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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Eye tracking technology can detect brain impairments

New technology may soon be helping medical providers in Oklahoma detect brain injuries. A recently developed system, known as RightEye EyeQ, tracks eye movements to detect symptoms of problems that range from autism to Parkinson's disease.

The technology is already being used in Major League Baseball to test athletes. One of the tests available through the system can immediately detect if a person is suffering from concussion symptoms.

Robotic biopsy system could increase diagnostic accuracy

Breast biopsies for people in Oklahoma and elsewhere may become more accurate if the use of a 3D-printed robot becomes widespread. Developed in the Netherlands, the Stormram 4 system works like biopsy procedures currently used but is more accurate. It has more control of the biopsy needle and is precise to the submillimeter level on models of breasts.

The current system uses a thick needle to extract tissue for a breast cancer biopsy. The Stormram 4 can perform the procedure within the MRI. This differs from other robotics systems that are too metallic to be used inside an MRI. It is also quicker than the conventional method for doing a biopsy.

Drivers failing to yield

Many drivers in Oklahoma fail to properly yield to traffic. It's important to understand that there are laws designating which drivers have the right-of-way and who needs to yield. Once these laws are understood, then drivers can avoid accidents as well as tickets and fines.

One of the most common right-of-way issues is running a red light. When a driver fails to stop at a red light, there is a possibility of an accident occurring with multiple cars or even pedestrians. Passengers and others aside from the driver make up half of the people killed or injured in this kind of driving violation. Depending on the severity of the accident, officers can hit offenders with reckless driving and other charges. The offender's driving record will also reflect the incident.

New diagnostic guidelines for MS

Getting a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis from doctors in Oklahoma and around the country may take some time. There is not a single test for the condition, so it must be diagnosed by eliminating other possibilities and using a variety of criteria. It is also not unusual for MS to be misdiagnosed. The previous McDonald Criteria for the Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis were from 2010, so an international board of 30 experts worked to revise the criteria based on new knowledge and research. A paper about the revision was published in "The Lancet Neurology" online on Dec. 21.

Some elements of the criteria have not changed. It is still recommended that a physician with experience in MS makes the diagnosis and that there should be lesions in the nervous system, but the latter has been altered somewhat. Asymptomatic and symptomatic lesions can now be included as well as other types of lesions and lesions at different sites. Some lesions may be replaced by oligoclonal bands in the spinal fluid in the diagnosis.

Study: Intersections can be less deadly with roundabouts

Both drivers and traffic engineers in Oklahoma and across the country have plenty to be concerned about when it comes to traffic intersections. When two or more roads come together and head off in different directions, the junction point can create a dangerous place as cars barrel towards each other in opposite directions, sometimes at elevated speeds. This means that intersections are often a place for fatal accidents or devastating injuries.

Traffic engineers are concerned with improving the safety of intersections by making the roadways safer. One mechanism that is widely proposed is the construction of more roundabouts, or traffic circles, in the place of traditional perpendicular intersections. One study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation examined 144 urban and rural roundabouts that were installed in the place of previous intersections. This survey bore out the belief in roundabouts for preventing bodily injury and death as fatal crashes fell by 86 percent after the construction of the roundabout. Similar numbers were seen for severe injuries, which fell by 83 percent, and for injuries overall, which dropped 61 percent.

Truck drivers protest FMCSA logging device mandate

Independent truck drivers in Oklahoma and around the country have voiced concerns about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Electronic Logging Device mandate. The measure, which is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 18, requires devices to be fitted to most commercial vehicles that log the amount of hours truck drivers spend behind the wheel. The FMCSA says that the mandate will reduce the number of hours of service violations and improve road safety, but truck drivers say that logging devices violate their privacy rights and allow the government to track them around the clock.

Truck drivers across the country made their views known on Dec. 4 in a nationwide protest organized by the United Independent Truckers of America. In addition to privacy concerns, the trade group says that the FMCSA mandate will impact truck driver earnings. The electronic logging devices mandated by the FMCSA measure are connected to commercial vehicle engines and keep track of when trucks are moving, which drivers say could prevent them from being paid when their tractor-trailers are being loaded and unloaded.

Survey: texting while driving a major roadway threat

Car accidents are always a concern when drivers in Oklahoma take to the road, especially with the threat of drunk, distracted or otherwise dangerous drivers. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous activities while behind the wheel as recognized by the overwhelming majority of survey recipients in a study conducted across the United States by Harris Poll. There are a number of threats to people on the roadway, and these can be escalated by changes such as marijuana legalization and the growing use of smartphones and 24/7 connectivity.

There were a number of activities that survey respondents saw as posing a danger on the roadways with the potential of causing motor vehicle accidents. Almost all respondents, 99 percent, said that using social media while driving is dangerous while 98 percent said that texting while driving poses a major hazard. Another large group of respondents, 91 percent, said that they saw driving under the influence of cannabis to be dangerous, and 87 percent said that driving while under marijuana influence could endanger others as well as the driver.

Pokémon Go increases crash risk among drivers

Though Pokémon Go is starting to fade as a gaming phenomenon, that doesn't mean that it has stopped posing safety concerns. Residents of Oklahoma and across the U.S. probably remember the reports of players being injured because they were so engrossed in the game. Two professors from Purdue University have conducted a study that shows how distracted driving has created a worrisome trend among Pokémon Go players.

The authors studied the reports of nearly 12,000 accidents in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, which took place both before and after the game's launch on July 6, 2016. They cross-referenced these with the locations of Pokéstops, where players must go to receive in-game items. Their conclusion was that, combined with the rise in traffic accidents after the game's launch, 26.5 percent more accidents occurred in intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop than anywhere else.

Winter driving: the risks, and how to avoid them

According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are more than 5.7 million accidents on the road each year, and over 1.3 million of them are weather-related. Winter being the most dangerous season of all, drivers in Oklahoma should make sure that they're prepared every time it rolls around.

Sometimes, it's not the snows or the flooding that pose the biggest threat, but ice and black ice. Roads freeze over and do not thaw even after freezing temperatures are past; they can make braking and steering difficult for drivers and cause wipe-outs. Black ice, which forms at night or early in the morning, is hard to see because of its wet appearance.

Doctors don't always have the answers

When Oklahoma residents go to the doctor, they believe that the health care professional will accurately diagnose their medical ailments. However, this is not necessarily the case. Diagnostic errors happen more often than people may believe, and they are also the most harmful types of errors. A diagnostic mistake takes place when a doctor either misses a diagnosis or doesn't make it in a timely manner.

The reason why doctors don't like to admit when they have made a mistake is because it may reduce their confidence. Part of being a doctor is not thinking that a patient could ever be harmed while under that person's care. Some believe that the number of diagnostic errors could increase as medicine becomes more complicated over time. They may also increase as doctors start to take on large caseloads. Artificial intelligence may help doctors keep up in a faster paced environment.

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