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Pediatricians and pathologists see traumatic brain injury differently

Children's Health • • Brain • • TraumaMay 14 07

Confronted with the same hypothetical scenarios of traumatic brain injuries to children, pediatricians and pathologists were unable to agree half the time whether the deaths should be investigated as potential child abuse, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine found.

The study demonstrates the need for improved, uniform definitions if research is to prevent such abuse, said Antoinette Laskey, M.D., M.P.H., a forensic pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and her colleagues. They reported on their efforts to develop a framework to help researchers compare cases in the April issue of the journal Child Abuse and Neglect.

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Kids with head injury apt to have another

Children's Health • • TraumaApr 14 07

Children who suffer a head injury are quite likely to have a similar injury subsequently, researchers report.

“We do not really understand the mechanism behind repetitive head injuries in children,” Dr. Bonnie R. Swaine, of the University of Montreal, Canada, told Reuters Health. “These results support anecdotal evidence of the phenomenon.”

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Impact of Brain Injury on Family Members

Brain • • TraumaMar 28 07

After a traumatic brain injury medical professionals tend to focus on the patient but research shows a great impact on family members as well. Studies in the 1970s began to recognize these issues, while other work in the 1980s documented emotional distress that persisted for up to seven years and many studies in the 1990s identified tremendous levels of stress on caregivers and family members. The special April issue of the journal NeuroRehabilitation sheds light on the substantial advances in the science of family member and caregiver research with six special articles by experts in the field, exploring ways in which interventions can be targeted for optimum effectiveness.

In spite of growing evidence of family/caregiver distress after injury, developing appropriate intervention strategies to help families and caregivers has lagged behind.

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Teenagers with retail, service jobs at risk of injury, robberies, sleep deprivation

Children's Health • • Sleep Aid • • TraumaMar 05 07

Despite federal regulations intended to protect them, many teenagers in the U.S. use dangerous equipment or work long hours during the school week, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study.

The national study was based on telephone surveys of 928 teenaged workers, 14 to 18 years old. The results show 52 percent of males and 43 percent of females use dangerous equipment such a box crushers and slicers, or serve and sell alcohol where it is consumed, despite federal child labor laws prohibiting these practices.

The results were published in the March 1, 2007 editor of the journal Pediatrics.

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Early lead exposure linked to teens’ injury risk

TraumaOct 12 06

Teenagers whose blood levels of lead were relatively high as children may be more prone to falls and injuries, a preliminary study suggests.

The findings, reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health, may add to the list of health consequences of childhood lead exposure. The toxic metal is already known to be particularly dangerous for young children and fetuses, as even low-level exposure can damage the developing brain and cause learning and behavioral problems.

Based on what’s known about the metal’s effects on the nervous system, it’s possible that lead exposure could affect children’s long-term injury risk by harming their balance, coordination and other neuromuscular skills, according to the authors of the new study.

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Female Athletes Limiting Calories More Likely to Get Stress Fractures

TraumaSep 14 06

Female college athletes on low-calorie diets could be putting themselves at risk for stress fractures, according to new Saint Louis University research published in this month’s The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Researchers studied risk factors for exercise-related leg pain, including stress fractures in women participating in four popular fall sports -  cross-country running, field hockey, soccer and volleyball.

Women with “disordered eating,” which includes eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia but more generally refers to insufficient caloric intake, were more likely to develop stress fractures as a result of decreased estrogen production, says researcher Mark Reinking, PT, Ph.D., chairman of the department of physical therapy at Saint Louis University’s Doisy College of Health Sciences.

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Optimistic seniors recover better after hip fracture

TraumaAug 12 06

Hip fracture patients who have a positive outlook on life may fare better after hospitalization than their more depressed counterparts, study findings show.

“This study found that elderly patients with hip fracture with high positive affect had better recovery on three performance-based measures than patients with low positive affect and depressive symptoms,” write study author Dr. Lisa Fredman, of Boston University, and her colleagues.

Each year, approximately 340,000 seniors in the US experience hip fracture.

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Balance the Key to Protecting Teenaged Athletes from Injury

TraumaJul 19 06

Staying active is important for teenagers -  and so is staying injury free. Unfortunately, injury is all too common, according to one study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). But, according to another CIHR-funded study, innovative training techniques can help reduce the injury rate.

