The spinal cord is very sensitive to injury, and unlike other parts of your body, lacks the ability to self repair when damaged, making spinal injuries potentially devastating. A spinal cord injury — damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal (cauda equina) — often causes permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury. An injury can occur when there is damage to the spinal cord from trauma, restriction of blood supply, or compression from a tumor or infection. There are approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury each year in the United States, most frequently in males.
Football is an iconic American sport, but despite the national interest in watching football, professional athletes experience a lack of protection when it comes to brain injuries. It is not uncommon for football players at any level to experience a traumatic head injury at some point during their career. For some, the injuries come in the form of a concussion, which makes up 7.4% of all head injuries sustained from playing football.
Schizophrenia, Latin for “split mind,” is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder, affecting an estimated 2.4 million American adults and their families. The hallmark of schizophrenia is disorganized thinking, which can manifest as positive symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) and negative symptoms (depression, blunted emotions and social withdrawal). Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. In the past, there were different classes of schizophrenia, also known as ‘subtypes’. Disorganized schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder have since been absorbed into the larger diagnosis of schizophrenia, but are still used to describe the widely varied ways schizophrenia can manifest from person to person.
The right to die issue – or death with dignity – as it has been named in the press and by advocacy groups, is a controversial topic. On one side of the argument some people are concerned that passing ‘death with dignity’ statutes and legalizing suicide might expose the most vulnerable groups of people in society. On the other side, some people suffering terminal illness are concerned with exercising their right to bodily autonomy, and deciding when and where that ends.
Psychopathy is a hotly debated topic in the psychiatric community and in society at large. The nature of psychopathy is a frightening one and the root causes of the personality disorder are largely unknown. A person who is diagnosed as being a psychopath may exhibit symptoms such as reckless spending, violence towards animals and arson, ordinarily starting from a very young age. Psychopathy is generally understood by most people to be characterized by diminished capacity for empathy towards other people and living beings.