Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Research Offers New Insights into Brain Injury in Newborns

New research by Swedish scientists promises to throw light on the causes of brain damage in newborns, possibly laying the base for the development of techniques to limit brain injury in the future.

Two out of every 1000 babies born will suffer from some extent of brain damage related to birth. This injury can occur either before, during or immediately after birth. In many cases that California brain injury lawyers see, brain injury in a newborn occurs because of oxygen deprivation, either before, during or immediately after birth. This oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia can result in serious disorders, like cerebral palsy. Children who have suffered brain damage at birth are also at a high risk for epilepsy.

Hypoxia can be the result of complications in maternal blood pressure before birth, delayed cesarean sections, negligence by doctors and health care personnel and other factors.

Now, researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have found that certain toll-like receptors in the immune system have a significant role to play in the brain development of infants. Researchers used mice in their studies, and simulated the kind of brain injury seen in newborn babies. They found that the receptors increased the likelihood of brain damage. A number of factors can activate the receptors, like an infection. When these receptors are activated, the brain is more sensitive to the effects of the oxygen deprivation, thereby exacerbating the brain injury.

The link between toll-like receptors and brain health has been noticed in earlier studies too. Previous research has shown that these receptors are also activated in adults who suffer from a brain injury after stroke. The researchers at the University of Gothenburg have now found that the same toll-like receptors are found in an immature bra

Proposed California Bill Would Expand Sexual Abuse Reporting Requirements

Spurred by the failure of the system at Penn State to catch and prevent sexual abuse of minors, lawmakers in California are proposing bills aimed at preventing such a situation in this state. State Sen. Juan Vargas has announced his intention to propose a bill that would require coaches at all public and private colleges in the state to report sexual abuse that comes to their notice.

These pieces of legislation are linked to what has been widely seen as the failure of coaches and officials at Penn State University to properly report sexual abuse by former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky to the police. At least one assistant coach is believed to have seen a ten-year-old boy being sodomized by Jerry Sandusky in 2002. He did not go to the police, but informed football coach Joe Paterno. The coach went on to inform the university's athletic director and vice president. Needless to say, neither of those two officials did anything further.

Sandusky is charged with sexual abuse of at least 8 boys, but San Diego criminal defense lawyers expect the number of victims to increase as more boys are encouraged to come forward with their stories.

California currently requires a number of officials, including teachers, employees of public schools, doctors, and law enforcement officers to report sexual abuse of children. That list of personnel would also include coaches and public and private colleges under the bill.

Those who fail to report sexual abuse, leading to a situation where the child suffers serious physical harm, or dies, could be sentenced to up to one year in prison. They could also be fined up to $25,000 in penalties. Anyone who fails to report sexual abuse of a child may be fined up to $5,000, and could be sentenced to between six months and one year in jail. Supervisors and administrators who try to prevent someone from reporting these crimes could be fined as much as $10,000, and be sentenced to between six months and one year in jail.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Tax Deductions for Contributions to Charitable Organizations

The season of giving is upon us, and California tax lawyers find that for many Americans, this is the time to contribute to their favorite charities. Fortunately, donations to charity are eligible for tax deductions. However, in order to be eligible for these tax directions, your contribution must meet certain criteria.

You can only claim a charitable tax deduction if the donation has been made to an organization that has been exempted under IRS section 501 (c) (3). These include hospitals, churches, and schools. To ensure that your donation is tax-exempt, ask the charity that you're considering donating to, whether it has received a tax-exempt status.

Donations to political parties are not eligible for tax exemption. Similarly, contributions made to private individuals are not eligible for tax deductions. Any donations made to a for-profit organization also is not eligible for a tax deduction
If you want to qualify for tax deductions for charitable donations, you must itemize each donation on your tax forms. You must also maintain a record of the charitable contribution. Records in the form of a confirmation from the charity, or from a bank receipt must be presented in order to be eligible for a tax deduction on a charitable contribution of $250 or more.

Some volunteers who have given their time, but not money, to charitable activities may also qualify for tax deductions. However, the value of the time is not tax-deductible. Rather, the expenses involved in offering the time could be tax-exempt. For instance, you may not be able to deduct the value of your time volunteering for a charity, but you can claim the expenses used to get to the charity, like your travel costs to and from the charity. If you use private transportation, make sure that you keep a record of your gas bills, and if you use public translation, retain your fare tickets.

Credit Card Delinquency on the Rise

Credit card delinquency rates have been at their lowest levels in years. Any California bankruptcy lawyer will therefore be alarmed to learn of a slight increase in the national credit card delinquency rate in the last quarter.

The rate increased by 0.71% in the third quarter. This was the first increase in the delinquency data recorded since the fourth quarter of 2009. The average median credit card debt per borrower also increased to $4752 this quarter, an increase of $63. However, the credit card delinquency rate continues to remain the second lowest in the last sixteen years.

The credit card delinquency rate involves the ratio of borrowers who are more than 90 days past their credit card payments. Last month, Bank Of America Corp. reported a small increase in late payments in September, the first time that the bank had reported an increase in a year. The highest rate of default in the credit card industry is typically reported by Bank of America.

Other credit card issuers also reported similar increases. American Express Company also reported a slight increase in late payments in September. This increase in delinquency rates is very worrying to California bankruptcy lawyers because these rates are generally seen as an indicator of future default.

According to some analysts, there is a silver lining in this cloud. This increase in the delinquency rate suggests that more high-risk consumers, who had found it hard to obtain credit during the strained economic situation, are now getting access to credit. The bad news however, is that in the current employment and economic situation, these delinquency rates are only likely to increase further. There could ultimately be a higher rate of national as well as regional delinquency.