A survey of Victoria teens has found that nearly 40% had sports injuries serious enough to limit their normal daily activity. Unexpectedly, nearly three-quarters of the injuries -  70%  -  occurred in organized sports. Unorganized sports, such as biking, rollerblading or skateboarding, had much lower injury rates.

Dr. Bonnie Leadbetter of the University of Victoria, who conducted the study, fears that these injuries could discourage teens from continuing to participate in sports, which will contribute to increasing youth obesity rates.

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Expert Offers Tips on Avoiding Backpack Injuries in Children

TraumaJul 19 06

In the rush to buy back-to-school supplies for their children, parents may unknowingly purchase backpacks that do more harm than good, warns a University of Florida occupational therapist.

In a study of American students, published in the Indian Journal of Pediatrics, researchers found that six out of 10 students ages 9 to 20 reported chronic back pain related to heavy backpacks.

Overloaded and improperly worn backpacks can result in chronic back pain, poor posture and numbness in the hands and arms, said Joanne Jackson Foss, director of professional programs in occupational therapy and assistant dean of academic affairs at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions.

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New guidelines for treating severely injured patients

TraumaApr 19 06

If someone is injured in an automobile collision or is severely burned, emergency room physicians across the country would probably take similar steps to stabilize each condition. But subsequent treatment in the intensive care unit or operating room is less well established and may vary significantly.

That is likely to change based on the work of an interdisciplinary team of dozens of scientists and physicians funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Drawing from the best available evidence, the team is developing a series of standard procedures for the care of severely injured patients. The guidelines will describe how to implement the most successful treatment protocols in the clinic and will include summaries of each procedure ready to print on 3-by-5 index cards for quick bedside reference.

The team’s first article—on mechanical ventilation—appeared in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. Planned future topics will cover resuscitation, prevention and treatment of venous blood clots, diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, blood sugar control, nutritional support, transfusion thresholds, and sedation. The team chose to cover aspects of care for which practices vary the most and those that have the greatest potential to influence patient outcomes.

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Head injury may be major risk in sport fighting

TraumaMar 24 06

Blows to the head often leading to concussion may be the single most common ending to “no-holds-barred” sport fighting, according to a new study.

The sport—known variously as mixed martial arts fighting, cage fighting and ultimate fighting—is basically a blend of martial arts, wrestling and street fighting. Competitions are banned in some U.S. states, but others allow them, and pay-per-view TV has brought matches to a wide audience.

Critics call the sport barbaric, as fighters try to knock each other out with punches, elbow strikes, choke holds and body throws, to name a few maneuvers. Defenders say no-holds-barred fighting is as legitimate as other combat sports, with one argument being that boxing is more likely to cause serious head trauma.

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Dart injuries rise as beginners get the point

TraumaFeb 22 06

A wave of international victories for Dutch darts players has prompted an increase in the number of injuries as people take up the game at home, according to the Dutch consumer safety association.

Over-eagerness caused some of the most injuries, said a spokeswoman for the group, with players hurling their darts before opponents had finished retrieving their own.

Poorly hung dartboards also posed problems. “Often the board falls down on someone’s foot or worse on someone’s head,” she added.

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Child injury risk similar in SUVs, cars: study

TraumaJan 03 06

Sports utility vehicles do not offer child passengers added protection in a crash compared to cars because SUVs are more likely to roll over in an accident, researchers said on Tuesday.

Though the added weight of SUVs conferred some protection in non-rollover accidents, the vehicles were twice as likely as cars to roll over during a wreck, the report published in the journal Pediatrics said.

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Kids in car crashes may suffer traumatic stress

Stress • • TraumaNov 17 05

Children involved in motor vehicle crashes may show signs of acute stress disorder, even if they experienced only minor cuts and scratches, new research shows.

“Traffic crashes cause more than injuries for many children and their parents,” study author Dr. Flaura K. Winston, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, told Reuters Health.

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Doors cause most childhood amputations

TraumaNov 07 05

Hands caught in doors cause most of the childhood amputations in the United States, a study said on Monday, though they most often involve only partial loss of a finger and no hospital stay.

The most serious amputation injuries occur among adolescents and often involve lawn mowers and tools, according to a review of hospital records from 1990 to 2002 done at Ohio State University.

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