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Social Security Disability Lawyer

Possible Alzheimer’s Breakthrough

There are many studies going on this very minute, desperately seeking to better treat, delay the onset and even prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston is participating in studies that may potentially produce groundbreaking results for the future of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.”  (PostandCourier.com)  Around 92,000 of those people live right here in South Carolina. The 2018 National Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures report shows that the Palmetto state “has the 8th highest rate for Alzheimer’s related deaths in the nation.” (ABC4News.com)

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. It causes problems with thinking, memory and behavior, and normally affects people 65 years and up. However, about 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Scientists are still researching to figure out exactly what causes the horrible disease. They believe that Alzheimer’s prevents parts of a brain cell from functioning properly. They are not sure why. These parts not functioning properly cause problems in other areas. “As damage spreads, cells lose their ability to do their jobs and, eventually die causing irreversible changes in the brain.”(alz.org)

Previous attempts to come up with a vaccine for Alzheimer’s have not worked, but experts’ and researchers’ understanding of the disease has developed in recent years. It turns out that the disease is much more complicated than what was known in the past. For example, before 2013 researchers were unaware of “nearly 10 additional genetic variations that were associated with an increased risk of the disease, meaning there were additional biomarkers, or things experts could pinpoint, to gauge a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s that were previously unknown.”

Two of the studies Roper Hospital is participating in:

The A4 study is a five-year study which looks at a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s before they start showing symptoms. After an examination and PET scan, researchers examine abnormal lesions (amyloid plaque) in a volunteer’s brain that are often associated with Alzheimer’s. This indicates high risk to develop the disease.

The volunteers who are selected to participate in the A4 study will go in once a month for 3 years and have an infusion treatment of either the drug solanezumab or a placebo. “The study will test the safety and efficacy of solanezumab…to see if it slows memory and cognitive decline and affects the buildup of amyloid plaques, as shown by brain imaging and other biomarkers.” (NIH.com)

For more information on participating in the A4 trial, visit www.a4study.org or call 844-247-8839.

The T2 Protect AD study focuses on people already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. This study “tests Biohaven’s new investigational drug, troriluzole seeking to assess if the neuroprotectant can protect against, slow down or stop memory and thinking problems in people between ages 50 and 85 already diagnosed with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s.”(Forbes.com)

Each volunteer goes through screening, including memory and thinking tests, a physical exam, and EKG to determine if he/she is eligible for the trial. Eligible participants have a brain scan using MRI at the beginning and end of the study, and will visit the clinic 9 times during the 48-week trial. Half of the participants are given troriluzole (in pill form), and the other half are given a placebo that looks like troriluzole.

Researchers are aiming to reduce what would be a patient’s normal decline from Alzheimer’s by about 40%. Howard Feldman, M.D. says, “If the drug proves effective it could give patients a way to manage or lessen their symptoms even if a cure remains out of reach.”

To be eligible for the T2 study, participants must:

  • Be between the ages of 50 and 85
  • Be previously diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease
  • Have been treated with Alzheimer’s medication for at least 3 months
  • “Have a study partner who has regular contact with the clinical trial candidate and is able to attend study visits.”
  • Be willing to participate for 48 weeks.

For more information on participating in the T2 study, visit http://www.t2protect.org/ .

The Law Offices of David L. Hood: Representing Social Security Disability Applicants in South Carolina

At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we fight for the rights of the disabled. If you are considering a Social Security disability application or appeal, schedule a free consultation with us today at no risk to you. We handle all SSD cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we help you receive benefits.

You can easily contact us by filling out our quick and easy online contact form or by calling (843) 491-6025.

*Clients are not liable for any expenses, unless there is a recovery in their case; however, if there is a recovery in their case, clients will be liable for expenses. Attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery, which will be computed before deducting expenses.

