motorcycle handlesMotorcyclists in Indiana can look forward to a future in which motorcycles will be so smartly designed that they will actually eliminate the need to wear any protective gear, like helmets.

BMW recently unveiled a motorcycle concept that the company believes would eliminate the need for wearing a helmet. The motorcycle is called Motorrad Vision Next 100. According to the company, the motorcycle would have features that would specifically reduce the risk of accidents that result in injuries.

One of those features is a unique self-balancing system that would keep the bike upright and in balance, both while it is in motion, and stationery. That significantly reduces or minimizes the risk of accidents caused by loss of balance or loss of control of the motorcycle.  The motorcycle would come with a visor that would allow for a display of all controls that were hitherto contained in the control panel. The control panel, as we know it now, would be completely eliminated from this new motorcycle.

car seatIndiana’s safety regulations, including its child car seat laws, help protect the lives of children involved in car accidents every year. According to a new study, there are wide differences in crash death rates among child passengers across the United States, and state regulations governing child safety are a major reason for this disparity.

A study by researchers at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston was conducted when researchers went through government data from between 2007 and 2014. The data revealed that fatality rates for children were several times higher in some parts of the country. For instance, researchers discovered that Mississippi experienced a child fatality rate of 3.2 for every 100,000 accidents, and that rate dropped to as low as .25 fatalities for every 100,000 children in a state like Massachusetts.

Why is there such a wide disparity in the number of children killed in traffic accidents across the United States? The researchers believe that it has much to do with the safety regulations that are in place in these states. Regulations that involve not just child car safety seat use or child restraint use, but also red light camera use and other safety policies have a significant impact on the likelihood that child passengers will survive accidents. For example, fatality rates were highest in those states that had larger percentages of children riding in cars without child restraints or without being safety buckled in or in child car safety seats. Child fatality rates also seemed to be much higher in those states in which most of the accidents occurred on rural roads. 

Handfulls of medsMisdiagnosis or wrong diagnosis is one of the most serious medical errors, contributing to delayed treatments, wrong treatments and other possibly fatal consequences. However, one consequence of misdiagnosis that very often slips under the radar is the high risk of antibiotic resistance linked to the wrong drugs that are prescribed after a misdiagnosis.

Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in the United States are urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and pneumonia. When a person is wrongly diagnosed, doctors may begin the wrong treatment including an inappropriate medication schedule. That generally means incorrect use of in antibiotics in hospitals or out-patient settings. When a person is given antibiotics for a misdiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed condition, the condition may not improve and there is also a serious risk that the effectiveness of the antibiotic is severely diminished.

There are reasons for the emergence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in US hospitals. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics has been pointed out as one of the reasons for this scourge. When antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly, there is a much higher risk of the development of resistance to important and beneficial antibiotics.

Double YellowDrowsiness, medical emergencies at the wheel, or blackouts as a result of alcohol or drug use are linked to many lane departure accidents across the United States every year. That information comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, whose research focused on lane-drift accidents, in which drivers lost control of the vehicle and veered into the other lane. The researchers found that incapacitation was a factor in approximately 32% of all accidents linked to lane departure, and 42% of accidents that ended in fatal or serious injuries.

They also found that the driver fell asleep at the wheel in 17% of the accidents that were analyzed, and the driver was incapacitated either because he had suffered a medical emergency like a heart attack at the wheel, or blacked out as result of drug or alcohol use in another 17% of the accidents.

Crash avoidance technologies like lane departure warning systems are designed to reduce the risk of accidents that occur when a car veers into another lane. These accidents are much more common than you believe, and can have serious consequences. However, the crash reduction results of lane departure warning systems have been fairly disappointing thus far. These systems have not been found to reduce accident risks to the extent we had hoped. The systems are still fairly new, and we must wait many more years to see whether these systems can have the crash reducing effects that they promise.

Toy TruckIndiana has a dismal record when it comes to trucking safety.   The state ranked as one of the top 10 for truck and bus fatalities during the 2012 – 2014 period, with 112 fatalities in 2012, 117 fatalities in 2013, increasing to a total of 129 fatalities in 2014. That makes it an average of more than 119 fatalities in large truck and bus accidents in Indiana during this period of time, and a staggering 10.3% increase over these three years.

Many truck accidents are caused by speeding truck drivers, truckers driving while fatigued, and driver distractions. As a motorist on Indiana’s roads, what can you do to stay safe when sharing the highway with these massive vehicles?

