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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.

Tractor-trailers among most dangerous vehicles in Texas

Have you noticed that the days when people enjoyed taking long, leisurely rides along Texas roadways and others throughout the nation have faded away? Perhaps your life is simply too busy to have time for joy rides or, like many people, you may avoid such activities because Texas highways have become extremely dangerous places. Long ago, a typical American landscape included young couples or families riding along the road with convertible tops down, enjoying their Sunday drives. 

Nowadays, you may feel like your life is at risk during your commute to work when massive big rigs travel at high speeds and drivers do not always adhere to traffic regulations. Because of their weight and size, tractor-trailers are inherently more dangerous than other vehicles. If a big rig slams into your car, chances are you will suffer moderate to severe injuries. In fact, many such collisions result in fatalities, causing spouses, children and other family members tremendous grief when innocent lives are lost in situations that were preventable. 

New self-driving safety features cropping up in many vehicles

According to federal data, 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes are the result of human error. That is the motivation behind creating fully autonomous vehicles that take drivers completely away from the controls. After the recent fatal accident involving a self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona, however, it's clear that we're not quite there yet.

However, similar technologies are being installed in a number of passenger vehicles. Most are high-end, but the technology is expected to become widespread as its cost drops over time. Let's take a look at some of what is becoming available now.

Registry: Harris County has exonerated some 100 drug defendants

The National Registry of Exonerations has just released data about exonerations in 2017 and historically. The data gives us a great deal of insight into who has been wrongfully convicted and, in many cases, what led to that wrongful conviction. Interestingly, Harris County, Texas, has had an outsized impact on the nationwide picture of exonerations.

According to data from the Registry, Harris County exonerated 10 people last year who had been falsely convicted of drug possession. That's not the whole story, however. The county's conviction integrity unit has spent the last few years combing through a number of questionable drug possession convictions. In 2015, it exonerated more than 40 people, and it did the same for almost 50 more in 2016. The effort is thought to be winding down.

Spinal cord injury following a tractor-trailer accident

A motor vehicle accident involving a tractor-trailer can result in catastrophic injuries. The driver and passengers in smaller vehicles often have little to protect them from the size and weight of a big rig, and the outcome can be life-changing. If your loved one has recently suffered such injuries, you may have many anxieties about the future.

Among the many possible injuries a tractor-trailer accident victim may suffer is a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord houses the nerve center for most of the body, and once damaged is often beyond repair. Before your loved one's medical team can inform you of their prognosis, they will have to do a series of diagnostic tests to assess the level of damage your loved one's spine endured.

Study: Motorcycle helmets may reduce cervical spine injuries

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that wearing a proper helmet while motorcycling saves lives. The agency estimates that doing so saved the lives of about 1,859 bikers in 2016. Another 802 lives could have been saved if every biker wore a helmet.

Moreover, motorcycle helmets have been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of traumatic brain injuries from motorcycle accidents. Nevertheless, riders in Texas and other states have fought hard for the right to ride without helmets. Why?

Supreme Court: Do US email warrants apply to overseas servers?

When the Drug Enforcement Administration wanted to access a drug crime suspect's emails, the agency got a warrant. Unfortunately, the most up-to-date law authorizing such warrants is the 1986 Stored Communications Act. That law was written long before cloud storage, so Congress could not have contemplated how it would be used in this case.

As it turned out, the emails in question were stored on Microsoft servers in Ireland. This wasn't purely by accident; when he signed up for a Microsoft email account, the suspect claimed to be based in Ireland. However, Microsoft doesn't necessarily store all emails in their account holder's home country. Moreover, information on any Microsoft server is theoretically available to an authorized user in Washington, where the company is headquartered.

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