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Medicare warnings to nursing homes that are believed to engage in the overuse of antipsychotic drugs among their residents can help reduce these dangerous practices.

Some of the common medications that can be used on nursing home residents include quetiapine which is often used to help treat symptoms of anxiety, hallucinations and delusions among persons suffering from dementia.  Research  suggests that as many as one in every 7 nursing home residents is prescribed the drug.  While  the drug can be helpful in controlling the symptoms, it is not without its side effects which include kidney injury, heart   failure and an increased risk of strokes and blood clots.  According  to one study,  long term use of quetiapine is associated with a 62% increased risk in kidney damage and a 27% increase  in heart failure risks. These residents may also have a 65% increased risk of suffering a stroke.  Bone  fractures are also another huge risk with an estimated 43% increased risk among patients on quetiapine.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are currently investigating an increase in the use of antipsychotic medications at some nursing home facilities across the country.  As  part of the investigation, the agency found that more than 5,000 doctors were aggressively prescribing medications to patients at several facilities.  More  than 80,000 patients were receiving these medications.

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Understaffing  at nursing homes is a primary cause of abuse and neglect at these facilities.  The  White House has moved to tackle such neglect by imposing a minimum staffing requirement on nursing homes.

In  the final version of the new rule, the Biden administration has clarified that at least one  nursing  staff member should be present in a nursing home 24 hours of the day. The rule also requires these facilities to have enough staff members to provide at least 3.18 hours of care for every resident in a facility in a day.  The rule also includes a requirement  for nursing home facilities to properly assess the health needs of every single resident in   their facility,  to help speed up the diagnosis and treatment of sicker residents.

In September, the administration invited comments from the public about the proposed new rule, and received more than 48,000 comments from the public. These comments involved residents who had been forced to lay on the floor for a long time after falling down because staff was not available to attend to them, and older residents  who had to sit in their own filth for hours without being cleaned up.  Other comments said that residents were often not fed on time,  leading to malnutrition. All of these cases of neglect are the direct result of understaffing at nursing homes, a serious problem that has worried the federal administration for decades.

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Traffic  signs that can monitor motorist behavior and display messages that are tailored to target such behaviors may be the next step forward as federal and state officials consider innovative ways of reducing the number of car accidents in their jurisdictions.

Across the country, some jurisdictions are experimenting with pilot programs using smart sign boards that display targeted messages to motorists.  These   smart signs are designed to  capture dangerous driving behaviors like failure to wear seat belts or use of cell phones while driving.  If  the technology spots a motorist driving without wearing a seat belt or using a cell phone while driving, it immediately flashes a warning message to the motorist.  For example, a distracted driver may see a “Phone Down” message on a sign board as he is approaching. Similar messages will be posted when the system finds motorists driving  at  excessive speeds. Motorists who are driving responsibly may be rewarded with a smiley face flashing from the traffic sign.

The  signs are operated by infrared and microwave technology, and are not designed to punish or cite violators.  However,  they can warn motorists if they are engaged in behavior that increases their risks  of being involved in a car accident.  The  technology is very interesting, and traffic safety experts will be eagerly awaiting the results of the pilot program that is currently running in at least two major American cities.

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The results of a new study show that more  Americans are working and driving on very little sleep. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of drowsy driving -related car accidents which kills thousands of Americans every year. These auto accidents also often result in catastrophic personal injuries.

According to the Gallup poll,  Americans are getting even less sleep than they used to.  More Americans report getting less sleep than they need or would like compared to a decade earlier.  In 2013, for example, a similar poll found that 56% of Americans believed they had gotten the amount of sleep they needed, while that number dropped to just 42% in this new poll. In 2013, 43% of Americans believed that they did not get enough sleep, and that number ballooned to more than half of all Americans in the new poll.

Sleep experts recommend at least 8 hours of sleep for the average adult, but more than a quarter of Americans are barely getting that.  What’s more alarming is that more than 50% of Americans say that they survive on just 6 to 7 hours of sleep every day, while 20% get less than 5 hours of sleep, which is truly worrying. Getting 5 hours of sleep or surviving on that low amount of sleep was not even heard of back in the 1940s. Women below 50 seem to be more sleep-deprived, with only 36% admitting to getting enough sleep.  In  contrast, 48% of men believed that they are getting enough sleep.

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As daylight savings time changes go into effect and clocks are brought one hour forward, a new study finds that there may be some benefits to pedestrians  and bicyclists as accidents involving these road users  are reduced after the change. The same benefits, however, do not extend to motorists.

The effect of daylight savings time change has been analyzed by traffic safety experts several times in the past.  In  this most recent study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers analyzed traffic accident data from between 2010 and 2019.  They further divided these accidents based on the hours around the time change – between 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. – and further divided these accidents based on whether these involved motorists or pedestrians and bicyclists.

