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Factors for cerebral palsy could arise before birth

Expectant parents in Newton who are preparing for the birth of a child will have many natural concerns about the baby. For some, their concerns center around what kind of parents they will be and how they will adapt to a growing family. Some, however, will be confronted with a child who is suffering from birth injuries. Cerebral palsy is one particular issue that might make it necessary for the child to have long-term care. There will also be significant financial outlays to care for such a child.

Research is examining the incidence of cerebral palsy, and has found that the number of babies born with cerebral palsy has remained static for the last few decades. However, it also claims that problems pre-birth might be a larger factor. Such issues as restriction in fetal growth, issues with the placenta and genetic factors could be linked to many of the babies developing cerebral palsy. Out of the two-thirds of babies who were born suffering from cerebral palsy, almost all -- 96 percent -- were born after 35 weeks gestation.

Failure to diagnose is an ongoing problem, study shows

Patients in Newton trust their doctors to give them a correct diagnosis when they go for treatment. However, as a new report indicates, the majority of people across the United States will receive an incorrect diagnosis in their lifetimes. The sheer number is impossible to know, but there are steps recommended to remedy this ongoing issue.

The report showed that a minimum of 5 percent of adults in the U.S. who are treated on an outpatient basis will be victimized by a wrong diagnosis. After people have died, examinations showed that wrong diagnoses contributed to 10 percent of the deaths. Adverse events for people in hospitals showed that between 6 and 17 percent were due to diagnostic mistakes. There are times when people are not subjected to one error, but to more than one.

Study shows danger of delayed treatment of lung cancer

For Newton patients who are diagnosed with cancer, there will undoubtedly be a sense of fear and trepidation that they are facing such a deadly disease regardless of the kind of cancer it is. However, coping with such an illness may be made easier with the knowledge that there is a treatment plan for it and it can be dealt with. Nevertheless, even if there was not a failure to diagnose cancer and the patient received an accurate diagnosis, other issues might arise that can cause a spread of disease, worsened condition and death.

Studies into lung cancer discovered that sometimes the optimal treatment for these patients is not being followed through. This includes the discovery of the lesion, diagnosis, staging and the treatment provided. Patients who have are believed to have lung cancer often wait too long to receive the final treatment. In some instances, steps are bypassed completely to determine how best to combat the disease. This can lead to delayed treatment and a reduction in the survival rates.

New study for brain injury in football players causes concern

With the football season in full swing, fans and players in Newton and across the country are enthusiastic about watching and participating in the sport. That, however, doesn't assuage the dangers that are inherent and are becoming a growing concern for those who play or have played it. The risk for injury in any contact sport is inherent, but it is greater in tackle football due to its violent nature. Studies are moving forward on players present and past to determine how widespread the issue of head injury and the resulting brain damage can be.

A new study was released showing that only four former National Football League players out of 91 who took part did not have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease of the brain. The research, conducted by Boston University and the Department of Veterans Affairs, also found that out of all football players, 79 percent had CTE. It is believed brain injury results from the continued hits to the head that often occur in the sport. Research was also done on 165 former football players who have died. Of those, 131 had CTE. These players either played high school, college, semi-pro or professional football. Four of every 10 played in what is commonly known as the football "trenches" -- the offensive and defensive lines. This supports the idea that traumatic brain injury can accumulate from repeated smaller hits.

Placenta previa and how it affects the delivery process

Expectant Newton parents are simultaneously excited and worried about the upcoming birth of a child. While in the back of their minds, most parents will account for the possibility that there might be something wrong with the newborn at birth, it is generally believed that medical professionals will be able to catch most issues and deal with them. That, unfortunately, is not always the case. One possible problem is called placenta previa.

If the placenta covers the opening in the mother's cervix either partially or completely, it is known as placenta previa. If placenta previa occurs, it can result in severe bleeding prior to or while the delivery is in process. The placenta is important because it gives nutrients and oxygen to the baby. It also removes waste products that accumulate in the baby's blood. In the majority of pregnancies, the placenta will be attached to the top or side of the woman's uterus. With placenta previa, the placenta will instead attach itself to the lower portion of the uterus.

