New drug could limit brain injury damage

A late trial has begun to test a drug which could limit the damage done by traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Conducted by pharma company Vsopharm, the test hopes to show the drug can limit secondary problems that come with brain injuries.

New drug could limit brain injury damage

Traumatic Injuries

In the EU each year 1.6 million people suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Of which 70,000 die and 100,000 suffer from disabilities. TBIs can leave some of the most devastating effects for sufferers including:

  • Cognitive problems
  • Communication difficulties
  • Reduced awareness
  • Emotional & behavioural problems
  • Affected mobility
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Paralysis

Most TBIs require families and friends of the sufferer to take a large role in the care and welfare post injury. This could include handling their finances if they have suffered cognitive problems and helping to complete basic daily tasks. Doing so however puts a lot of strain on those that do help; financial, emotional and physical.

Sincere Law’s job with any traumatic brain injury is to assemble a team of experts able to properly plan ahead for the sufferer and their family to reduce the physical, emotional and financial strain long term following injury.

 

New Drugs

The new drug being tested has been given the name VAS203 or “Ronopterin” has been enrolled in third stage testing with first estimated results scheduled initially to be mid 2019.The drug’s ingredients assist the production of key enzymes which help brain and body functions.

Phase 2 of the testing was successful following delivery in 6 and 12 month trials ensuring it showed improvements to patients in both the long and short term. The third phase of testing will see VAS203 being given to 232 patients suffering moderate to severe TBI in 35 European countries including Austria, France, Germany, Spain and the UK among others.

Vasopharmss CEO, Mr Christian Wandersee said of the third stage of testing:

“The phase III trial is a key test to confirm our belief in the clinical efficacy of ronopternin (VAS203) and its role in the treatment of moderately to severely injured closed head traumatic brain injury patients and leads us another step closer to bringing a drug for a highly unmet need to market. We believe VAS203 will provide physicians with a real opportunity to improve long-term outcomes for patients with this devastating condition.”

Incorrect prescriptions can cause serious injury - Sincere Law

For more information on brain injuries including TBI, you can visit our brain injury page here. Sincere Law are specialists in serious injury cases. If you, a friend or family member have suffered a serious injury as a result of negligence you can call 0800 092 2896 for free, impartial, confidential, conscientious advice from one of our team.

We also have a contact page where you can get in touch directly. We ensure a professional service with links to the best medical, financial and psychological assistance in the UK. If you need advice on planning through a serious injury, call Sincere Law today.

 

“Family First” Campaign Launched To Fight Brain Injuries

The National Lottery has begun funding a brand new campaign, designed to help families living with children suffering from acquired brain injuries. Championed in Northern Ireland to support 50 families and even more children, the scheme could benefit the rest of the UK in the future,  if and when it is rolled out further.

Brain Injury campaign funded by national lottery

Five Year Plan

Family First is one of five projects launched at once, with an overall fund of £3.3 million going towards good causes. Living with acquired brain injury can be a full time job for families when the injury involved one of their children. Charities, along with existing government funding, can help alleviate some of the pressure on those families, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

The £700,000 scheme, which is set to run over five  years, is initially being launched in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the scheme will help around 50 families to provide a good level of care and a happy life for their affected children, as well as assist the families also.

As the Family First scheme is lottery funded, it is hoped that the scheme may be rolled out further, across the UK in the future, especially if the pilot and initial £700,000 investment, proves to be a useful injection into the care of those in need.

What lottery funding does for us

1,000 Potential Beneficiaries

Up to 1,000 children are set to be helped in some way, as part of the funding, as they receive valuable support wtih care costs, advice, counselling and medical assistance.

The mother of one child involved was full of praise for the scheme and funding, stating “Family First has been so fantastic. You feel they really understand what it’s like for you and they’ll go the extra mile to provide support. It’s made such a difference. I can’t thank them enough.”

