Georgia Attorney General Faces Possible Impeachment For Refusing Go File Suit Over Health Care Reform


Posted on 1st April 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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More on the politics of no. The Republicans continue to think that if they can continue to paint meaningful health care reform as some breed of anarchy, socialism and treason, that no one will bother to look as to how much better the country will be with fair rules governing health insurance. The old axim of never letting the facts get in the way of a good story, sure seems to apply to this one.

When I studied Constitutional law in 1977, the basic rule was that the Federal government had the power to regulate anything that involved interstate commerce. Well there might be some “commerce” that isn’t interstate, but it is clearly not health care, one of the biggest and most comprehensive industries in our society. If it is constitutional for the federal government to tax working people for retired people’s Medicare, it is legal to require everyone be insured.

Yet, if the Republicans believe there is some political advantage to calling the new Health Care law bad, so they keep doing it. The louder they say it, the more votes they believe they will get. Let us hope that by November, the majority of the country will see that all that they stand for is nothing.

In Georgia Republicans are calling for the impeachment of the state Attorney General, because he has refused to file suit over the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care overhaul.

In the Georgia state Legislature 31 Republicans Tuesday signed a resolution seeking the impeachment of Democrat Thurbert Baker. Baker is also a candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, where incumbent Republican Sonny Perdue can’t seek a third term under the law.

Fourteen states have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the new health care reform, according to The New York Times. But Perdue has charged that this litigation is frivolous and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Perdue has indicated that to get around Baker, he will appoint a “special attorney general,” a lawyer or legal team to file suit on Georgia’s behalf.

To be approved, the impeachment resolution would need the support of the majority of the Republican controlled, 180-member Georgia House.

Then there would have to be a trial in the state Senate, and Baker could be found guilty if two-thirds of the 56 senators went against him. But it would be tough for Baker to lose that vote, because the Republicans control just 60 percent of the Senate seats.

Pfizer Penalties Will Add Up To $141 Million in Neurontin Racketeering Casee


Posted on 31st March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Pfizer will have to pay penalties totaling $141 million after being found to have unlawfully promoted the epilepsy drug Neurontin, violating a federal racketeering law.

A Boston jury last Thursday levied a $47 million judgment against Pfizer, the world’s largest drug manufacturer. But under the so-called federal RICO law, standing for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act, such as award is tripled, so the verdict will wind up costing Pfizer $141 million. The drug maker said it would appeal the verdict.

In the case plaintiffs Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan charged that Pfizer had unlawfully promoted Neurontin for unapproved uses for which the drug doesn’t work. Those unapproved uses included migraine headaches, pain and bipolar disorder.

Drug makers like Pfizer can just promote drugs for uses approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, although physicians can prescribes medicines as they choose.

“We are disappointed with the verdict and will pursue post-trial motions and an appeal,” Pfizer said in a statement. “The verdict and the judge’s rulings are not consistent with the facts and the law.”

Pfizer alleges that the judge improperly allowed details of a $430 million settlement the drug maker paid for unlawfully marketing Neurontin in 2004 to be considered by the Boston jury.

Dodger’s Vin Skully Hospitalized After Hitting Head


Posted on 20th March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Veteran Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Skully was hospitalized Thursday after falling out of bed and bumping his head.

Skully, 82, was taken to West Hills Hospital and Medical Center observation, and was expected to be released Friday. The accident took place at his home in Hidden Hills, Calif.

The hospital told reporters that Skully was “doing great,” but let’s hope the facility pays serious attention to the announcer’s head injury, no matter how “great” he seems to be doing now.

We fear that Scully, and team officials, may be in too much of a rush to take proper caution with his injury. That’s because the announcer is due at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in Arizona this weekend for an exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians.

A concussion may be a minor problem which resolves in days, or it can be the beginning of a lifetime of disability. What rushing a “return to play” decision can do (even if the “play” is work) is put undue stress on the brain, not only making healing more difficult, but perhaps worsening the organic injury.

The other part of the picture with Skully is his age. Those over 65 have much worse outcomes than a young person would. The chances of meaningful disability from a significant concussion at that age may approach 50%, rather than the normal 10-15% rate with those under 40.

