June 26, 2015

Cerebral Palsy in the News: The Pease Brothers

Living with cerebral palsy can be debilitating and can make certain every day activities more difficult to perform. However, many who are affected with cerebral palsy lead quite normal, and sometimes extraordinary, lives. One particularly inspiring example is Kyle Pease, an Atlanta, Georgia native who was diagnosed at an early age with cerebral palsy, according to the website for the Kyle Pease Foundation. "Though Kyle transports himself in a wheelchair," the website says, "his participation in school, work, and leisure activities has never suffered."

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June 18, 2015

Cerebral Palsy in the News: A 57-Mile Walk for Awareness

Awareness walks can be a powerful tool in raising awareness for cerebral palsy, a condition that results from injuries to a child's brain during birth or while in the womb. In the case of 15-year-old Hunter Gandee, however, the walk went a step further: Hunter strapped Braden, his 8-year-old brother who is afflicted with cerebral palsy, to his back, and proceeded to trek 57 miles across southern Michigan.

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June 10, 2015

A Close-Up on Birth Injury: Using Forceps During Birth

Sometimes, to help deliver a child, physicians will use forceps, a surgical instrument resembling a pair of tongs. Unfortunately, there are some birth injuries that have been associated with the use of forceps. According to the Mayo clinic, "[a] forceps delivery poses a risk of injury for both mother and baby." However, Reuters reported in 2011 that forceps deliveries were actually tied to lower brain injury rates. In this post, we navigate the potential risks and benefits of a forceps delivery.

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June 4, 2015

A Close-Up on Birth Injury: Erb's Palsy

Several weeks ago, we talked about brachial plexus palsy, a birth injury that occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus, which control the muscles of the arm, have been damaged during the birthing process. Erb's palsy, also known as Erb-Duchenne palsy, is a type of brachial plexus injury that occurs typically through shoulder dystocia, which we have discussed in prior postings. Erb's palsy occurs when the upper group of the arm's nerves, particularly the upper trunk C5-C6 nerves, are severed.

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May 30, 2015

A Closer Look at Birth Injury: Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)

One of the conditions that can cause complications during pregnancy is cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), a condition wherein the baby's head or body is too large to fit through the mother's pelvis, according to the American Pregnancy Association. According to the American Pregnancy Association, "true CPD is rare, but many cases of 'failure to progress' during labor are given a diagnosis of CPD." In this post, we discuss the causes of CPD.

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May 23, 2015

Birth Injuries: High Risk Pregnancies and the Roles of OB/GYNs and Perinatologists, Part II

Last week, we talked about high risk pregnancies and perinatologists, who have specialized and received additionally training in high risk pregnancies. In that post, we defined pregnancies to be "high risk" when they consisted one or more of several factors including maternal health issues, problems with past pregnancies, and a history of pregnancy loss. We also explained a little bit about perinatologists and their training. Today, we discuss what exactly they do and the relationship between an OB/GYN and the perinatologist.

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May 15, 2015

Birth Injuries: High Risk Pregnancies and the Roles of OB/GYNs and Perinatologists, Part I

High risk pregnancies can be frightening, and it is important to seek out and receive good care during a high risk pregnancy. Fortunately, there are OB/GYNs, otherwise known as perinatologists, out there who have received additional training specifically for high risk pregnancies. In this post, we discuss the factors that may contribute to high risk pregnancy and general information about perinatologists.

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Treating Birth Injury: Rehabilitation Through Occupational Therapy

Last week, we discussed the benefits of physical therapy for infants who have suffered a birth injury, focusing specifically on brachial plexus injury. Today, we talk about occupational therapy, which "focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives" by helping children "improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment," according to KidsHealth. Occupational therapy can be tremendously helpful for children with birth injuries. Given our previous discussion about physical therapy, we begin by discussing the differences between physical and occupational therapy, and how occupational therapy in particular can help children with birth injuries.

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Treating Birth Injury: Rehabilitation Through Physical Therapy

Many treatments exist to help infants with all kinds of birth injuries adjust to and make every day life much easier as they grow. Among those is physical therapy, which we have previously mentioned is a common resource for those with cerebral palsy. Physical therapy generally helps children who suffer from muscle problems similar to those resulting from cerebral palsy, such as weakened muscles or muscles over which the children lack control. This article focuses on one such condition--brachial plexus palsy, which occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus, a set of nerves controlling the muscles of the arm, have been damaged during birth, according to Seattle Children's. Brachial plexus palsies can be treated through physical therapy in several different ways.

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April 25, 2015

A Close-Up on Birth Injury: Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

This week, in our continuing surveys of various kinds of birth injuries, we are taking a closer look at hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), an injury that occurs when the infant's brain is deprived of oxygen. HIE can lead to developmental issues or death; according to Medscape, HIE causes 840,000 neonatal deaths annually--23% of all neonatal deaths worldwide.

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April 18, 2015

A Close-Up on Birth Injury: Shoulder Dystocia, Part II

Last week, we introduced the topic of shoulder dystocia, a form of birth injury in which the baby's head has emerged from the mother's introitus but her shoulders have not due to their becoming stuck behind the mother's pubic bone. Shoulder dystocia is one of the primary birth injuries that occur out of OB/GYN malpractice. While the last entry discussed the risk factors and preventability of shoulder dystocia, this post discusses the complications that arise from the condition as well as next steps.

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April 11, 2015

A Close-Up on Birth Injury: Shoulder Dystocia, Part I

Several weeks ago, we began to discuss birth injury, a category of injuries that can occur to an infant during childbirth that can affect the child for the rest of his or her life. One specific form of birth injury shoulder dystocia, a condition in which the baby's head has emerged from the mother's introitus but her shoulders have not, according to Medscape. While in normal births, the baby's head and body turn sideways after her head emerges, allowing the shoulders to pass easily through the pelvis, shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby's shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother's pubic bone. Shoulder dysotica can be a frightening experience for both the mother and the baby and is one of the primary birth injuries that occur out of OB/GYN malpractice. This post discusses the risk factors and preventability of shoulder dystocia.

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April 3, 2015

Breakthroughs in Traumatic Brain Injury Research: How the Smell Test Can Identify TBI in Soldiers

In previous posts about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)--an injury to the brain that occurs when one sustains a violent impact to the head or body--we have identified a relationship between TBIs and the olfactory system. A recent study reaffirms this relationship in a groundbreaking way by establishing that "olfactory impairment [is] highly predictive of abnormal neuroimaging findings in blast-injured troops with TBI," according to a new article on Medscape. In other words, the study found a positive correlation between olfactory impairment and abnormalities in the brain that were found to be indicative of TBI.

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March 27, 2015

Head Injuries and Their Strange Symptoms: An Inexplicable Love for Cheese

We have discussed before that traumatic brain injuries, which occur when one sustains physical damage to his or her brain, can sometimes produce less-than-common and even bizarre results, such as olfactory hallucinations. Recently, VICE reported on their food-centric blog, Munchies, that "some highly unfortunate neurological wiring" can also cause a "rabid craving for cheese."

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March 20, 2015

Treatment for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1): Sympathetic Nerve Blocks, Part II

Last week, we explored the potential of sympathetic nerve blocks--injections of anesthesia into the nerves--as a treatment method for those suffering from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD/CRPS), a disease that causes chronic and severe physical pain in certain regions of the body. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that sympathetic nerve blocks are considered by many pain physicians to be effective in treating chronic pain, and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand has noted that the injections are particularly helpful when used in conjunction with physical therapy.

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