The Chief Executive of prominent brain injury charity “Brain Injury Matters” Fiona McCabe, commented on the toll that an acquired brain injury can take on affected families, saying:

Families need the right support as without it they can fall apart. Parents may feel guilt and blame themselves for their child’s brain injury. Because there is understandably focus on the child with the acquired brain injury, their brother and sisters may feel confused and excluded. All this puts pressure on the family unit and can make the child’s rehabilitation all the more difficult.”

The new scheme will help alleviate a lot of that pressure on connected family members and help keep the lives of all affected as positive as possible. For more on acquired brain injuries and their effects, take a look at what we can do for acquired brain injury victims when they are caused by serious negligence.

Sincere Law specialises in brain injury assistance from acquired to traumatic, axial to diffuse. These injuries often require extensive assistance over a long time (something we are experienced in providing). For more news on developments for brain injury suffers and the serious injury sector, visit our blog.

 

Brain Injuries Cost UK £15 Billion Per Year

Research by the Centre for Mental Health recently revealed that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) will cost the UK up to £15 billion per year (not including other brain injury types). With that figure so high, is it worth placing more research into dealing with traumatic brain injury in the short term?

Serious brain injury claims

TBI & the Justice System

One of the biggest dangers facing those with traumatic brain injury is the possibility of coming into contact with the justice system. Up to 60% of offenders have suffered TBI before they were arrested. This statistic strengthens the link between brain injuries and criminal activity. While this link is more prominent in children with traumatic injuries heading into adulthood, it can still affect an adult mind.

Of course, not all traumatic brain injuries would cause a person to commit crime, but the impairment one causes to somebody can often affect judgement and emotions. When this happens and a sufferer finds their judgement affected, the cost of taking care of them can spiral. This is because they could require assistance from a designated carer, or may suffer cognitive problems, meaning that they can no longer work. For anybody who suffers a traumatic brain injury and commits a criminal offence, it can be a difficult task to educate them on why their behaviour is not appropriate.

Regardless of whether a traumatic injury sufferer offends as a result of impaired judgement or not, the effect of a “mild” or “severe” traumatic brain injury can lead to challenging consequences on their family when it comes to taking care of them in the future. These tend to be even worse if the person suffers the injury early on in life.

 

 

Lifetime Care

Research has suggested that a traumatic brain injury can have several very negative effects on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. These may all require some form of aid to adapt to and live with.

Statistics show a traumatic brain injury can:

  • Double risk of mental illness development
  • Increase risk of earlier death
  • Increase risk of future offending

The cost of care in the UK for traumatic brain injuries is staggering. Each year around 160,000 people are admitted to hospital with traumatic brain injuries. 1.3 million people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries, live with disabilities as a result. Overall these cost £15 billion to help assist and treat the victim. A large proportion of those affected are children, whose bodies are not fully developed and so run a much higher risk of severe damage when struck in the skull. Should a child suffer a traumatic brain injury, the chances are they will require some level of care or assistance throughout life.

 

Strong Support

Numerous charities are available to help deal with the deficit in funding by the government. Some of the front runners for this include Headway, BASIC and the National Brain Appeal. Charity work forms a large base of support and care for victims and families. However, when an injury does occur, a family may often need support further than what is available through charity funding or via national services. This is where the victim of a traumatic brain injury whose injury was caused by somebody else’ negligence, can seek the help of a solicitor such as ourselves.

When we take on cases for serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, we prioritise the victim’s care. To do this we form what is known as a “crisis team”, which is made up of people who specialise in the treatment of the injury suffered.

Once our crisis team is formed, we are able to plan and carry out a course of treatment and support for as long as required, with the prime focus being to provide them with the best quality of life possible within their circumstances. This includes providing them with the opportunity to get an education, enjoy leisure time and, where possible, to develop skills that will help them into employment..

If somebody close to you has experienced a traumatic brain injury or a head injury of any kind then you can talk to one of our team in confidentiality to find out more about what help and support is available to you.

We are contactable on 0800 092 2896 every week day or if you prefer we have a contact form you can fill in here.