The best thing for a concussion is rest and daily reevaluation. Skully will likely get the second, but not likely the first. A live radio broadcast, even if he can do it, will put unneccessary stressors on a wounded brain.

Hammering Home the Seriousness of Concussions

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Posted on 10th March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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It’s always good for the American public to be made aware of the dangers of brain injury, and that a concussion is not “just” a concussion.” And that’s the message that’s being taught this month, which has been designated Brain Injury Awareness Month.

It’s never a bad idea, and can’t be stressed too often, that concussions do constitute brain injury. One physician pointed out that of the 1.4 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the United States each year, 75 percent are usually concussions.

Public information about the danger of head injury and concussions doesn’t have to be dry and dull. The Mission Children’s Hospital has put together a clever nine-minute video for kids about why they need to wear helmets to protect against head injury.

A demonstration of how a brain is bounced around in the skull when a head sustained a blow is done with jelly in glass bowl, and makes its point quite vividly.

Arizona Teen Dies From Brain Injury Sustained in Accident at 24-Hour Endurance Race


Posted on 3rd March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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An 18-year-old youth was died Tuesday of brain trauma he sustained when he was hit by a car during a 24-hour endurance relay face this past weekend in Arizona.

Robert Mayasich, a student at Brophy College Prep, passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center three days after he was transported by air from Arizona 74 west of Lake Pleasant.

He had been part of a 12-man team in a race from Prescott to Tempe. But he wasn’t running his part of the race when he was hit by a Toyota Camry Solara.

Arizona public safety officials could release a report on Mayasich’s fatal accident by the end of the week.

Those who participate in the 24-hour race are encouraged to wear reflective safety gear, like headlamps and reflectors.

Possible NFL Draft Picks To Undergo Brain Test


Posted on 27th February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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With concern over concussions a hot issue now, potential National Football League draft picks will have to undergo a brain test and face questions about their brain-injury history, according to the Associated Press.,0,5717019.story

The 329 players coming to a scouting combine in Indianapolis this week will have to take the ImPACT test, a baseline brain activity examination – a first for the NFL.

Doctors can use the information gathered from the test to create a standard way to evaluation players, and to possibly track data on concussions.

The NFL has already made changes to its rules regarding players returning to play after hitting their heads.

The NFL’s competition committee this week saw demonstrations of new helmets that purportedly would be protective against head injuries.

Friday the NFL players’ union will conduct a Player Safety and Welfare Summit in Indianapolis, where companies can come to discuss any gear or services they offer that are supposed to make football safer.

That night, team doctors will meet to talk about new treatment for players. That meeting will include a discussion of head injuries.

Skier C.R. Johnson Dies In Ski Accident After Striking His Head


Posted on 26th February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Not all sport brain injuries happen in competition. And they are not all routine concussions. Some, like Natasha Richardson’ and now C.R. Johnson, can be fatal.

Johnson, a skier and leader in halfpipe skiing, died in an accident Wednesday when he hit his head against a rock in Squaw Valley, Calif.

The 26-year-old, who had sustained traumatic brain injury earlier in his career, was skiing on Light Towers with friends when he reportedly fell down face first, twisted around and hit the back of his head on rocks. Johnson was wearing a helmet, which was damaged in the accident.

Johnson had been in the superpipe and halfpipe competitions at the X Games.

Back in 2005, another skier landed on Johnson in an accident in Utah. Johnson, who suffered traumatic brain damage, was put in a coma for 10 days. But he was soon back skiing after spending some time in a rehabilitation facilty, where he had to learn how to talk again.

Some “return to play” decision are just ridiculous. Anyone who suffers a severe brain injury (a coma) should frankly be disqualified from balance, instant decision making, perfectly coordinated activities where there is any risk of further brain injury. Despite what the team doctors might have wanted to believe, or Johnson himself believe, a brain injury severe enough to put someone in a coma, will not have a complete recovery. The goal is a satisfactory recovery, but that doesn’t mean that a finely tuned athlete will ever be able to do all the things again that it takes to excel, or in Johnson’s case, even survive.

