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Study: Traumatic brain injuries may increase risk of Parkinson's

People who have suffered traumatic brain injuries -- even mild ones -- may be at greater risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a recent study in the journal Neurology.

In order to test for an association between the disease and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), researchers delved into a Veterans Health Administration database. They identified 162,935 men and women who had been diagnosed with a TBI. Some experienced a mild injury, defined as a blow to the head after which the patient experienced some symptoms but spent little or no time unconscious. Other patients fell into the moderate-to-severe range, which involved long-term symptoms or extended unconsciousness.

False eyewitness testimony cause of many wrongful convictions

Francisco Carrillo, Jr., was wrongfully convicted of a fatal drive-by shooting. He spent 20 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in 2011. Since then, two men have confessed to the crime.

Carrillo's case arises as an illustration in an editorial by the Los Angeles Times about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. The Times says that wrongful convictions plague California, but the problem is nationwide. The National Registry of Exonerations has recorded 2,215 exonerations since 1989 and it found that some 29 percent of them involve a mistaken witness identification.

A major collision may lead to potentially life-altering injuries

When you embark on your day's journey in your commuter car, you mull over your day's activities and responsibilities. Perhaps you even think ahead about what you will do for lunch. However, all of a sudden, a reportedly careless motorist strikes your car. Suddenly, your day's agenda looks very different.

A motor vehicle wreck can quickly put a wrench in your day, particularly if it caused you to suffer serious injuries. Fortunately, you have the right to seek to hold the allegedly at-fault motorist accountable for your injuries. Here are a few types of injuries that may result from a serious collision wreck in Texas.

How behaviors can change after a traumatic brain injury

Whether you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident, a fall or some other catastrophe, you may have felt lucky that the damage wasn't worse. Even so, you may have noticed that your friends and family look at you differently. They may even mention that you don't seem like yourself.

That makes sense to you, and probably to them, in the immediate aftermath of your ordeal. After all, it was a traumatic experience, and readjusting to life may be a challenge because of it. However, what do you do if it's been months since the accident and you still don't feel, or seem, like yourself anymore? Could the accident have caused behavioral changes in you that your doctor failed to warn you about when you saw him or her last?

New study: Tackle football before 12 risks earlier brain disorder

Could playing youth football be putting your child at risk for a degenerative brain disorder? It's a risk, according to a new study at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University. Kids who play tackle football before age 12 are at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and they may see symptoms years earlier than those who do not.

Boston University and Boston's VA have been studying 246 brains donated by deceased football players. These included 138 professional football players, 2 semi-pro players, 64 who played in college and 7 who only played through high school.

Police say no warrant necessary to probe ancestry DNA database

When you send in your genetic material to have an ancestry DNA test done, is that material private? Major commercial providers of these tests say they won't hand the data over to law enforcement without a court order. That may not mean much, as we recently learned in the "Golden State Killer" case.

Investigators in Sacramento, California, recently announced they have arrested a suspect in the decades-old serial murder case. The Golden State Killer, also known as the "East Area Rapist," is thought to have committed at least 13 murders, at least 50 rapes, and perhaps 100 robberies throughout California between 1976 and 1986. A former police officer, now 72, has been tied to the crime in part by matching crime scene DNA to a distant relative's profile on a site called GEDMatch.

Traumatic brain injuries linked to dementia in older adults

A recent study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry provides new evidence of a link between traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, in older adults. People who suffered TBIs were compared with people who suffered skull or spinal fractures that did not involve a TBI. Those who suffered TBIs had a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.

The research was performed by University of Washington researchers using record from the national health system in Denmark. The Danish records were used because they have features which allow the exploration of connections between records.

Did you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a car accident?

When anyone learns that someone they care about has suffered a brain injury, they may immediately think the worst. As most people know, any damage to the brain could easily result in serious changes to a person's personality and his or her abilities. Unfortunately, many scenarios could lead to an individual suffering this type of serious injury.

First, you may want to remember that the manner in which a brain injury occurs determines the category it falls into. In general terms, when a lack of oxygen causes damage to the brain, those injuries fall into the category of an acquired brain injury. When the head suffers trauma that leads to brain damage, those injuries fall into the category of traumatic brain injuries. In particular, car accidents can easily lead to various forms of TBI.

It's Dog Bite Awareness Week. Here are some tips to avoid injury.

April 8-14 is National Dog Bite Awareness Week. While we hope you will never be bitten by a dog, it's important to know that dog bites can be extremely serious. It's also important to realize that any dog can bite under the right circumstances -- even good dogs.

Children, the elderly and postal carriers are the groups most likely to be affected by serious dog bite injuries. With approximately 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, there are plenty of opportunities for people to encounter dogs in dangerous circumstances or at just the wrong moment.

Can neuroforensics explain some criminal behavior?

As a possible link between brain trauma and violent or unpredictable behavior becomes clearer, neuropsychology and neuroscience are increasingly being cited in criminal cases. Typically, defendants aren't trying to excuse their behavior altogether but to provide an explanation that could mitigate their punishment. A committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is now meeting to discuss the courtroom use of what they term "neuroforensics."

This evidence may include brain scans, behavioral tests, psychological evaluations and evidence of earlier brain injuries, head trauma or neurological disorders. If the science indicates that these conditions can alter a person's behavior -- and it seems to -- it only makes sense for the evidence to be brought into court as a sentencing factor.

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