Smoking More Than Doubles the Risk for Dementia
October 26th, 2010
Yes, we all know smoking is bad for health. We know that it increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and many kinds of cancer.
Now, add dementia to the list.
A groundbreaking article published online this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported on the results of a long-term study that followed more than 21,000 people between 1978 and 2008. By the end of the study, a total of 5,367 people had been diagnosed with dementia. (That alone is frightening: about one in four people developed some form of dementia.)
After adjusting for other factors that differ from person to person (such as sex, age, race, hypertension, body mass index, diabetes, alcohol use, and others), the study found that compared with nonsmokers, people who smoked more than 2 packs a day had more than DOUBLE the risk of developing dementia. For those who smoked 1 to 2 packs a day, the risk was 43% higher…and for those who smoked less than 1 pack a day, the risk was 36% higher.
The good news is that people who are “former smokers” have the same risk as never smokers. So stopping smoking is not only good for your lungs and heart, it is especially good for your brain!
It’s rare that a study is able to show such strong correlations between a lifestyle choice and a health effect that can change the entire course of later life. There has to be a slogan in here somewhere: Douse the Butts, Save Your Brain! Or, Smoke Your Way to Senility.
Okay, they’re not so catchy. But the study speaks for itself.
Read the abstract here:
HensonFuerst Participating in Statewide Food Drive
October 26th, 2010
On average, 1 of every 7 people in North Carolina live at or below the federal poverty level, and most receive emergency food each year from a food bank or soup kitchen. In some counties, more than 1 of every 4 children are impoverished. It is possible for a head-of-household to work full-time and still not bring home enough money to feed his or her children. That means that on some nights, after a long day of work and school, there is no dinner, and everyone goes to bed hungry.
That’s why HensonFuerst Attorneys is a Food Drive Host, working with the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ) on a state-wide food collection drive, the Dare to Care: Feed Those In Need NCAJ Fall Food Drive. A similar food drive held this past spring allowed the NCAJ to donate more than 1,000 pounds of food to food banks across the state. NCAJ is partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, Manna Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, and Food Bank of Eastern & Central North Carolina.
DETAILS ABOUT DONATION
If you would like to help, we will be collecting food donations from Monday, November 1 through Friday, November 12. Donations can be dropped of at either of our two HensonFuerst locations:
- RALEIGH, NC: 2501 Blue Ridge Road, Suite 390; Raleigh, NC 27607
- ROCKY MOUNT, NC: 2317 Sunset Avenue; Rocky Mount, NC 27804
We’re looking for non-perishable items, including (but not limited to):
- canned fruit
- canned corn, beans, or veggies
- canned meals, such as ravioli, spaghetti, stew
- canned soups
- dried pasta
- boxed macaroni & cheese
- tuna fish
- peanut butter
- tomato sauce
- dried rice
- dried beans
MONETARY DONATIONS ALSO ACCEPTED
If you would prefer to donate money to the food banks, please make checks out to “Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.” Checks are accepted at either HensonFuerst location. Please address the envelope to “HensonFuerst Food Bank.”
HensonFuerst is proud to be a part of the greater North Carolina community.
Food Drive Flyer
Allstate Insurance Slammed in Multi-State Review
October 26th, 2010
It turns out that Allstate’s “good hands” are a little dirty.
The New York State Insurance Department announced that Allstate has agreed to pay New York $1.2 million as part of a $10 million regulatory settlement. In all, 45 states will share the settlement dollars. The agreement follows an 18-month targeted, multi-state examination of Allstate’s claims handling practices. What turned up wasn’t pretty.
I seems that Allstate used a giant analyzing software called Colossus to figure out how much to offer for bodily injury claims after a car wreck. However, Colossus is fallible and inconsistent, and many claimants were paid less than they should have been. Because Colossus is an in-house program, it is the intellectual equivalent of a big black box—you can’t see inside to see how it’s working. And that lack of transparency is what got Allstate in trouble.
According to the press release:
The examination found that Allstate had failed to modify or ‘tune’ the software in a uniform and consistent manner across its claims handling regions.
Allstate’s payment will be used to establish a regulatory fund. The fund will be used by the 45 signatory states, to the extent consistent with applicable state laws, to develop and train examiners to review and monitor the property/casualty industry’s use of software technology in adjusting claims.