 

New Portable Ultrasound Scanners Could Save Lives

Undiagnosed bleeding from brain injuries can prove fatal. This is particularly noteworthy in warzones as bleeding internally in the head isn’t easily identifiable. Thanks to new developments in ultra sound technology however, there could be a path to early diagnosis.

Conventional Scanning

The problem with existing ultrasound scanners is that they produce a 2D model. This is most commonly used for baby scan images. Ultrasound works by projecting sound onto the human body and reading the bounce back, putting an image to the sound waves.

Other alternatives for better picture quality include CT or MRI scanners. In cases of emergency, where treatment needs to be quick, including as before, on a battlefield, then these devices become unfeasible. CT and MRI scanners are normally bulky and in some cases are so big they require a dedicated transport to house them.

How conventional ultrasound works

 

The new ultrasound scanners are a portable version the size of a laptop, able to create a 3D image of the brain and instantly send the data via the internet to a specialist. It allows remote diagnosis and a quick way of identifying bleeding. It also means that if an expert is not present at the scene, there is always one available online to look at the scans.

 

Long Term Gain

With the ability to quickly diagnose bleeding in the brain, there is the possibility to prevent haemorrhages. In remote locations without an expert who can spot the bleeding on scans this can be the difference between receiving the correct treatment fast and long term brain damage.

This is also beneficial for patients coming into A&E after suffering a stroke. If bleeding is not spotted early and is left untreated it can lead to further damage when the patient would preferably require rushing to A&E. Bleeding in the brain is not always recognizable without due training and experience; in the past patients may not have been identified as suffering this and risked long term damage or even death if untreated.

new portable ultrasound designed to assist with finding brain bleeding injuries being tested

Sincere Law Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker saw the potential in the scanners and was very pleased to see the ongoing development reach testing. Of the scanners he said:

“Undiagnosed bleeding inside a brain can devastate a person in the long term and so having the ability to clearly identify this in a patient, even when a specialist doctor isn’t on hand at the scene, is a big step towards reducing catastrophic brain injuries. We hope to see continual testing and eventual rollout of these devices in our armed forces and A&E too”.

 

Saving Lives

There is no doubt that the ability to quickly scan a brain for internal bleeding and send the results remotely can save lives going forward. The biggest question is how quickly can the portable scanners be thoroughly tested and rolled out for general use? Unfortunately at this point there is no set timeline but the testing is a large step towards that goal.

In the majority of brain injury cases taken by Sincere Law relating to internal bleeding, the longer a patient is left to be diagnosed; whether that is simply waiting at a hospital or waiting for a specialist to identify the symptoms; the more damaging the long term effects. A brain injury also affects the family of a victim just as much. They often involve complications including affected motor functions, restricted learning capacity or general brain functionality problems.

Steps towards reducing the amount prolonged brain bleeding sufferers are being made every day. In time we hope that those operating in our armed forces and those in need of quick assistance in our hospitals have access to the new ultrasound scanners.

 

New technology to tackle head injuries in sport

A brand new device labelled the “Q-Collar” has been designed and tested using two studies in the United States. The device, which is placed inside a sports helmet, aims to reduce concussion injuries by manipulating blood flow to the brain.

 

Energy absorption

The Q-Collar works very simply by being placed inside a helmet allowing it to gently press on the jugular vein of an athlete. The pressure on the vein then allows a slow outflow of blood, keeping blood volume in the brain. When involved in a contact sport, your brain can be at risk to aggravated injuries from knocks to the head. The collar is designed so the higher blood volume in the brain can pad out and protect it during sport.

The tests carried out in America involved two heavy contact sports that required helmets (American football and hockey). The studies, which took place in Cincinnati, measured the flow of blood and activity of both athletes that wore the collar (half), and athletes that didn’t. The results indicated that those athletes who took part without the collar suffered a “disruption of their microstructure and functional performance of the brain”.