For one thing, you can become an educated and informed driver. As a motorist traveling on the highways and byways of the state, there is no excuse for you not to be aware of the various dangers that you must know of when you’re driving anywhere around a tractor-trailer or a semi-rig.

headlamp-2940_1920The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has disturbing news about auto safety in this country. According to the federal agency, preliminary data indicates that there was a disturbing increase in the number of people killed in traffic accidents during the first six months of this year.

According to the data, fatalities in traffic accidents increased by about 10.4% during the first six months of 2016. The federal administration recorded a total of 17,775 fatalities in traffic accidents, during the first half of 2016. That was a sharp increase, and it is even more concerning because it comes after a sudden increase in traffic fatalities recorded during 2015. Clearly, much of the progress that has been made over the past decade in reducing traffic accident fatalities is at risk of coming undone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls this increase an “immediate crisis.” The agency is taking the sharp uptick in fatalities very seriously and pointing to newer causes of traffic accident fatalities, like distracted driving. There is no reason to believe that people are becoming more responsible about using cell phones and texting devices while driving. In fact, electronic communication devices have simply become even more distracting, and encourage motorists to continue to communicate, play, shop and other things while they are driving.

body-116585_1280Doctors often recommend implantable cardiac defibrillators for persons who suffer from cardiac irregularities, including cardiac arrhythmia. However, a new study finds that these implants are linked to an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.

The study finds that persons who have these cardiac devices implanted run a 51% higher chance of being involved in a car accident, compared to people of a similar age who are not implanted with such devices.

This is not the first time that a study has pointed to the possible increased accident risks associated with people who have implantable cardiac devices. Other studies have also shared similar concerns. In one such study, researchers speculated that the devices could be linked to a higher risk of accidents either because of an episode of cardiac arrhythmia while driving, and/or the start of the device while driving.

baby handParents who are currently using homeopathic teething gels for their infant children must heed a new warning by the Food and Drug Administration. The federal agency recently issued the warning that these homeopathic teething products, including gels and tablets, are possibly linked to a heightened risk of fatality in infants.

The agency is asking all parents to stop using these products for their children, and requests that parents dispose of these immediately.  These homeopathic products were distributed by a number of drugstores, including CVS, and are also available online.

The federal agency is asking parents to look out for symptoms, including shortness of breath, constipation, muscular weakness, flushing of the skin, and urinary difficulties after using the teething gels. If your child shows symptoms of agitation, or suffers seizures, get medical help immediately. If your child is currently teething, ask your doctor for safe teething products that can be used without the threat of side effects.

xray_08837The science of radiology plays a critical role in many medical diagnoses. However, when an error creeps into the radiology process, the result is often a delayed diagnosis or worse, a missed diagnosis. In fact, failure to diagnose, or a wrong diagnosis is one of the most serious radiology errors. However, studies also show that failure to communicate is another of the major causes of wrong diagnoses in radiology.

Failure to communicate can include more than just the communication of radiology reports to the physician, but also failures that prevent information from being transmitted to the patient. It is important to maintain the right communication channels so that there is no impediment to the communication of these critical results. Unfortunately, all too often there are discrepancies in the channels that result in communication failures.

For instance, the contact information for the respective doctor may be incorrect, making it difficult to contact the doctor. The doctor may simply be unable or inaccessible, and unable to see the radiology results in time. That could mean a delayed diagnosis, and with every day that a diagnosis is delayed, the patient’s health could worsen. Radiologists may also contribute to these communication hurdles simply by failing to complete documentation in a systematic manner. In fact, one study found that radiology groups very often fail to meet basic results-reporting standards set by the Joint Commission.

039711 MisdiagnosisMisdiagnosis is one of the most common medical errors in the United States. Some studies have found that the risk of a wrong diagnosis is as high as 10% to 15%. However, the question must be asked: Is there anything you can do to reduce the risk of your condition being misdiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed?

The good news is that there is! Being informed is half the battle. As an aware patient, you must be completely informed about all your symptoms and the possible diagnoses and treatment.

Begin by writing down all of your symptoms as they occur. Make a comprehensive list of symptoms so that you are able to inform the doctor at your appointment. Patients often neglect to mention key symptoms, underestimating their significance. This can open the door for a misdiagnosis. If you believe that there is something your doctor should know, tell her. Be specific: If pain is chronic, make sure the doctor knows about this. If your pain did not subside after taking a common painkiller, for instance, inform your doctor about this. Document dates, duration, treatment attempts, and observations.