That’s a fancy way of saying that we can’t always trust computers to do the humane thing—or even the statistically correct and proper thing. While this should help improve fairness for consumers, we’re not sure how it helps those who might have been short-changed on proper payments. And it really begs the question: Are you really in “good hands” with Allstate?
If you have been in a motor vehicle wreck and have questions about bodily injury claims, feel free to call our dedicated attorneys at 1-800-4LAW-MED. Someone is there to answer your call 24 hours a day. Or, explore our website at http://www.lawmed.com. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
Impaired Monroe Man Kills After Six “Second Chances”
October 25th, 2010
This is the kind of story that makes you want to stay off the roads, build more prisons, and require mandatory severe sentencing for DWI offenders.
According to the online edition of the News & Observer, Monroe resident Kevin Ohagan fled a traffic stop just after midnight on Sunday (October 24, 2010) and minutes later slammed head-on into another car, killing 41-year-old Daniel Herring. A father of three, Mr. Herring was on his way home from a church event at Emmanuel Theological Seminary (where he had played Jesus in a pageant) when his vehicle was struck.
In stark behavioral contrast, the 29-year-old suspect has had a long history with the police. Ohagan has been arrested nearly 20 times as an adult, and he had been previously convicted of DWI six times. That means six missed opportunities to have taken this threat off the road. But he has more than just driving problems. In the state of North Carolina, Ohagan has been convicted of many types of offenses, including larceny, breaking and entering, assault on a female, false imprisonment, and stalking. Currently, he awaiting trial for felony child abuse causing serious bodily injury.
According to the article:
Police said Ohagan faces charges of second-degree murder, driving while intoxicated, felony death by motor vehicle, driving left of the center line, speeding to elude arrest and driving with a revoked license.
So this guy was convicted of DWI six times before he again gets behind the wheel after drinking, and this time he killed a man. A good man. A man who will be mourned and missed by more than just his family…he will be mourned and missed by a whole community.
Please, this time, take Kevin Ohagan off the road for good.
To read the full article, click here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/10/25/758565/police-suspect-causes-deadly-accident.html#ixzz13P9TGxw5
And for more information about motor vehicle wreck injuries, visit our website at http://www.lawmed.com. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
Deer season increases North Carolina auto accidents
October 21st, 2010
A study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that North Carolina auto accidents involving deer statewide have increased steadily, according to ABC 11.
About 90 percent of animal-related crashes within the last three years have involved deer, which have resulted in more than 3,000 injuries to people in North Carolina auto accidents.
Of those North Carolina auto accidents, 17 were fatal, and nearly $127 million in property damage was accumulated.
Do you have concerns about hitting deer on the highway? Are there certain parts of the interstate you think deer are most likely to jump out in front of you?
If you or someone you know has been involved in a North Carolina auto accident, the North Carolina auto accident lawyers at HensonFuerst Attorneys can help.
NFL Backing Concussion Program with Fines
October 20th, 2010
At the end of the summer, the National Football League (NFL) decided to take action to reduce the number and potential effects of concussions. It created a poster that outlined the organization’s position on concussion, including the fact that players should know the symptoms, report them, get checked out, and basically start taking concussions seriously. After all, recent research suggests that repeated concussions may be more than just a passing pain–they may cause early dementia and neurologic wasting similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease.
As the football season started, health officials watched to see how the NFL would really respond to head-hits. The first few weeks weren’t good. Players were put back in the game after only a cursory examination…including Stewart Bradley, a Philadelphia Eagles player who staggered and and then collapsed on the field after attempting a tackle. He was put back into play after 3 minutes (but taken out at halftime).
But finally it looks like the NFL is putting money where its mouth is…its players’ money, that is.
According to an article in The New York Times,
A day after saying it would consider suspending players for helmet-to-helmet hits, the N.F.L. decided Tuesday to fine three players involved in a string of injurious collisions last Sunday.
The N.F.L. wants to give players and teams fair warning that it plans to ratchet up discipline for violations of players’ safety rules, the league spokesman Greg Aiello said. Players, coaches and teams will be told Wednesday that future disciplinary actions will be harsher, setting the stage for possible suspensions.
Two players received fines of $50,000. The worst fine was for a serial trouble-maker, linebacker James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was fined $75,000.