If a doctor released Johnson for skiing, that doctor should be answering for his death.

Details On Measures the NFL Is Looking At To Limit Concussions


Posted on 22nd February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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No more three point stance? That will be the acid test as to whether the NFL is willing to put player safety first. Eliminate the three point stance and you change the nature of football. Oddly, the running game would likely be the biggest benefactor, which is a complete contrast to the direction the league has been going. It is hard to imagine a traditional defense without line men digging in to stop the run. Will the NFL force such an organic change in the way the game is played for player safety? I doubt it. Frankly, I am not even sure that such change would make a biomechanical difference.

But eliminating the three point stance is one of the rule changes being considered by the NFL and its players are considering rule changes to ward off concussions, according to a detailed account in The Washington Post. Some of the other measures being discussed are barring helmet-to-helmet hits on all ball carriers; limiting off-season practice; and exemptions for players recovering from concussions.

The possible changes could be in place by next season, according to The Washington Post. The league is trying to put the kibosh on the number of concussions that players suffer.

Thom Mayer, the medical director for the players’ union, is quoted saying that he envisions a 20 percent to 25 percent drop in the number of practices with collisions between players being permitted.

The possible changes will be part of the agenda when the NFL competition committee and union reps are together in Indianapolis next week.

Some safety measures were already implemented by the NFL following congressional hearings in October, which took testimony on player concussions causing long-term memory-related problems.

More Than 1,000 Disabled in N.J. Could Lose Benefits From Cash-Strapped Traumatic Brain Injury Fund


Posted on 20th February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Roughly 1,300 disabled people in New Jersey could lose treatment and services because of budget cuts impacting the state’s Traumatic Brain Injury Fund.

A New Jersey Assembly committee met Thursday to talk about possible ways to raise more money for the fund. In order to keep within the fund’s yearly $3.4 million budget, some officials have recommended that the fund only serve those who sustained a blow to the head, not those who suffered brain injury from a stroke, tumor or other type of trauma.

If that change were made, 60 percent of the 2,000 people who now get services from the program would be ineligible for it.

One of the solutions being considered is raising the 50-cent surcharge on car registrations that funds the program now.

Recipients who would be cut off from the Traumatic Brain Injury Fund are understandingly upset, as described in this well-done human interest story by The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.

The story talks about the case of Michael Jankowsky of Toms River, who got stabbed in the heart trying to protect a friend 25 years ago. His brain didn’t get oxygen, and he suffered brain damage. He needs constant care, at age 45.

“He uses a wheelchair, slurs his speech, and struggles to concentrate,” The Ledger writes. “He has made progress over the past few years, his mother says, thanks to New Jersey’s Traumatic Brain Injury Fund, which paid for speech therapy and other treatments not covered by insurance.”

The story goes on, “That could end soon. The Brain Injury Fund is going broke, and the state wants to limit whom it helps to people whose brain damage came from a direct blow to the head.”

This is absurd. The issue is whether the brain is injured, not what mechanism of injury caused it. Some of the most serious of brain injuries don’t involve any blow to the head and as high as 50% of concussions do as well. See for more on the mechanical forces which cause brain injury.

Certain Brain Damage Can Impact Spirituality, Study Finds


Posted on 11th February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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All that we are is in our brains. Heart break happens in the brain. Love happens in the brain. And yes, if you are “saved”, it is your brain that is saved. The brain is the home of the human soul. The study below is further confirmation.

A new study has found link between brain activity and spirituality by testing patients before and after they had surgery to remove brain tumors.

The study, published in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Neuron, focused on the a personality trait, self-transcendence (ST), which is used
as a gauge of spiritual feeling and thinking in individuals. The characteristic is marked by a person feeling like he or she is a part of the larger universe.;=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5;=e4fb1257622032866d30264bf0a9b724

The research compared ST scores of patients before and after they had brain tumors removed, mapping their brain lesions after surgery.

The study determined that select damage to the left and right posterior parietal regions of the brain increased ST. That has lead researchers to believe that dysfunctional parietal neural activity may cause changed spiritual beliefs and actions.