The data found that the overall net effect of the time change was minimal, regardless of whether the accident involved pedestrians and bicyclists or occupants of a passenger vehicle.  However, about 5 weeks after the fall time change went into effect, they found that there was an increase in the number of car accidents involving bicyclists and a drop in the number of auto accidents involving motorists.  Conversely,  when they analyzed the data from about 5 weeks after the spring time change went into effect, they found an increase in the number of auto accidents involving motorists and a drop in the number of accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

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In  2017, 40% of automobile marketing focused on the performance or speed of the cars.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, such promotion of speeds can undermine  efforts towards reducing car accidents numbers resulting in a significant number of personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

According to the analysis, the percentage of automobile marketing that focuses on performance has not budged much over the past few decades.  In 1998, for instance, as much as half of all automobile marketing efforts focused on the speed of the vehicle while in 2017, that number had dropped to  40%.  Clearly, automobile manufacturers continue to feel comfortable emphasizing  the performance and speed of these vehicles.  Unfortunately,  when it comes to  automobiles and their features, a clip of a speeding car is not just another advertisement.  Rather, it can encourage motorists to engage in dangerous and risky driving behaviors like driving at high speeds.

Every year, as many as 12,000 people are killed in auto accidents caused directly by a speeding driver.  More  than 300,000 people are injured in such accidents.  The  number of people being injured and killed in speeding- related car accidents has increased over the past few years with a spike  during the pandemic.  During those months when lockdowns ensured fewer vehicles on the road, too many motorists drove at high speeds, complacent  in the knowledge  that they would not be cited  for speeding violations.    Unfortunately, those behaviors have continued even after the pandemic  ended and  traffic volumes went back to normal.

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A combination of strong laws, enforcement and education campaigns is being credited for a drop in distracted driving rates in several states.

A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association finds that distracted driving is a major driver of car accident wrongful death rates. In 2021, distracted driving caused more than 12,000 wrongful deaths in car accidents and resulted in billions of dollars worth of property damage. However, some states have been very successful in reducing their accident fatality numbers.

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a report titled A Roadmap for Safer Roads. The report specifically looked at various states that have seen substantial success in reducing distracted driving accident rates and the techniques that have worked for these states. The Governors Highway Safety Association report found that a combination of strong laws, enforcement, education and auto technology was most effective in helping  drive down the number of people using their cell phones while driving.

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Patients who have suffered a spinal cord personal injury in an auto accident may experience  some improvement in their symptoms with the help of stem cell therapy using cells from their own fat.

Those findings come from a new study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic. The findings of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications.  The study was conducted on 10 patients who had suffered a spinal cord personal injury.  The  researchers found in the study that the patients were able to recover some degree of sensation and movement in the areas affected  by their spinal injury.

The researchers extracted stem cells from fat from the patients’ thigh and abdomen areas.  They  expanded these stem cells  to 100 million cells which were then injected into the affected areas.  The researchers found that 7 out of the 10 patients showed improvement in their symptoms, including two out of three patients who had zero or minimal sensation below the site of their spinal cord injury.  Typically, only 5% of such patients manage to recover any kind of sensation or movement in their affected areas.  Moreover, the researchers say that there were no significant side effects as a result of the stem cell therapy.

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Persons  who have suffered a brain injury may find it difficult to recall memories or make new memories.  This could possibly be a result of processing deficits as a result of a personal injury. Car accidents, slip and fall accidents and similar traumatic events may result in brain injuries which lead to a processing deficit.

A  brain injury can result in a number of cognitive and intellectual impairments. The person may suffer from concentration problems, cognitive  deficits and a lowered ability to understand  and grasp basic concepts and ideas.  One of the more troubling parts of life after a brain injury is limited memory function.  The  person may struggle to recall events, and even short term memory may be affected.  According  to new research, a brain injury can result in slowing down of processing times or a processing deficit which can, in turn, lead to memory dysfunction.  The findings of the study are important when you consider the fact that as many as 50% of patients who have suffered a brain injury  do suffer from some kind of memory dysfunction.

The researchers believe that rehabilitation after a brain injury can help with memory function to some extent.  They believe that therapy, especially occupational therapy techniques used during rehabilitation must include techniques to speed up processing speed.

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The  month of April is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month,  and national as well as Georgia transportation agencies will pay special attention to raising awareness about the dangers of driving while not focusing on the road, in the weeks ahead. Distracted driving is a significant cause of car accidents, personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

Distractions while driving can include a number of activities that take your attention away from the task of driving.  These  activities can include commonly known ones involving the use of electronic devices while driving, such as cell phones, tablets and other electronic equipment in your vehicle.   The  kind of distractions that you experience as you are using your cell phone to make or receive phone calls or text messages while driving can really impact your ability to drive safely and increase your risks of being involved in a car accident.

However,  electronic distractions are not the only ones that plague Atlanta motorists.   Everyday,  thousands of American drivers are distracted because they are applying makeup,  snacking, drinking,  interacting with passengers in the car,  and doing a number of other activities that take their focus and concentration away from the task of driving.

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