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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

The long-term impact of concussions

Pennsylvania residents may be interested to know that concussions occur frequently and can be incurred in multiple ways. A concussion is the result of the shifting or movement of the brain inside of the skull in response to a force, like having one's head jerked forward when their vehicle is struck from behind.

Concussions are particularly common among sports participants such as professional football players, 60 percent of whom have been concussed at least once. According to research, concussions may present more danger than experts thought, especially in regards to strokes.

Male breast cancer awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and pink ribbons and events across Pennsylvania remind people that the disease is a leading type of cancer in women. But there is another, lesser known fact about breast cancer: Men can get it too.

It is estimated that about 2,000 men are affected by breast cancer every year, and the prognosis for most of them is poor. Experts say this is largely due to the fact that there is no standard screening test for male breast cancer, and many men don't even realize that they can get the disease. Usually by the time a man is diagnosed with breast cancer, it has already spread.

Increased technology can lead to increased accident risk

Infotainment panels and other technology may make cars easier or more fun to drive. However, they may also increase the risk of a Pennsylvania driver getting into an accident. A study conducted by the University of Utah on behalf of AAA studied 30 different systems in cars made in 2017. Of the systems studied, all required at least a moderate level of attention from drivers.

Specifically, 11 required a high level of demand from drivers while an additional 12 required a very high level of demand. Researchers have suggested that cars only come with technology that is functional and that enhances the ability to drive safely. Of tasks that may take a driver's attention from the road, using a GPS was deemed to be the most distracting. Texting while driving was another task that was highly distracting to drivers.

Excessive cell growth may cause seizures in TBI patients

The massive growth of fresh brain cells that occurs after a Pennsylvania resident suffers a traumatic brain injury may cause cognitive problems and epileptic seizures, according to a study. Scientists had previously believed that it actually helped a patient's recovery.

Researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School induced brain injuries in laboratory rats to study the link between excessive new brain cell growth and epileptic seizures in brain injury patients. They found that the rate of new brain cell growth dramatically increased after the rats suffered a brain injury, but new cell generation dropped to abnormally low levels within a month. This put the rats at greater risk of seizures. Meanwhile, injured rats that were given chemotherapy-like treatments to prevent the initial burst of brain cell growth were able to achieve a normal rate of cell regeneration. These rats had a reduced risk of seizures.

Spending enough time with a physician to get a diagnosis

Pennsylvania patients may not be spending enough time with their doctors during an appointment. This can lead to a misdiagnosis or even the failure to get a diagnosis at all. According to a survey, part of the reason for this may be due to severe burnout being suffered by medical professionals.

For example, several individuals who were eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease spent years trying to get a proper diagnosis. One patient said that she could not get the physician to spend any time with her, resulting in her seeing at least 30 different doctors. Another patient was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis by a nurse practitioner after looking at an MRI.

Size matters when it comes to auto safety

Drivers of larger and heavier cars in Pennsylvania and across the United States are more protected in case of accidents than those who travel subcompact vehicles. According to crash test statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the driver of a Honda Civic runs a greater risk than the driver of a Honda Ridgeline should they meet in a head-on collision.

Since 2009, the IIHS has been testing the crash resistance of several vehicle models popular in the U.S. The results of these collision tests show that the size and weight of cars are important factors in terms of providing protection to drivers and passengers. The tests featured very small automobiles such as the Honda Fit against compact and mid-size sedans such as the Toyota Yaris and the Camry. Each of these tests showed that larger and heavier cars were safer for occupants in case of road traffic accidents.

When and where most car accidents occur

Pennsylvania has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most dangerous states in the Northeast to drive in. Contrary to what some may believe, many accidents happen on quiet roads. Driving on familiar roads could lead a driver to pay less attention, and that can cause car accidents.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rural roads see more accidents than busy highways. Large states with many roadways tend to have the most car accidents. In 2013, Texas had the most highway fatalities, closely followed by California. In the Northeast, statistics from 2012 show that largely rural Pennsylvania had more accidents than New York and more than twice as many as New Jersey.

Daytime running lights increase safety

Pennsylvania motorists may already be aware of the increased safety provided by running headlights at all times, even during clear daylight hours. Further proof continues to come in, as numerous studies indicate that daytime running lights reduce the risk of a car accident. Indeed, some studies have noted that using headlights during daylight hours could reduce the number of crashes by as much as 10 percent. Perhaps more interesting, though, are the types of accidents that might be avoided by drivers putting on their headlights.

Using headlights during the day lowered the number of two-vehicle accidents by 5.7 percent, and it lowered the number of car-pedestrian crashes by 12 percent. The number of crashes involving a motorcycle and a vehicle coming from the other direction were reduced by 23 percent when headlights were used during daylight hours. The raw numbers tell only part of the story, though, as these latter two types of accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Fall safety tips for Pennsylvania drivers

Pennsylvania residents often take to the roads in the fall to view the state's impressive foliage, attend football games or visit friends and family members, but driving conditions can be unpredictable at this time of year and traffic conditions often change quickly. Heavy rains can make fall roads treacherous when water pools on top of accumulated summer dust and oil, and drivers in states like Pennsylvania with mountainous and wooded terrain should be especially vigilant as fog can descend rapidly and impede visibility.

Added fall road hazards in Pennsylvania include road markings obscured by falling leaves, increased pedestrian and road traffic as students return to school and unpredictable animal behavior during the white-tailed deer mating season. Drivers in the state who wish to complete their fall journeys without incident should allow extra time to account for traffic congestion caused by school buses, check weather forecasts before setting out and make sure that their windshields are clean to reduce glare.

Failures to diagnose foot bone tumors

Some Pennsylvanians develop bone tumors of the feet. While malignant tumors of the feet are rare, they are aggressive forms of cancer and must be promptly treated. Delays in the diagnoses may cause worsened prognoses while subjecting the victims to more extensive treatments.

Bone tumors of the feet may appear as small protrusions under the skin on top of the bony surfaces. They most commonly affect the toes and tops of the feet. More rarely, they may appear on the heels. If the tumors are benign, they may still require removal. If they are malignant, they will require prompt medical care to prevent the cancer from metastasizing throughout the body.