October 2019 Archives

Scientists investigate brain injury treatments

Traumatic brain injury can be life-changing and devastating. Each year, over 1.7 million people in West Virginia and across the country experience brain injuries, and the most common causes are car accidents and slip-and-fall incidents. Around 288,000 people are taken to the hospital while 50,000 people lose their lives each year. Scientists are investigating methods that could save accident victims' lives and address some of the long-term consequences of trauma to the brain. According to researchers at the University of Texas, an injection may be able to offset some of the most dangerous effects of a TBI. This experimental treatment is designed to stop abnormal electrical activity in the brain shortly after a traumatic accident.

Highway fatalities fall but safety concerns remain

West Virginia residents may be relieved to hear that deaths caused by car accidents declined for the second straight year in 2018. While the total of 36,560 deaths nationwide is still staggering, it represents a 2.4% decline over the previous year. Statistics in 2017 also declined slightly after a significant increase that accompanied the national recovery after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this positive movement is continuing. In the first half of 2019, traffic deaths are down by another 3.4%. In addition, the number of people killed per total miles driven has dropped dramatically since the early 1970s.

Teens linked to higher rate of distracted driving

Teenagers in West Virginia are more likely to drive while distracted and be in auto accidents, according to study data released for Teen Driver Safety Week. It may come as no surprise that teens are more prone to crashes, especially because they are inexperienced drivers and still learning to deal with emergency situations that can arise on the road. While distracted driving has garnered a good deal of public attention, many teens do not realize the dangerous effects of driving while surfing the web or texting a friend. Inexperienced drivers in particular may be ill-equipped to determine when the road demands their complete attention.

Late model pickups leave passengers vulnerable to injury

West Virginia passengers riding in newer model pickup trucks are more likely to be injured or killed in crashes than drivers, according to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, researchers found that most 2018 two-row pickups included in the study had difficulty maintaining their structure when struck on the front-right corner.

Some trucking groups want safety tech, younger truckers

Accidents involving large trucks are often more severe than other accidents on West Virginia highways because of the size of big rigs relative to other vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that it will be working with different representatives from the trucking industry to provide education about the benefits of safety technologies, including lane departure warning systems and automatic emergency braking. The administrator of the FMCSA also announced a pilot program that will put younger drivers behind the wheel of large trucks.

Studies look at factors that optimize TBI rehabilitation

TBI stands for traumatic brain injury and is a major cause of disability and death in West Virginia and across the U.S. The Ohio State University College of Medicine has published the results of four studies, all of which have to do with rehabilitative care for TBI patients. The studies found that several factors affect the results of TBI in-patient rehabilitation.

Fast MRI may effectively identify TBIs in children

West Virginia parents should know that young children with a suspected traumatic brain injury are very often diagnosed by means of a CT scan. However, such exposure to ionizing radiation can lead to problems in children, who are, after all, still growing and sensitive to radiation. One study, the results of which have been published in Pediatrics, has tested the effectiveness of fast MRIs as an alternative.

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