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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many 2.5 million people in the United States suffer a brain injury every year.  Brain injuries can be a result of many types of accidents including slip and falls, car accidents and bicycle accidents.  Brain injuries are especially common in motorcycle accidents and can occur even if a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet while riding.

A brain injury can forever change a person’s life.  Traumatic brain injury can severely disrupt a person’s ability lead a productive and normal life. Depending on the severity of the injury, there may be numerous repercussions on the individual’s ability to perform daily routine functions.

A complete treatment for a brain injury has proven elusive, although there are advancements that can help reduce the severity of the injury, and thereby, the consequences of the injury. Typically, these treatments have to be administered within the first few hours of the brain injury in order to limit the severity of the injury.

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Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of an excess amount of alcohol.  A person who engages in binge drinking can suffer from a number of consequences, including not surprisingly, drunk driving accidents. A new study has found that binge drinking among Americans has fallen sharply in terms of frequency. Despite the drop in frequency, however, when people do decide to binge drink they are consuming more drinks than ever before.

According to the research, the frequency at which Americans drink excessively has fallen. The research by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 2011 and 2017, the number of Americans admitting that they drank excessively during a single session fell from 18.9 percent to 18 percent. However, when it came to the number of drinks consumed at a binge session, there was a sharp increase. Between 2011 and 2017, the number of drinks annually consumed by adults who reported drinking excessively during a single session jumped significantly from 472 in 2011 to 529 in 2017.  So, while the number of times that Americans drink excessively has dropped, the intensity of these sessions has increased sharply.

Interestingly enough, the increase in the number of drinks consumed in a single session increased the highest in the 35 and over age group.  While it is commonly believed that younger Americans, especially college students, are the age group that binge drinks the most, that doesn’t seem to be the case. If anything, younger college-aged Americans are actually consuming less alcohol during a single binge. The number of drinks consumed annually by college students who admitted to binge drinking, fell from 619 drinks a year in 2011 to 545 by 2017.  Some statistics have remained the same however, over the years.  Males are still much likelier to report binge drinking, compared to females.

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Legionnaires disease is serious, and potentially fatal, infectious disease that can result in severe medical injury and extensive hospitalization. Often, outbreaks or cases of Legionnaires disease are linked to unsanitary water storage conditions in hotels, cruise ships, apartment or office building, healthcare facilities and other properties.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. This type of pneumonia is caused by the inhalation of tiny droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria. Interestingly enough, the bacteria is less likely to enter a person’s system through ingestion of the contaminated water. Rather, a person may be infected by inhalation of vapors and mist containing the contaminants.

The disease is fatal for one in ten people who contract the infection. Even when people survive Legionnaires disease, they may be hospitalized for several weeks or months, and may incur heavy medical expenses or experience long term health effects after the injury.

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Whiplash injuries are some of the more common injuries suffered by people who have been in a car accident.  Whiplash injuries are often seen in fender-bender accidents when a car has been rear-ended by another vehicle.  Surprisingly, as many as a million people suffer whiplash injuries every year in such crashes.

Though these are not life threatening injuries, they can be extremely painful, and can impede a person’s ability to perform his or her daily functions. Unfortunately, these injuries tend to be often neglected which can lead to serious complications.  Whiplash injuries are not visible to the naked eye, and in most cases, there is no swelling or inflammation with these injuries. In fact in most situations, the symptoms of whiplash may not be seen immediately after the injury.  What’s more, doctors may not test for whiplash unless symptoms are seen, which only further delays treatment.

Whiplash injuries occur when the force of the impact causes the head and the neck to be thrown back and forth at high speeds. Injuries may involve the neck and shoulder muscles, bones, and tendons.  These injuries can occur even in low-speed or low-impact accidents.

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This time of year in the metro-Atlanta region is usually wet and rainy.  This kind of weather not only puts a damper on holiday activities, but can also make engaging in any other activity more difficult than normal.  For instance, driving in wet weather is always more dangerous. The roads are slick and slippery, and visibility is impaired, all of which makes for very challenging driving conditions.  If you can, it’s always best to avoid driving in stormy weather. You should be driving in such weather only in case of an emergency.

Driving in wet weather means having to adjust your driving to accommodate for the rough road conditions, the bad weather and poor visibility. Whether you are driving in light showers or in the middle of a rain storm, it’s important to be cautious and modify your regular driving for the difficult challenges facing you. Unfortunately, most drivers drive on auto pilot, meaning that they don’t take into consideration the changes in the environment and conditions around them that could place them at serious risk of an accident.