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Social Security Disability Lawyer

Stem Cell Therapy: Safe and Effective for Relapsing MS

A recent study taking place in the US, UK, Sweden and Brazil proved Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HCST) to be a safe and effective treatment for people with a relapsing form of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). HSCT “is more effective at preventing disease progression compared to currently used disease-modifying therapies, according to the new study published…in JAMA.” (CNN)

110 patients who had relapsing-remitting MS participated in the clinical trial. Patients were randomly given either the HSCT treatment or another DMT (disease-modifying therapy), different from the classes they had previously used.

Only three out of 55 patients receiving HSCT showed progression after a year. However, 34 out of the 55 patients who received the DMT showed progression after a year.

In the HSCT group, 2% of patients had disease progression after two years, 5% after three years, and 10% after years 4 and 5.

By contrast, in the DMT patients, almost 25% showed progression of disease after one year, more than 50% after two years, and just under 75% at five years.

What is MS?

In MS, the immune system damages the brain and spinal cord. This happens “when myelin, a white fatty coating that insulates the body’s nerves, is mistakenly labeled as a foreign invader, [and is then] attacked, and stripped from the nervous system by the immune system. Without insulation, neurons lose their important ability to conduct electrical signals.”

The cause of this happening is unclear; but 2.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS.

Symptoms of MS:

  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling in face, body or extremities
  • Muscle weakness, and spasms
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Sexual problems
  • Pain
  • Emotional changes
  • Walking difficulties
  • Stiffness
  • Vision problems
  • Bladder and Bowel problems
  • Cognitive changes
  • Depression

What is HCST?

The purpose of HCST is to reboot and restore the immune system.

What is involved in the procedure?

Depending on the doctor and medical center, treatment protocols vary, but the general steps are the same:

  1. Chemotherapy is given for up to 10 days. “This stimulates production of bone marrow stem cells and promotes their release into the blood.”(National Multiple Sclerosis Society) Then blood is drawn and the stem cells in that blood are stored for later use.
  2. The patient is then hospitalized and given more powerful chemotherapy for up to 11 days, which kills the immune cells in the body.
  3. The stored stem cells are put into the bloodstream through a vein.
  4. An antibiotic is usually given to help combat infection.
  5. The immune system begins to rebuild itself. The patient will remain in the hospital for two to four weeks, possibly longer, depending on side effects experienced.

Who is eligible?

A patient must meet very specific medical criteria before being eligible for HSCT:

  • Must have evidence of new lesions (by MRI)
  • Required to have tried two different DMT’s which have failed to control the MS
  • “People with early progressive MS may be considered if there are still signs of active inflammation (either relapses or lesions on an MRI.” (National MS Society)

Benefits:

Clinical trials show HSCT can reduce relapses, especially for people with relapsing MS. Some patients have more stable or improved symptoms.

Patients who have progressive MS had encouraging results when treated early in their condition, when there was still evidence of inflammation. HSCT has also “been shown to slow clinical progression in a few people with early secondary progressive MS.”

Risks:

HCST is not FDA-approved, but is considered experimental. Because it a very aggressive treatment, HSCT comes with high risks and complications:

  • Increased, long-term risk of developing infections
  • Increased risk of developing cancer and autoimmune conditions
  • Early menopause
  • Fertility problems

Of course, the chemotherapy itself has side effects as well:

  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss

Also, patients who have a high level of disability before transplant may have more loss of mobility and worsened neurological function.

If you’re considering HSCT, talk to your neurologist to find out if it may be the right treatment for you.

The Law Offices of David L. Hood: Representing Social Security Disability Applicants in South Carolina

At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we fight for the rights of the disabled. If you are considering a Social Security disability application or appeal, schedule a free consultation with us today at no risk to you. We handle all SSD cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we help you receive benefits.

You can easily contact us by filling out our quick and easy online contact form or by calling (843) 491-6025.

*Clients are not liable for any expenses, unless there is a recovery in their case; however, if there is a recovery in their case, clients will be liable for expenses. Attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery, which will be computed before deducting expenses.

