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New Treatment Program for Sleep Apnea Could Reduce Driver Fatigue

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sleep apnea is a major health concern, and is more widespread than we know. There is enough reason to be concerned because obesity is a major contributing factor to sleep apnea. There is a huge obesity problem in the US, and considering that health experts are equally concerned about obesity among kids, it's likely that the problem is not going away anytime soon. This means that there is likely a higher incidence of sleep apnea out there.

A person who suffers from sleep apnea may suffer several episodes of breathlessness during sleep, when his airways get blocked. Every time there's an episode like this, the person has to wake up. This means that the person may feel tired and fatigued the next day. This fatigue can be a major contributing factor in both auto and truck accidents. It is an especially high concern for truck drivers. Truckers, because of their lifestyle and diet may be at a higher risk for obesity and related obstructive sleep apnea.

Traditional treatment for sleep apnea has revolved around the use of breathing gear, including a headgear and mouthpiece that must be worn while the person is asleep. Not only is the equipment uncomfortable, it also causes a many other side effects, including chest congestion. The equipment is also very expensive. There is now some good news, however,. Researchers have developed a program that includes throat exercises aimed at strengthening the throat muscles and airways, therefore reducing the chances that there will be an obstruction during sleep in the night.

According to the New York Times, the study was conducted last year. Researchers studied a group of people with obstructive sleep apnea. The subjects were divided into two groups. One group was taught breathing exercises. The other group was taught a program of throat exercises, and was told to perform these exercises for 30 minutes daily. These exercises involved pronouncing certain vowels quickly, as well as swallowing and chewing exercises.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that there was no change at all in the subjects in the control group. However, in the other group in which the participants had been put through throat exercises, there was a 39% decline in the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. These people not only slept better, but also experienced a decrease in snoring. There was also a decline in the neck circumference, which is a known contributing factor to sleep apnea.

Obviously, these results have not been well established, and there needs to be more solid research before any conclusions are made. However, Los Angeles personal injury attorneys find the fact that there has been a substantial reduction in the severity of sleep apnea, very encouraging. Los Angeles truck accident lawyers would encourage trucking companies to invest more time in these research efforts.

CPSC Issues Strong Warning against Purchasing Dropside Cribs

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning parents and caregivers against buying or using dropside cribs until stronger federal safety standards can be developed. That announcement came after the agency undertook a review of the large number of dropside crib recalls issued over the past few years.

According to the CPSC, it has completed a review of recalls amounting to more than 7 million cribs over the past five years. The data shows that there have been at least 32 confirmed deaths of infants involving suffocation and strangulation in a dropside crib.

The 32 deaths involved the following situations:

  • The dropside detached from the crib, creating a suffocation hazard.
  • Parents tried to repair the dropside, but the repairs failed.
  • Parents installed the dropside hardware incorrectly. This happened because of incorrect or confusing directions.

Besides these suffocation and strangulation deaths, the CPSC has information of 14 other confirmed infant deaths involving entrapment in the dropside cribs. However, CPSC staff could not conclusively confirm if these 14 deaths were caused by the dropside.

The CPSC is informing parents that there will be stronger federal safety standards for cribs announced later this year. The new standard is expected to be vastly different from the current standards. Dropside cribs in their current design will be banned, and in fact, manufacturers and retailers have already stopped selling these cribs. Those retailers that still stock these cribs will stop selling these from June 1, 2010.

Las Vegas personal injury lawyers have found that the design of a dropside crib may make the crib structurally unsound and more of a hazard, than cribs that comes with four fixed sides. These cribs are more prone to detachments or the dropside falling down, thereby posing a hazard to children.

One of the biggest problems seems to be that the constant action of removing the dropside causes increased wear and tear on the hardware parts, and contributes to detachment over a period of time. Besides, when the hardware gets damaged or lost, parents are more likely to attempt do-it-yourself repairs which the CPSC strongly advises against.

Pilot, Air Traffic Controller Professionalism on Agenda During Aviation Safety Meet

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why can't we have more pilots like Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, who landed a US Airways plane on the Hudson River with no loss of life, or more air traffic controllers like Ron Chappell, who noticed two planes on a collision path and was able to inform one of the pilots in time to avoid a major crash? That is the most important question being asked as an aviation safety conference kicks off in Washington this week. The three-day conference includes the participation of the National Transportation Safety Board, aviation safety experts, federal officials, airline representatives, and family members of victims of plane crashes.