The Glasgow coma scale and a traumatic brain injury

If a Newton resident suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the initial concern for the family is whether or not he or she will survive. Another concerning factor is how severe the injury is. When the injured person is treated, there will be various tests done to see how serious the damage might be. One method that is used is the Glasgow coma scale. Understanding this scale and how it is used to assess a patient is important when the decisions as to treatment and rehabilitation are made.

Medical professionals will use the Glasgow coma scale to see how conscious the patient is, if at all. This test records the initial phase of consciousness as well as subsequent levels. It will be used when the patient is brought in after any injury involving the brain. Key factors are the patient opening his or her eyes, the verbal responses and motor responses. The numbers begin at one and move up accordingly contingent on how the patient responds spontaneously, when spoken to, when feeling pain, the ability to engage in conversation and its content and physical responses.

Study into failure to diagnose and misdiagnoses seeks solutions

For patients in Newton who are confronted with a mistaken diagnosis or a failure to diagnose, there can be many negative implications. The problem of misdiagnosis is often pushed off to the side. The reality is that between 5 and 15 percent of medical diagnoses turn out to be wrong. However, not much is being done to deal with it, because it's difficult to know exactly how many cases of misdiagnoses there are and what to do about it.

A report regarding misdiagnosis written by the U.S. Institute of Medicine is looking into the issue. The same institute had examined other errors in 1999 and came to the conclusion that nearly 100,000 people died on an annual basis because of medical mistakes. The report is an attempt to identify why misdiagnoses occur and what can be done to reduce the incidence of them. In some instances, patients are lucky because the misdiagnosis is not of a potentially fatal issue. Ironically, the treatment that is given for the wrong condition sometimes works to alleviate the right condition.

Surgical errors in using dirty equipment put children at risk

Undergoing surgery in Newton and anywhere else throughout the country is always a dangerous situation, even if it is deemed to be a minor procedure. There are many things that can go wrong for a multitude of reasons. Some of the most egregious surgical errors include the improper use of medical equipment, a negligent operating room staff and surgeon malpractice. What is even more worrisome is when the surgery is performed on a child and these mistakes are made. If this happens, those who have been affected need to understand what to do to pursue compensation.

A hospital is under investigation for the possibility that, since 2010, as many as 12,000 pediatric patients might have been subjected to exposure of blood borne pathogens. The investigation commenced when the hospital found that there were incorrect procedures when reprocessing surgical equipment. Instruments that were supposed to have been clean were found to have debris on them. This resulted in a closer look at possible mistakes with reprocessing that might have gone back five years. These mistakes are believed to have made when the equipment was manually washed.

What are the symptoms of amnesia?

Residents of Newton who have suffered a head injury might not realize that they are at risk for a traumatic brain injury and its consequences. One of those potential consequences is amnesia. While the idea of amnesia might seem to be something out of a televised docudrama or even a comedy, it is in fact a real issue that those who have had a head injury might have to face. Knowing its symptoms can provide insight as to what to look for and give an idea of how to move forward in treating it.

There are two main issues that accompany amnesia. They are an impairment in learning new information or an impaired ability to recall events that happened in the past. The former is known as anterograde. The latter is retrograde. The majority of people who have amnesia will suffer from problems with their short-term memory and will not be able to retain new information. If something happened in the recent past, then it too will likely be lost. If there are deeper memories, these might be retained. It is possible for a person to remember long-held memories, but will not know about current events, the date or what they ate at their last meal.

Traumatic brain injury and ADHD might be connected

Some well-known problems that can stem from a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) include a person who is severely hurt, has brain damage, requires constant care and is unable to function on his or her own. When a person in Newton has a TBI, there are often other problems that might not seem as severe, but can cause them to have functional issues even after they have supposedly recovered. One that is being studied is attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Research shows that there may be a connection between a traumatic brain injury and ADHD.

A telephone survey of people in Canada indicates that there may be a link between TBI and ADHD. According to the study, those who had TBI suffered from ADHD twice as frequently. Since ADHD leads to impulsiveness and trouble maintaining attention, the association between TBI and ADHD can cause problems that might not previously have been known. As recently as 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an estimated 11 percent of children between the ages of four and 17 were diagnosed as having ADHD. That amounted to around 6.4 million individuals. 

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Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates
199 Wells Avenue, Suite 106
Newton, MA 02459

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Phone: 617-720-0176
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