It’s probably going to take a while for players and teams to fully embrace the new rules. From the time they first pick up a football in Pop Warner games, players learn to hit hard, and they learn how to take body hits. After a lifetime of learning to tough it out and walk off pain, this new culture of caring about concussions is going to take some getting used to. It’s about time. How many brains and lives have been put at risk for the sake of a sport? Now that everyone knows better, we applaud these fines as a good start. We’re not sure where the fines are going, but it would be great if the money could be donated to brain injury research.
Hey, NFL! We have a list of worthy research groups, if you need some ideas.
(For a list of great brain injury support and research organizations, see our website: HensonFuerst Brain Injury page)
Information Sources (click titles for direct link)
The New York Times: “N.F.L. Fines Players for Hits to Head”
Previous HensonFuerst blog: “NFL is All Talk, No Proper Action”
Previous HensonFuerst blog: “Brain Trauma May Mimic Lou Gehrig’s Disease“
NC Worker’s… Please Vote!
October 18th, 2010
Anti-worker sentiment is growing and being lead almost exclusively by Republicans. If they gain control in NC’s legislature after the upcoming election, they want to decrease the benefits an injured worker receives. That’s right, I said decrease. If you’re an injured worker currently receiving benefits, you know the reality: you’re barely getting enough to get by and you encounter nothing but frustration every step of the way. Can you believe that there are people that think you have it too good? That’s why if you are an injured worker, please make an informed decision and vote.
I know there are some people reading this thinking that it doesn’t apply to them. They work in professions where a Worker’s Compensation Claim will never happen. The reality though, is that it affects everybody. If an injured worker has no money, runs out of Worker’s Compensation benefits, still needs medical treatment, and can’t return to work, what do you think is going to happen? That’s right, they’re going to do the only thing they can do to survive and turn to public assistance, which raises all of our taxes. We the tax payers will then be paying for big business’ wreckage and making the rich that much richer. As a state and a country, aren’t we tired of bail outs?
Don’t be fooled by the propaganda. Let’s all cast a vote in favor of our state’s workers.
Clearing Confusion About Long-Term Care Terms
October 16th, 2010
There are many different living options for people who are no longer able to live independently, or who require more care than the average family can give. About 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime. The process of choosing can be overwhelming.
To begin, it’s important to know the differences among various terms. Each type of facility offers different benefits and levels of care, and often must follow different rules and government guidelines in order to maintain its certification and/or funding. The quality of individual facilities varies, as well. Some are wonderful, but many (way too many) are horrific. (On the HensonFuerst website, we provide guidance about how to choose the best-rated care in your area, and we’ll also discuss these topics in detail in future blogs.)
To help ease the confusion, here are some definitions of commonly used terms:
“Long-term care” is an overarching term used to describe any service (including many of the services listed below) designed to help people who have chronic illness, disability, dementia, or other condition that requires on-going help. Long-term care services can be provided anywhere, including in the individual’s home or in a residential facility.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
CCRCs offer multiple levels of care–Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing Care—housed in different areas of the same community or campus. As the personal and medical needs of residents change, they have the opportunity to move to a different care facility while remaining in the same community—social connections remain in place, friends can stay friends. CCRCs provide residential services (including meals, housekeeping, and laundry), social and recreational services, health care services, personal care, and nursing care.
If you are considering a CCRC, be sure to check the associated nursing home, in person and on the Nursing Home Compare page on www.Medicare.gov. A CCRC contract usually requires you to use the CCRC’s nursing home if you need nursing home care. And some CCRC’s will only admit people into their nursing home if they have previously lived in another section of the retirement community, such as their assisted living or an independent area. CCRCs usually require a large lump-sum entrance fee, and residents must pay a monthly fee. (Licensed as nursing homes/residential care facilities or as homes for the aging.)
Independent Living Community
Independent living communities typically provide meals in a restaurant setting, housekeeping, transportation and various social activities. While there may be wellness programs, care services may or may not be available for an additional charge. These communities are often part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community. (Not licensed.)
Assisted Living Facility
These communities promote independence in a private residence setting, a kind of “home with services” for people who are generally well but still need help with everyday tasks. There is an emphasis on privacy and choice. Residents typically have private locking rooms (unless shared by choice) and private bathrooms. Personal care services are available on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Residents have access to assistance with meals, bathing, dressing and/or medication as needed. In addition, transportation and social activities may be available (not all facilities offer all services, so ask for a list of services in writing). Assisted Living facilities may stand alone, or they may be part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community. There is usually a monthly fee, plus additional fees for added services. (Licensed as residential care facilities or as rest homes.)