Poor visibility during wet weather is one of the more dangerous conditions that can affect your safety during driving. You should always turn on your headlights and keep them on when you’re driving in wet weather, or even when it’s overcast.  This will not only increase visibility for you in this weather, but will also make your car more visible to other motorists.

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As we age, we become more vulnerable to injuries, especially after an accident.  Senior citizens have a higher risk of suffering falls due to a variety of reasons.  Many of the reasons are caused by deteriorating health conditions, which in turn can result in serious injury after a fall accident.

As you get older, gait and balance may be affected and compromised, making it much more likely that you will lose your balance and suffer a fall. Muscular weakness is another common factor in slip and fall accidents. While bone health is a common focus of senior health, muscular weakness is often ignored. This is in spite of the fact that seniors may have a higher risk of muscular weakness as they age. Muscular strength is critical in helping to maintain proper gait and balance.  If you’re suffering from weakened muscle strength, it becomes harder to maintain your balance and avoid a fall.

Worsening vision can also increase a senior’s risk of a trip and fall.  Failing vision often contributes to falls. Ideally, a senior should have an eye exam every 6 months. If your loved one falls in this high-risk category, make sure that he takes regular eye exams.  Regular physical exams are also very important.

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Depression affects millions of people in the U.S.  Depression can sometimes be caused by life events such as job burn-out.  When a doctor suffers from burnout-related depression, a patient’s safety may be compromised.

According to the results of a new study, doctors who are depressed may be at a higher risk of making medical errors that threaten patient safety. The study which was published recently in the JAMA Network Open, finds that depressed doctors are more likely to report medical errors. The study also finds that these medical errors actually increase the risk of the doctor committing even more serious errors in the future.  These medical errors can result in a medical malpractice claim.

Several earlier studies have indicated that physicians are at a high risk of mental problems, like depression, due to a number of factors. Physician burnout is a very real phenomenon, and can be linked to heavy caseloads, stressful work environments and high pressure challenges that can lead to feelings of irritability, lack of morale and motivation and feelings of hopelessness. Many studies have pointed to certain fields of medicine that are more prone to high stress levels, like oncology and surgery.

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We all know distracted driving is dangerous and can cause deadly accidents, but distracted walking can be just as dangerous to both pedestrians and motorists alike.

Distracted walking includes activities such as texting or emailing while walking, using social media apps while walking, listening to music and even playing a game on the phone while walking.

These days with everyone constantly on their cell phones, distracted walking accidents are increasing at an alarming rate.  According to the National Safety Council, over 6000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018.   Statistics from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Association show that most of these pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, such as the metro Atlanta, on the open road, and at night.  The actual number of pedestrian injuries are probably even higher as these statistics focus on only the number of medically treated injuries and death.  The problem has gotten so bad that some cities and states have either banned using a cell phone while walking or will fine those who violate such laws.

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Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and have life long implications.   A traumatic spinal cord injury is difficult to recover from for most all individuals. However, frail victims of spinal cord injuries may have a much higher risk of adverse effects and complications than healthy individuals.  These complications can include greater occurrence of hospitalizations and death after the injury.

According to the results of a new study that was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, frail victims of a spinal injury are at a higher risk of possibly life -threatening complications after the injury. The researchers identified spinal cord injury victims from between 2004 and 2016. The average median age of the patients was 50.3 years. Out of a total of 643 patients that were studied as part of the research, 77 percent were male. Falls were the leading cause of spinal injuries, with more than 60 percent of the patients, having suffered a spinal injury as the result of a slip and fall accident.

The researchers found that in patients below the age of 60 years, a person’s frail condition was a fairly reliable predictor of the number of adverse events, in-hospital mortality as well as length of hospital stay. In patients that were between 61 and 75 years of age, the frailty index also predicted the number of adverse events, length of hospital stay as well as in- hospital mortality. However, in patients above the age of 75, frailty did not predict any outcomes.

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New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals both good and bad news for drivers and pedestrians.

The good news is that the agency recorded an overall drop in traffic accident fatalities across the United States in 2018. The bad news is that while there was a drop in the number of people killed in car accidents in the country last year, there was actually an uptick in the number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities during the same period of time.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 2.4 percent drop in traffic accident deaths in 2018.  There were 36,560 traffic crash fatalities in 2018, compared to 37,473 deaths in 2018.  The fatality rate dropped from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018. This is also the lowest recorded fatality rate in five years.