The focus on the professionalism of air traffic controllers as well as pilots, has been increasingly strong over the past couple of years. The 2009 crash of a regional carrier near Buffalo, New York, which killed 49 people onboard and one person on the ground, has already been traced to pilot errors, both before and during the flight. Not only did the pilot fail to operate a key piece of equipment that could have prevented the crash, but both the pilot and copilot were engaged in idle chatter in the seconds before the crash. It is this kind of unprofessional attitude in the cockpit that has had aviation safety experts and California plane crash lawyers very concerned.

The Buffalo crash was an extreme example of what can go wrong when pilots and air traffic controllers are not devoting their 100% attention to their job. But, there have been less severe examples too:

  • Last year, two Northwest pilots got so engrossed in their laptop computers in the cockpit, that they overshot their destination by more than 150 miles. The two had to be alerted by air traffic controllers after which they made their way back to their destination airport.
  • In January this year, two pilots were so engrossed in a conversation about their favorite sports car that they ran into problems on the runway, and had to abort takeoff. A major crash was averted - the West Virginia airport was situated on a mountaintop, and the plane was brought to a stop just 100 feet before the drop off - but the incident once again underscored to California plane crash attorneys the increasing problem of distracted pilots.
  • Investigations into the Hudson River crash involving a tourist helicopter and a small plane also pointed to a distracted air traffic controller who was engaged in a conversation, and failed to notice that the helicopter and plane were on a collision path.
  • Then, there was the much parodied episode earlier this year in which an air traffic controller took his little son to work, and allowed him to communicate with pilots waiting for takeoff.

Distractions are as much a risk on the runway or in the air, as they are on the roads. However, it has been encouraging to see that federal safety officials are beginning to take this problem seriously.

2.5 Million Ride-on Toys Recalled Because of Fall Hazards

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning American consumers of a massive recall of more than 2.5 million riding cars. The Push Around and Whisper Ride buggies have been recalled by Step2 Company of Ohio. For a change, these are American-made toys.

According to the CPSC release, the hazard involves a pin which is attached to the yellow knob on the body handle. The pin can loosen, causing the handle to come off. In a situation like this, the buggy with the child in it, can roll away from the parent.. Children may fall off, or be injured when the buggy crashes into an object. According to the CPSC, Step2 Company has received at least 28 reports where the handle detached from the body. In two of these incidents, the children required emergency medical treatment. 26 of these incidents involved minor cuts, scratches and scrapes.

The recall involves the following models:

  • Step2 Push Around Buggy
  • Whisper Ride Buggy

These toys were available in red, orange, blue, pink and green. They were sold at major retailers across the US between August 1990 and March 2010. The CPSC is warning parents against using the riding toys, and is advising them to contact the company for a free repair kit.

This recall comes even as CPSC chairperson Iris Tenenbaum promises strict action against manufacturers of children's products if they fail to meet safety standards.

Chairperson Tenenbaum has gone further than other agency chiefs in the past to warn manufacturers against using shady tactics like blaming parents in the event of injuries. California product liability lawyers very often see that manufacturers turn around and point fingers at the parents for not using the product properly, and causing their child injuries. It's a shameful and unethical tactic, and earlier this year, chairperson Tenenbaum stressed that her agency would not tolerate such behavior from companies. Such companies would be called out by name, she said, and shamed if they chose to blame parents instead. California personal injury attorneys have been very impressed with Tenenbaum’s approach.

Auto Survey Shows More Female Teen Motorists Driving Aggressively

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The conventional wisdom has been that teenage boys between the ages of 16 and 19 are at a much higher risk of being involved in accidents than girls. For decades that was the accepted truth. The overconfidence of the teen years, fueled by raging testosterone, caused male teen motorists to engage in dangerous activities like street racing and speeding. It may be time to give that theory a burial.

Auto insurer Allstate, recently surveyed male and female teen motorists about their driving practices. The survey found that female teen respondents were more likely to admit to speeding than boys. 48 % of the female respondents in the survey said that they were likely to drive more than 10 mph above the posted speed limit, compared to 36 % of the boys. That's not all. Girls are also more likely to indulge in texting or talking on the cell phone while driving. More than half of girls in the survey admitted to such distracted driving practices, compared to just 38 % of the boys.

Not everyone will agree with those statistics. However, Nevada personal injury lawyers will not deny that the theory of men being more aggressive and irresponsible drivers doesn't hold much water today. Several independent studies have pointed to the fact that more women seem to be driving intoxicated than before. Men are still more likely to be involved in DUI accidents than women, but the gap between the sexes in this field is narrowing fast.

For an explanation for these trends, it's best to turn to sociologists. According to these experts, there is huge pressure on women to compete and equal men in all aspects of life. This competitive spirit is very likely being carried over behind the wheel.

Female teen drivers are more vulnerable to such behavior, because they lack the experience and maturity to differentiate between competing at school and the sports field, with competing in other more deadly areas.

