Articles Posted in Epidural Hematoma

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At the climax of last year’s fighting season, more than 300 U.S. troops received mild traumatic brain injuriesor concussions every month. Often those injuries resulted from exposure to a blast. Troops not killed or gravely wounded by blasts were often left stunned or even momentarily unconscious.

Concerned that many soldiers were suffering mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions, the military put new treatment procedures in place last year. Regulations now require that any soldier or Marine caught near a blast has to be pulled from active combat for at least 24 hours, and they must be examined for signs of concussion. Those displaying symptoms – such as dizziness, headaches or vomiting – remain on rest duty until the symptoms disappear. This can take up to a week or two.

The concern that led to this change revolved around the thought that troops need time to recover, and that exposure to a second blast before a brain has healed, could cause permanent damage. Manhattan and Long Island doctors remark that it is pivotal that military officials are attempting to provide combat operation manuals that incorporate the wellbeing of soldiers.
Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI machines, will allow doctors in war zones to see areas of damage to the brain, experts remark.

Sometimes, the brain damage caused by blast can be so microscopic that it does not show up on a computed tomography (or CT) radiation scan. These types of scans are already in use in Afghanistan. Research has shown that about 30% of concussions missed by a CT scan are displayed by MRI machines that can even reveal damage to the brain’s wiring and uncovers areas where brain cell metabolism has been compromised.

The use of MRI technology in the field can also provide more precise diagnosis of muscular-skeletal problems and other very common combat injuries.

A renowned neurologist proclaims that an MRI in the field will allow field doctors to get away from just making a guess as to when soldiers can reenter combat. The potential gains of the push to get these machines onto the battlefield is so large as to be incalculable, reports a source.
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Evidence is linking exposure to welding fumes to damage done to dopaminergic neurons in the brain. This link raises a welders’ risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD).

The study of healthy welders who were exposed to manganese, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging showed reduced uptake of the tracer F-18-fluoro-L-dopa (FDOPA), which is a significant sign pointing toward dysfunction in the nigrostriatal dopamine system.

A Law Office issued a statement putting the findings into layman’s terms: “This study suggests that a substantial percent of welders may have brain injury, even if they do not have symptoms currently.”

In real-world language, fumes produced by welding contain manganese. It is this element that has been linked to neurologic problems, including PD-like symptoms. Even at low levels of exposure, the symptoms remained.

Twenty welders with no symptoms of PD were studied. They were recruited from two different Midwestern shipyards and another metal fabrication company. Each welder had an average of 30,000 hours of lifetime welding exposure. The researchers also studied twenty subjects with idiopathic PD who were not welders and twenty subjects who were not welders and did not have PD as control groups.

The researchers found that average blood manganese levels among the welders were 2 times the upper limit of normalcy established by prior studies of the general populations. One researcher responded by saying, “Compared with controls, asymptomatic manganese-exposed welders had an average 11.7% reduction in PET FDOPA uptake in the caudate, suggesting presynaptic nigrostriatal dysfunction.”

The welders also had an increase in the pallidum on T-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, which correlates with hours of manganese exposure.

The welders also had mildly elevated average Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale motor scores, showing the possibility of mild parkinsonian features.

A doctor says that follow-up studies on these workers will be “essential.” to fully understanding the implications of the hypotheses. The professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine and hospitals in The Bronx and Brooklyn released a statement saying that with one million welding professionals in the U.S., “If further investigation of this potential link between neurotoxic effects and these fumes proves it is valid, it would have a substantial public health impact for the US workforce and the economy.”
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