Other online resources used in this article:

https://www.cnn.com/2016/06/10/health/multiple-sclerosis-chemotherapy-stem-cell/index.html

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/new-stem-cell-treatment-for-ms-is-a-game-changer/

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Social Security Disability Lawyer

Warning of Social Security and Medicare Fraud Issued by SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning seniors for the fourth time this year about fraudulent communications targeting their Social Security and Medicare benefits.

“In the old days, a con man would be good-looking, suave, well-dressed, well-spoken and presented themselves real well. Those days are gone because it’s not necessary. The people committing these crimes are doing them from hundreds of miles away.” Frank Abagnale

In Don’t Be Misled by False Medicare or Social Security Ads, Jim Borland, acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications at the Social Security Administration said there’s a lot of information, online and elsewhere, and it can be hard to distinguish which sources are scams. Scammers prey on those who are searching for Social Security program and benefit information.

Advertisements using the words “Social Security” and/or “Medicare” can mislead people. Borland said, “Misleading Social Security and Medicare advertising is against the law. . . Individuals and non-government businesses. . . can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicare).”

There are also companies and individuals who charge for services that are provided through the SSA free of charge. Seniors need “to be on the lookout for these and other services that unscrupulous individuals or companies may offer for a fee, including obtaining:

  • A corrected Social Security card showing a person’s married name:
  • A Social Security card to replace a lost card;
  • A Social Security statement; and
  • A Social Security number for a child.” (Borland)

Anyone who has received misleading information about Social Security or Medicare, should send the entire ad, including the envelope, to:

Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline, Social Security Administration, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235.

Gale Stallworth Stone, the acting inspector general of the SSA, also warns about “ongoing SSA impersonation schemes following the SSA and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) receiving several reports of suspicious phone calls claiming to be from SSA.”

This scam started in October 2013, and has claimed over $29 million from its victims. This is another one of the many scams designed to deceive Social Security recipients. These fraudulent calls can come in in many forms. A few examples are:

  • An automated recording warning that if you don’t contact SSA (through the provided phone number) about illegal activity involving your Social Security Number (SSN), your assets will be frozen until the issue is resolved.
  • A caller claiming to be from “SSA headquarters”, attempting to get personal information from you (like your Social Security Number, date of birth, etc.).
  • A caller claiming to help you complete a disability application or some other form of SSA or Medicare paperwork.

Stone urges everyone to stay vigilant of impersonation schemes and to not be afraid to hang up.”

“The following are tips from the SSA about potentially fraudulent calls and how to look out for them:

Remember that you’re in control and that the SSA will never do any of the following:

  • Call you to demand an immediate payment;
  • Demand that you pay a debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe;
  • Require a specific means of payment, such as requiring you to pay with a prepaid debit card:
  • Ask you for your personal information or credit or debit card numbers over the phone: or
  • Threaten you with arrest or deportation.” (Forbes)

The SSA warns you not to provide any information in response to scam calls or emails. Instead you should:

Stone says, “It’s better to be safe than sorry. Be aware of suspicious calls from unknown sources, and when in doubt, contact the official entity to verify the legitimacy of the call.”

The Law Offices of David L. Hood: Representing Social Security Disability Applicants in South Carolina

At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we fight for the rights of the disabled. If you are considering a Social Security disability application or appeal, schedule a free consultation with us today at no risk to you. We handle all SSD cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we help you receive benefits.* You can easily contact us by filling out our quick and easy online contact form or by calling (843) 491-6025.

*Clients are not liable for any expenses, unless there is a recovery in their case; however, if there is a recovery in their case, clients will be liable for expenses. Attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery, which will be computed before deducting expenses

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Social Security Disability Lawyer

5 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for Your SSD Claim

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits provide an important safety net for hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens who can’t work due to serious injuries or illnesses. Unfortunately, the process involved in applying for those benefits can be a stressful and intimidating one — so much so that many people turn back before they even start.

Applying for SSD benefits doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, especially when you partner with an attorney like David L. Hood who has experience working with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and handling disability claims. In this article, we’ll explore several important reasons why hiring an experienced SSD attorney might be the right choice in your case.