Skilled Nursing Facility
Skilled nursing facilities are nursing homes that are certified by Medicare to provide 24-hour nursing care and rehabilitation services, in addition to other services. Many of these communities offer short term, comprehensive rehabilitation programs on an inpatient and outpatient basis. They may be stand-alone facilities, or part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community. (Licensed and regulated by state public health departments.)
A nursing home is a facility licensed by the state to offer 24-hour skilled nursing care and personal assistance. For people who don’t need to be in a hospital but still require round-the-clock care, a nursing home provides nursing care, personal care, room and board, supervision, medication, therapies and rehabilitation. Rooms are often shared, and communal dining is common. Some nursing homes have special care units for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other serious memory disorders. (Licensed as nursing homes, county homes, or nursing homes/residential care facilities.)
Alzheimer’s or Memory Care communities are a type of service, not particular facility. They provide specialized services to meet the needs of individuals with dementia, brain injury, or Alzheimer’s disease. These services may be provided by an Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing or Residential Community.
These facilities offer 24-hour supervision and supportive services for people who don’t need on-going medical or nursing care. They provide housing, meals, activities, and medication administration.
Hospice provides care for individuals who are terminally ill, including health services, volunteer support, grief counseling, and pain management. Although most hospice programs are only allowed to offer services to people who are thought to have less than six months to live, some hospitals are providing hospice to people with a documented terminal illness who need palliative care. These services can be provided in a person’s home, a hospital, or a long-term care facility.
Adult Day Care
Even though the name sounds a bit condescending, Adult Day Care can be very helpful for adults who are functionally impaired, but who want or need an alternative to live-in care. These programs run during the day (much like child day care), and provide variety of health and wellness, social, and related support services in a safe, protective setting.
For More Information…click the links below:
HensonFuerst Attorneys Nursing Home Abuse webpage
National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information
BMX Star in Coma After Failed Jump
October 15th, 2010
Last night, during the Dew Tour Championship event in Las Vegas, BMX star T.J. Lavin lost control of his bike, fell, and was knocked unconscious. The 33-year-old Lavin, who is also the host of MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge, was attempting a combination jump called a “nac nac.” To perform a nac nac, “as the rider leaves the jump, he whips the bike sideways, removes the front leg and swings it over the back of the bike while looking back.”
Lavin is currently in a medically induced coma as the doctors try to reduce swelling of his brain.
We wish all the best for T.J. and his family.
(This story comes from the gossip site TMZ. Read more here: “BMX Star T.J. Lavin in Coma After Major Crash”)
Nac Nac definition, Suite101: Motocross Tricks Defined: Definitions of Common Stunts in FMX http://www.suite101.com/content/motocross-tricks-defined-a75519#ixzz12SE1FAdN
Blood Test May Identify Mild Brain Trauma
October 15th, 2010
A fascinating article in USA Today reports that Army researchers have discovered a simple blood test that may help diagnose concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). This could prove to be a game-changer for detecting (and then treating) the hidden damage often suffered by soldiers and athletes after head impact, and by infants after being shaken.
“This is huge,” said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army vice chief of staff.
Army Col. Dallas Hack, who has oversight of the research, says recent data show the blood test, which looks for unique proteins that spill into the blood stream from damaged brain cells, accurately diagnosing mild traumatic brain injury in 34 patients. Doctors can miss these injuries because the damage does not show up on imaging scans, and symptoms such as headaches or dizziness are ignored or downplayed by the victims. (from USA Today article)
This is similar to the type of blood test used to measure the proteins associated with muscle damage, and which are now routinely used to determine whether there is heart damage after a patient complains of chest pain.
Currently, diagnosing MTBI is a matter of faith and truthfulness–it depends on the patient accurately answering questions about symptoms…and on the doctor or coach believing the answers. Although more medical testing will need to be done to confirm the early research results, this marker could remove all doubt. That means that soldiers and athletes could be forced to rest to allow their brains to recuperate. It also means that researchers will have a new way of measuring whether particular treatments actually work to reverse the brain damage, especially in infants, who have no way to communicate.
This is an amazing first step in what will probably be several more years of research. Congratulations, Army. This is a major win!
To read the full story, click here: “Army Finds Simple Blood Test to Identify Mild Brain Trauma”
And to learn more about legal options for brain injury, check out our dedicated web page here: www.lawmed.com. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.