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The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative was announced in April of this year by President Obama as part of his strategy to create 21st Century Grand Challenges that stimulate the economy and our understanding of our world.

Working through a wide coalition of research and funding partners, the BRAIN initiative proposes to:

Besides the advancement of knowledge and the jobs that will rise from innovation, what does BRAIN mean to you or me? With yet to be stated research goals, in your busy day of work and stress, how can it help you?

Accidents happen every day to ordinary people like you and me, going to work, or driving to the store. Some of those accidents inevitably cause trauma to the brain. Our firm works hard to obtain compensation for individuals and their families whose lives are permanently altered by brain injury.

Right now, understanding of the brain, and the spinal cord, does not provide much hope for full recovery for our clients. Results from the BRAIN initiative, like the human genome sequencing project, might someday provide that hope.

It is the human brain that has created the world in which we live. It is about time we explore how we might better protect that most precious asset from injury and from disease. Maybe BRAIN will help us do that.

Low back pain, sciatica, sprain strain lumbar spine

Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is a symptom of a problem with the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body and the primary nerve of the leg. The sciatic nerve controls muscles in the back of the knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Sciatica can occur suddenly or it can develop gradually. It may start in the lower back and extend down the leg to the calf, foot, or even toes. Sciatica consists of pain, weakness, tingling or numbness, which might feel like a bad cramp, or it can be excruciating, shooting pain that makes standing or sitting nearly impossible. The pain might be worse when sitting, sneezing, or coughing. For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating, while for others it may be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.

Diagnostic procedures for sciatica may include a complete medical history and physical examination, x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electromyography/nerve conduction study (EMG/NCS). The symptoms of sciatica may resemble other conditions or medical problems, so one should always consult a physician for a diagnosis.

[depiction of low back pain, burning, numbness, tingling, radiating pain, sciatica caused by low back injury]

While there are many causes of sciatica, it is most commonly caused by a herniated disk in the spine that presses on the sciatic nerve. Other causes include: a ruptured intervertebral disk, lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back), an injury such as a pelvic fracture, degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae), spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one), irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine, and pregnancy.

Sometimes sciatica goes away on its own with time and rest. Treatment, if needed, depends on the cause of the problem and it may include exercises, medicines, and surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve. The goal of treatment is to decrease pain and increase mobility. In determining the specific treatment, a physician takes the following factors into consideration: age, overall health and medical history, extent of the disease, tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies, expectations and patient opinion and preferences.

If you develop sciatica in the work place, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be necessary.

If you develop low back radiating pain (aka sciatica) from a motor vehicle accident in Ohio, consult for free with an attorney at NRS Injury Law.

Back injuries are the most common injuries caused by automobile accidents and workplace trauma.  Unexpected impact from an collision, lifting, twisting, fatigue, falls and trauma are the most common causes of back injuries which account for 75% of all workers' compensation and auto accident claims.

Back injuries can be minor (mild sprains or strains) to severe and disabling (disc herniations and other disorders of the spinal column).  The more severe back injuries often become chronic and disabling for workers', flaring up with or without new trauma.  Disc herniations can be treated in a number of ways from conservative (rest and medication) to more aggressive (injections and/or surgery).  It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of disc herniations to help your doctor arrive at a diagnosis as early as possible.   Early diagnosis often leads to better results from treatment.

The back is divided into three levels. The top or the cervical level (from the base of the skull through the neck). The mid or the thoracic level (below the neck down between the shoulder blades to just above the waist), and the low or lumbar level (from the waist down to the sacrum). Significant back injuries can result in herniated discs in any of these levels. By definition a herniated disc is a rupture of the nucleus propulsus which causes irritation of the spinal nerves and applies pressure to the spinal cord.  Depending upon where a herniation occurs, the patient may experience symptoms in other parts of their bodies (i.e., referred pain).   For example, a neck injury may cause numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the arms, hands or fingers while a low back disc herniation is likely to cause pain & symptoms through buttocks into the legs and down into the patients feet and toes.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms following a neck or back injury, it is important to report this to your doctor.  If symptoms persist your doctor should order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or other testing to determine if a disc herniation is present. Be sure to consistently report all symptoms to your doctor from the first visit to help the doctor arrive at a diagnosis and to help your attorney prove the relationship between your auto accident or workplace trauma and the medical condition.

It may be the title of the 2014 award winner at the Sundance Film Festival, but to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who suffer a whiplash injury each year, whiplash is no Hollywood story. Whiplash can cause years of chronic pain and may be associated with other long- and short-term medical problems, including everything from blurred vision and sleep disturbances to arthritis. And according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an organization funded by automobile insurers, the annual cost of whiplash claims is $8 billion.

Rear-end collisions often result in an acceleration-deceleration whiplash injury. When you are hit from behind, your head is thrown forward rapidly, causing the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your neck to stretch beyond their normal range. When you come to a stop, your head is thrown backward.

You should know that:

  1. Taller people and women are among the most likely to suffer whiplash injuries.
  2. Because the effects of a soft tissue (whiplash) injury are not always immediately evident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident involving your neck.
  3. Proper positioning of your head restraint can increase your protection against injury.
  4. Although not a primary law in Ohio, seatbelts are important in the prevention of violent acceleration-deceleration injuries.
  5. Whiplash may occur even in relatively low-speed collisions.

This video shows the mechanism of whiplash injuries - http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xe6cwl_auto-accident-and-whiplash_tech

Last, you should know that insurance companies fight against compensating victims of soft-tissue/whiplash injuries. An experienced auto accident lawyer from the Cleveland law office of Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A. can develop a strong case on your behalf.

The rate of severe injury among older Americans who fall down is going up.

Johns Hopkins Medicine recently published findings in the Journal of Neurotrauma following a multi-year study of spinal cord injury (SCI) patients in the United States. The research looked at the emergency room data of more than 43,000 adults, aged 18 and up.

Any form of spinal cord injury is serious. When force is severe, as in a fall, the vertebrae in the backbone can splinter or impinge on the bundle of neural fiber called the spinal cord that runs from the base of the brain to the tailbone.

In the study, researchers identified trends of interest including:

The age of SCI patients is rising. In an earlier study between 2000 and 2005, the average age of injury was 41. Looking at data from 2007 through 2009, the average age of an SCI patient is now 51.
Adults age 18 to 65 as a group experienced declining rates of SCI during the period of the study. Conversely, seniors 65 and older experienced an increase in SCI.
The leading cause of SCI is now trauma from falls, rather than automobile accidents. Anecdotal evidence suggests improved safety measures may be responsible for lower rates of SCI caused by car crashes.
In the emergency room, seniors with an SCI are four times more likely to die than younger patients. After hospital admission, seniors are six times more likely to pass away from an SCI.

In Ohio, the Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair (CBSCR) works to discover and develop new methods of preventing and treating the disabling paralysis and loss of motion that often accompanies SCI.

The Johns Hopkins study highlights the need to reduce falls in adults of all ages. Watch your step. If you suffer SCI in an accident or fall on the premises of negligent others in Cleveland, talk to an experienced injury attorney.

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