that develops as a result of a dog bite, is even rarer, but again not unheard of. According to estimates, about 16 percent of all dogs carry the Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacterium in their saliva. Approximately one-third of these dog-bite related infections end in death.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Brain Injury Support Award for Ventura County Social Worker

The California Brain Injury Association held its annual state conference in Los Angeles this week. Part of the commemoration every year includes an award for Professionalism in the Field of Brain Injury. This year, the award was handed out to Celeste Racicot, a rehabilitation and vocational counselor, cognitive therapist and case manager.

Racicot has experience of about 25 years in human services, and is a member of the Brain Injury Center of Ventura County's Professional Advisory Council. She also leads Brain Injury Center support groups in Ventura, Santa Paula and Camarillo. According to Racicot, she is committed to educating the public about brain injury, and helping train survivors to regain their sense of belonging. Judging by the comments of brain injury survivors who attend her rehabilitation and support sessions, Racicot does an excellent job of boosting brain injury survivors’ sense of self-worth. She helps them forget about their disabilities.

Any California brain injury lawyer knows that's not an easy thing to do, when you're dealing with patients who suffer a great range of physical, mental, emotional and cognitive limitations. Racicot says she focuses on helping survivors to make the transition back into their home and community.

When a person suffers and survives the brain injury, it's not the end of his life. After his stay in the hospital, the person needs to go back home and integrate into his life as before the injury. These patients face enormous challenges when they begin to do so. Not only are they forced to relearn routine activities, but they are also now faced with a diminished sense of self-worth. For the process of recovery to continue, it's important for a brain injury survivor to learn to love himself or herself again. People like Racicot play a major part in helping these patients do so.