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Eatontown Personal Injury Law Blog

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

As New Jersey residents get ready for the upcoming summer season, they might want to be aware of some information about melanoma, a rare but serious form of skin cancer. May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and some tips from a dermatology expert could help people to be safe.

Early detection is the key to surviving melanoma, according to a professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. When the rare skin cancer is detected early, the cure rate is 94 to 100 percent. But if melanoma spreads to other areas of the body, it is usually fatal. The rate of survival is only 20 percent for melanoma that has metastasized.

Stopping injuries at chemical plants

New Jersey residents who work in chemical manufacturing plants are routinely exposed to dangerous chemicals that can cause grave injuries or death. They are also at risk of falls. Both the workers and their employers should be aware of the common injuries that take place in chemical plants, why they occur and how to prevent them.

Chemicals, which can be extremely flammable and toxic, contribute to some of the common chemical manufacturing plant injuries. Typical injuries include chemical exposure, chemical burns, abrasions and cuts, overexertion, inhalation of chemicals and trips and falls. These injuries can occur even if there are safeguards in place. Inadequate training, human error and complacency and the use of safety equipment that has not been properly maintained are the main reasons accidents occur in chemical plants.

Silica regulation for construction workers delayed

For decades, worker safety advocates and unions have urged the federal government to create safety standards for construction workers in New Jersey and around the country who work with materials like sand and granite that contain silica. The inhalation of silica dust can lead to chronic lung problems and even lung cancer. Workplace safety regulations established by the Obama administration included protections from silica hazards, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced that the new rules would be delayed by three months.

A representative from the AFL-CIO expressed concern that the delay would lead to an ultimate weakening of the original regulations. The regulations could have improved safety for the 2.2 million workers exposed to silica dust annually.

Study suggests hypertension is often misdiagnosed

Thousands of New Jersey residents take medications each day to control their blood pressure, but a recent Canadian study suggests that as many as one in five of them may be taking these powerful drugs unnecessarily. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 75 million Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension, and the agency says that treating the condition costs the country about $46 billion each year.

Hypertension is diagnosed when a person's diastolic pressure surpasses 90 millimeters of mercury and his or her systolic pressure is higher than 140 millimeters of mercury. However, scientists from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre believe that the manual equipment usually used to take these measurements is highly unreliable. Patients often become tense when their blood pressure is being monitored, which can skew test results and lead to unnecessary prescriptions.

Misdiagnosing acute kidney injuries

New Jersey patients who were told that they have an acute kidney injury may be interested to learn that the way in which these conditions are diagnosed may be misleading. Approximately 5 to 7 percent of patients who are admitted to U.S. hospitals are ultimately diagnosed with this condition.

Acute kidney injuries are often diagnosed through a blood test, which looks at a patient's serum creatinine levels, a waste product that the kidneys remove from the body. However, initial creatinine levels can be misleading as it can take time for them to adjust following an injury. Additionally, they only offer a snapshot of how the kidney is functioning at the time the blood test is taken. In some cases, the blood tests could even give a false positive for the condition even if the kidney was not damaged in any way.

Gates provide best ladder protection for workers

Many businesses across the United States use chains to guard ladder openings, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a new rule requiring they be protected by self-closing gates. New Jersey employers should assess their workplaces to make sure they are in compliance with this regulation.

According to safety experts, ladder chains don't provide enough protection because they require workers to hook them in place. In order to reattach the chains, employees must stand on ladders with their backs to the hazard, needlessly exposing them to danger. In comparison, a self-closing gate always guards a ladder opening by eliminating the chance of user errors from occurring.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause long-term problems in children

New Jersey readers may be interested in learning that children who suffer a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, are more likely to develop attention problems than healthy children, according to a new study. However, optimal family environments can help children with TBI experience fewer symptoms.

In the study, which was conducted at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, researchers examined how children were impacted by TBI for an average of seven years after sustaining the initial injury. They found that children with mild TBIs, often called concussions, are twice as likely to suffer from some sort of attention issue such as problems with information processing, inhibition and reasoning. Meanwhile, kids with severe TBIs are five times more likely to have secondary ADHD. The researchers believe that early family intervention is key to helping children with TBI manage their symptoms. They found that children with mild TBIs who live in chaotic or socially disadvantaged homes often display persistent symptoms while those with severe TBIs who live in ideal family settings showed fewer signs of injury.

Drop in numbers for prostate cancer treatment

Significantly fewer men throughout the country are being treated for prostate cancer since fewer prostate-specific antigen screening tests are being administered. The test was controversial because false positives for cancer were common. In addition to the worry and stress this created, men were also undergoing unnecessary procedures that could be debilitating. Furthermore, many forms of prostate cancer are so slow-growing that New Jersey men, like men elsewhere, die from other causes before the cancer becomes a problem.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force began recommending that men over the age of 75 avoid routine PSA tests. In 2011, the recommendation changed to say that the testing should not be done at all because the drawbacks and health hazards outweigh the benefits. In contrast, the American Urological Association says that men should consult their physicians and make a decision about whether or not to he tested. It also said that men aged 55 to 69 stood to benefit the most from the testing.

Study shows a drop in cancer rates

A new American Cancer Society report indicates that there has been a significant decrease in the amount of cancer-related deaths over the past two decades in New Jersey and throughout the United States. According to researchers, early cancer detection and treatment as well as a decline in smoking has led to the lower rate.

Since 1991, the cancer death rate has dropped by 25 percent, which has in turn saved the lives of more than 2.1 million people. Throughout the past decade, there was approximately a 2 percent decrease every year. This improvement suggests that the efforts and implementation of advanced cancer treatments have been effective in lowering cancer-related deaths.

Using computer analysis to reduce workplace injuries

When people engage in the same types of motions repeatedly, they may develop musculoskeletal injuries. New Jersey workers in the manufacturing industry are at risk for developing repetitive stress injuries, and the most common are tendonitis in their arms, shoulders and wrists as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. The best methods of preventing injury are to have experts watch the movements of workers and determine if they may lead to problems later on.

The problem with having health and safety professionals watch workers and determine if their movements may cause problems is that this method is both subjective and not entirely effective. Instead, the way forward may be with computer vision algorithms that can analyze the movements of a worker and determine if those movements may turn into injuries later on.

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