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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

How diabetes can lead to disability

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, but those who are not living with the disease may not understand what it is, and why it is so dangerous. In today’s post, we will provide a brief overview of diabetes, and why many patients eventually become unable to work because of it.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, diabetes mellitus is an umbrella term for a group of diseases affecting how your body absorbs glucose, or blood sugar. Glucose is a source of energy, but diabetes causes glucose to build up in your body, potentially causing serious health problems.

Rural Missourians often have little access to mental health care

Getting access to mental health care can be a challenge for anyone who needs it, but this is especially the case for people in rural parts of Missouri. And you do not have travel far away from a city to run into an area with a small handful of professionals providing mental health services to the local population.

For example, KWMU-FM recently compared the numbers of providers in Warren, Franklin and Jefferson counties versus in St. Louis City. While the St. Louis has 789 psychiatrists, counselors and therapists in a city of about 318,400, Jefferson County has 221,400 residents but just 150 mental health providers. Franklin County has 85 providers for 101,800 residents, and in Warren County, there are just 11 providers for its population of 33,000.

Are my SSD benefits taxable income?

April 15 is just around the corner. Hopefully, all of our readers have filed their income tax returns with the IRS, are ready to file now, or have filed for an extension if necessary.

The IRS considers many sources of funds as taxable income -- including most benefits provided by the Social Security Administration. This could have serious tax implications for households that receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). However, Supplemental Security Income payments, which are need-based disability benefits, are not taxed, according to the IRS.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects young women more than men

Memories of your grandparents from your childhood may lead you to conclude that arthritis is primarily a condition for older, retired people. But at least one form of the disease can affect people as young as 30.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disorder that affects nearly 1.5 million people in the United States. It can cause pain, joint stiffness, swollen joints and fatigue. Symptoms can change from day to day, with flare-ups often lasting days or even months. RA often affects people symmetrically; if a joint on one side of the body is affected, usually its corresponding joint on the other side is also.

Man born without cerebellum taught his brain to do without

Though much about the human brain remains mysterious, medical experts know that the effects of a brain injury can depend on which part of the brain is damaged. Different regions of the brain perform different functions, so an injury to a particular part of this vital organ can affect you differently than a blow to another region.

Instead of a brain injury, some people are born with brains that are different from the norm. Some of them have profound mental disabilities. Others are able to function, after their brains adapt in interesting ways.

'Invisible' disabilities often lead to misunderstandings

Have you ever met someone who appeared to be healthy, but later hear that he or she is disabled? Many conditions do not require the use of a wheelchair or cane. They do not cause obvious physical limitations, like cerebral palsy or ALS might. But they still significantly affect the person’s life, and may make earning an income through work impossible.

Conditions like fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease can be painful, exhausting and limiting. But some people see a disabled person use a disabled parking spot and judge the person because they do not see signs of a more “obvious” condition. Or when a person with an “invisible” disability asks for reasonable accommodations, employers, classmates or others may assume the disabled person is asking for special treatment.

Are there 8 forms of schizophrenia?

If a new international study is correct, schizophrenia is not a disease -- it’s a term for eight distinct illnesses.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, working with colleagues at the University of Granada in Spain, have published this conclusion in the American Journal of Psychiarty. They say that their investigation into the role of genetics in schizophrenia led them to believe that there are eight types of this mental illness.

'Breaking Bad's' RJ Mitte discusses disability in Columbia

University of Missouri students who attended a recent lecture by actor RJ Mitte recently may have expected a lot of talk about “Breaking Bad,” the hit television drama that Mitte starred in. What they got instead was an education about Mitte’s experience growing up with a disability.

As fans know, Mitte played Walter White Jr. on the show, which ran for five seasons and ended in 2013. Like his character, Mitte has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that can affect body movement, speech, sensation and depth perception.

Other signs, besides sadness, that you have depression

Someone suffering from depression is very sad, hopeless and withdrawn from their old interests. At least, that is what most of us think of when we imagine depression.

But as those who are living with depression and their loved ones know, there are other possible signs of this form of mental illness. Prolonged sadness may be the most well-known symptom, but depression often causes other symptoms and behaviors.

Are cancer drug trials accurately capturing side effect severity?

Cancer drugs can have some rather major side effects. A recent study indicates that the side effects of new cancer drugs may be even more severe than their clinical trials indicate, if such trials relied largely on doctor reports to track side effect severity. This is because the study found that doctor reports in clinical trials tend to under-report side effects as compared to the reports of the patients in such trials.

The study focused on 1,090 patients of three cancer drug clinical trials. The study looked at what the patients themselves reported having experienced in the way of side effects during the trials and compared it to what doctors in the trials reported regarding patient side effects. The study particularly looked at what was reported regarding six common side effects of chemotherapy drugs: hair loss, appetite loss, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting. The study found that for all six of these side effect classes, the doctors reported significantly lower occurrence rates than the patients did.

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