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Texting while driving triggers a drug-like brain boost

Many drivers - adults as well as teens -- find it impossible to ignore an incoming text message. Intellectually, they know it can wait. They know that texting while driving is illegal and dangerous. Yet they do it anyway.

An expert on technology addictions explains that texting releases dopamine, the same brain chemical triggered by eating, having sex, playing video games and other pleasures. The compulsion to answer the "ping" - and get that dopamine fix - overrides drivers' better judgment. Sometimes with tragic results.

Of doctors, ducks and zebras

When diagnosing patients, doctors frequently fall back on their medical school training to look for the most likely reason certain symptoms present themselves. To most doctors, a cough, watery eyes, a runny nose and a sore throat is most likely to be an indication of a head cold. But among themselves, doctors also call unusual or rare medical conditions zebras, to describe a surprising disease which looks, walks and quacks like a duck in every other way.

As Dr. Michael Aaronson indicates in Common Things Are Common, Except When the Diagnosis Is Rare, is it possible that doctors have difficulty looking beyond the most common causes for an illness? When you are a sick person on the receiving end of one of these shortcut diagnosis, the effects on your health can be devastating.

Birth injuries to infants surface many years later

Childbirth is a transformative experience, whether it goes smoothly or not. Infants can sustain injuries to the brain during pregnancy, delivery, or post birth. If you've experienced a difficult pregnancy or labor, your child may have suffered a birth injury. Some problems are evident immediately, but others show no symptoms until years later. Recent studies have shown that children who sustain a brain injury are more severely impacted than adults, due to the fact that their brains are still developing.

Car accident victims are prone to depression and PTSD

In the wake of a car accident, physical injuries get all the attention. Casts and bandages. Doctor visits and rehab. Lost time from work. But the psychological injuries can also be severe and lasting. 

A recent study suggests about half of survivors suffer serious depression in the months after a crash, and one in five exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If diagnosed and documented, the psychological component can be compensated under pain and suffering. 

Another fatality raises questions about safety of autonomous vehicles

In recent weeks, a self-driving Uber cab struck and killed a pedestrian and a Tesla owner was killed when his self-driving car rammed into a concrete median. Earlier this year, a Tesla on Autopilot crashed into a fire truck.

Despite a number of crashes and near-misses, the companies maintain that autonomous vehicles are statistically safer than human drivers. However, Uber canceled its test program in California and Tesla will re-examine its trademark Autopilot software.

Avoid these mistakes after a car accident

Every car accident is unique. The outcome depends on the circumstances, the people involved, the insurance coverage and many other factors.

There are things you can do - and things you should avoid - to protect your interests and set yourself up for the best possible outcome. Knowing what not to do might make all the difference.

Going to work is getting more dangerous

Workplace deaths have risen 3 straight years

Workplace fatalities rose 7 percent in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the third straight year that work-related deaths rose, after trending downward for many years.

Transportation accidents make up the greatest number of deaths, but workplace violence has skyrocketed and is now the No. 2 cause of workplace fatalities.

Concussion blood test is a huge breakthrough

The symptoms of traumatic brain injury vary from person to person, and may be hidden or delayed. The only way to verify brain damage is a CT scan. Which is expensive and involves radiation.

Now the FDA has approved a game-changing blood test that can detect - with a high degree of accuracy - whether a person has suffered a concussion or other brain injury. Aside from the medical benefits, the test could have legal implications.

Despite technology, hit-and-run accidents are still a problem

In spite of cellphones and security cameras - and the severe criminal penalties - hit-and-run accidents happen all the time. And many of those drivers are never caught.

It's a huge anxiety for victims and their families. They are angry that a person could simply drive away. Worse, they are stuck with medical bills and other damages, with no one to sue. The good news is that hit-and-run victims can get compensation ... if they have the right type of insurance.

America lags in preventing maternal deaths and complications

This isn't the 1800s. This isn't some third world country. Then why are so many American women dying - or suffering near-death complications - from childbirth?

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the industrialized world. The Centers for Disease Control says near-fatal experiences and lasting injuries from giving birth are actually increasing. How is this happening in America? Why are we going backward?

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