Prevention of Spinal Cord Injuries

Monday, May 10, 2010

Statistics show that it’s people below the age of 29 who are at the highest risk of suffering a spinal cord injury, but any California spine injury lawyer will tell you, that these injuries can occur in anyone and in a range of situations.

Spinal cord injuries can occur in a split second, but may impact the rest of your life. With these injuries, prevention is always better than cure. Treatment programs for spinal cord injuries are very limited at this point. Stem cell therapy does promise new hope for spinal cord injury patients, but research is still ongoing, and any benefits will only be known after a few years.

Most spinal cord injuries occur in:

  • auto accidents
  • bicycle accidents
  • slip and fall accidents
  • diving accidents
  • assaults and violence
  • industrial accidents

Prevention of spinal cord injuries is often a simple matter of wearing the right kind of protective gear. For instance, motorcyclists and bicyclists must always wear helmets while riding. A helmet can also protect against serious spinal cord injuries during horseback riding, skateboarding, or playing football or baseball.

Spinal cord injuries often result when a person dives in into shallow waters. Before diving, make sure that the water level is at least 12 feet. If you're not sure of the water levels, avoid diving in headfirst at all. Avoid diving in headfirst into an aboveground pool.

Spinal cord injuries can also occur after a fall from a trampoline. Supervise your children when they're playing on a trampoline at all times. Make sure that all landing surfaces around the trampoline are padded.

Reduce the risk of being injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident. Bicyclists must ride with 100% concentration, and focus on the road ahead. Make sure you are visible to other motorists around you, avoid driving at excessive speeds and look out for vehicles that are backing out. Pedestrians must cross only on designated crosswalks and avoid distractions while walking.

The elderly are at a higher risk of spinal cord injuries, because they're more susceptible to fall accidents. These accidents can be prevented by creating a fall-proof environment in the home. Floors must be made of slip proof material that provides traction. All rooms and walking areas must be well illuminated. Avoid placing slippery rugs on the floor. Equip bathrooms with grab bars and handrails. Place mats in showers or outside bath tubs.

Bankryuptcy Attorneys - Annual Convention Over, Back to Bussiness

Friday, May 07, 2010

Last week the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys wrapped up their 18th annual convention.  In related news, you can find several internet articles about the encomony and the effects on consumers.

What is to come in the next few months? A recovery or the emergence of a double dip? Attorney Jonathan Leventhal, who attended the NACBA meeting and practices bankruptcy law in Los Angeles, has begun thinking ahead and is exploring more work in wills, trusts, estate planning in Southern California.

Former Berkeley Swimming Coach Gets off Lightly for Sexual Abuse

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Jesse Stovall is a very relieved man. The former BEAR Swimming coach in Berkeley has been handed down a sentence of four years on probation, after he pleaded no contest to felony charges stemming from sexual activity with a 16-year-old girl. It’s a comfortable sentence for him, considering the alternative. If he had been found guilty, Stovall could have been sentenced to up to 90 years in prison. As part of the sentencing, Stovall will also have to be registered as a sex offender. He is also not allowed to use a computer to visit pornography sites, or to research the victim. He's also not allowed to use social media to contact her.

The charges stemmed from a sexual relationship that Stovall had with one of the students under his care. The 16-year-old girl was a member of the Berkeley-based swim team. Stovall allegedly used the girls’ trust as well as the family's confidence in him, to develop a close relationship with her. The actual abuse occurred during a trip to Orlando for a swim meet, in 2008. Her parents were supposed to accompany the girl to Florida as they always did, but Stovall convinced them not to do so. He said it would be good for the girl, and would help her mature. It was in the hotel in Orlando, that Stovall, according to the police report, plied the girl with alcohol and then, abused her.

It’s a light sentence considering what Stovall did, but it also came because the girl and her parents were not too keen on him being sentenced to prison. The girl wants to move on with her life.

There are reasons for swimming coach sexual abuse lawyers to be concerned at the manner in which Stovall has been allowed to get off so lightly. Some courts give stronger punishment for consensual relationships between a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old. Prosecutors in other states have actually sought to bring legal charges against teenage girls who send semi-nude images of themselves to teenage boys.

Getting off with only four years of probation is hardly a major punishment. USA Swimming, the national swimming organization, has banned Stovall from coaching, yet USA Swimming has been accused of ignoring widespread sexual abuse within its organization. Even the fact that he will not be able to continue as a USA Swimming coach again, could make little difference. He could still end up coaching smaller teams in a small town somewhere in the country, where nobody knows his past. Regardless of whether it was one instance of abuse, or several, Stovall deserved a stronger punishment.

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