Serious Injury prevention in sports with new v collar

English Applications

The Q collar may well have future applications in more than the sports tested if further research shows the device to greatly assist with the prevention of injury. While American football and hockey are considered niche sports in the UK, other more popular sports that require a helmet may benefit from widespread use. Other applications which could see the Q collar used include:

  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Motorsports
  • Bobsledding
  • Equestrian Sports
  • Baseball
  • Extreme Sports
  • Skiing

Sincere Law’s Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker has praised the research as an “exciting development” in the protection of athletes. “There have been positive advances in dealing with sports related head injuries in the past few years. It’s vitally important we protect everyone from brain injury as the long term effects can be devastating; particularly so for those who aren’t backed by guaranteed contracts and access to the best therapy.”

v collar designed to prevent serious injury in sport

As solicitors who specialise in serious and catastrophic injury, Sincere Law has helped victims of severe head injury in sport in the past and know that the road to recovery can be a hard one, not just for the victim themselves, but for their families as well.

Given the limited access to therapy that amateur sportsmen and sportswomen have, when compared to the professionals, the introduction of technology, such as the Q Collar, could go a long way to help prevent serious head injuries to competitors.

 

The cost of medical negligence to the NHS and the victims left with serious brain injuries as a result

In 2014, it is reported that the total cost to the NHS because of medical and clinical negligence was estimated at one billion pounds. This is bad for the NHS and economy but also bad for the patients that have to injure sometimes horrific injuries and sometimes even death.  This has flagged up numerous problems that the NHS could be facing. Not only losing large amount to negligence claims that could be avoided but also potential threat to patient care.

In recent news the telegraph suggested that clinical negligence is problem within hospitals across the UK, which is a frightening thought. One case that grabbed the headlines was the terrible story of a young woman in 2013 that was admitted to hospital in Wakefield heavily pregnant who was experiencing complications including heavy bleeding. She was given medication to help her but the doctors and nurses did not give this enough time to work to its full potential. When she was then taken into surgery she was given anaesthesia inappropriately. This then caused circulatory collapse, which resulted in brain damage.

She is now house bound and unable to do much for herself.  Her mother is seeking justice as her daughter who now lives at a rehabilitation centre in Barnsley, which is several miles from her family home, needs a final payment so they can build her a bungalow to cater for her needs.

Another heartbreaking story is the story of a 13 year old boy, who’s family fought 10 years to get the result from Kent & Canterbury Hospital that the parents were not at fault for causing there son brain injuries back in 2002. As the parents were led to believe that there son had epilepsy which was not the case when they took him to a specialist at Great Ormond street who said he have significant brain damage. It was only after they demanded answers from the hospital he was born then they knew the truth. The truth was that there son had experienced a neo-natal birthing injury.  This was then the start of a long fight to seek the justice and apologies there were owed by Kent & Canterbury Hospital. But nearly a decade later in 2013 the family finally received a letter from East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust accepting responsibility for his condition. Although they had received the acknowledgement they were due the trust continued to dispute details about the future care package. It was not until April 2015 when Britain’s top judges ruled in there favour, with a compensation package to be worth millions.

One of the parents stated, “I’m a massive fan of the NHS, but I think the way they treat people when things go wrong- it’s disgusting, inhumane. I hope our case will at least help make the changes it clearly needs”. Cases like these are a minority but are still happening to children and adults across the country. This may mean that a review in how the NHS manages its claims and treats its patients may need to be overhauled to make sure that this does not happen again. As to wait 10 years for a hospital to acknowledge there mistake and apologise is not right and shouldn’t happen. These traumatic cases also highlight the transparency needed between the patient and doctors and the trust that if medical negligence has occurred something will be done about it and care can be provided.

In conclusion these recent figures about the amount of money been spent on claims could flag up potential problems in terms of patient care and the way claims are handled. As this can have a detrimental effect on the victims, as cases were serious brain injuries are caused, having to wait years to receive any compensation or an apology should not happen. So as tragic the cases we’ve discussed are it will create new laws and procedures for the future.