Links for Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion

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There is more than meets the eye following even a mild traumatic brain injury. While the brain may appear to be intact, new findings reported in Nature suggest that the brain’s protective coverings may feel the brunt of the impact. Using a newly developed mouse trauma model, senior author Dorian McGavern, Ph.D., scientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, watched specific cells mount an immune response to the injury and try to prevent more widespread damage. Notably, additional findings suggest a similar immune response may occur in patients with mild head injury. In this study, researchers also discovered that certain molecules, when applied directly to the mouse skull, can bypass the brain’s protective barriers and enter the brain. The findings suggested that, in the mouse trauma model, one of those molecules may reduce effects of brain injury. Although concussions are common, not much is known about the effects of this type of damage. As part of this study, Lawrence Latour, Ph.D., a scientist from NINDS and the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, examined individuals who had recently suffered a concussion but whose initial scans did not reveal any physical damage to brain tissue. After administering a commonly used dye during MRI scans, Latour and his colleagues saw it leaking into the meninges, the outer covers of the brain, in 49 percent of 142 patients with concussion. To determine what happens following this mild type of injury, researchers in Dr. McGavern’s lab developed a new model of brain trauma in mice.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 19010 - Posted: 12.10.2013

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News The damage caused by concussion can be detected months after the injury and long after patients feel like they have recovered, brain scans show. Concussion has become highly controversial in sport, with concerns raised that players are putting their brain at risk. Researchers at the University of New Mexico said athletes may be being returned to action too quickly. While UK doctors said the attitude to head injury was "too relaxed" in sport. Debate over concussion and head injury has lead to resignations over new rules in rugby, controversy in football after a player was kept on the field after being knocked out, and has been a long-standing issue in American football. Concussion is an abnormal brain function that results from an external blast, jolt or impact to the head. Even if the knock does not result in a skull fracture, the brain can still experience a violent rattling that leads to injury. Because the brain is a soft gelatinous material surrounded by a rigid bony skull, such traumatic injuries can cause changes in brain function, such as bleeding, neuron damage and swelling. Research shows that repetitive concussions increase the risk of sustained memory loss, worsened concentration or prolonged headaches. Long-term The US study, published in the journal Neurology, compared the brains of 50 people who had mild concussion with 50 healthy people. BBC © 2013

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 18951 - Posted: 11.21.2013

The long-term impact of roadside bombings on the brains of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan is the focus of two research projects underway in Western Canada. "In recent years, encounters with improvised explosive devices or IEDs in Afghanistan have inflicted traumatic brain injury on a number of Canadian soldiers," said Dr. Robert Thirsk, a former Canadian astronaut who is now a vice-president with the Canadian Institute of Health Research. "The impact of these blasts may not be immediately apparent. Months after the event the soldiers can suffer from the neurological problems and the mental disorders like anxiety that we're reading about in the newspapers. These weapons may be improvised, but our response to them needs to be strategic." Dr. Yu Tian Wang of the Brain Research Center at the University of British Columbia is looking at the biological changes that occur in the brain at the cellular level following an injury by an explosive device. Wang is studying whether a drug can reduce the death and dysfunction of brain cells following injury. "We know that during traumatic brain injuries some synaptic connections become weakened and the information from one neuron to another is slowed down," Wang said. "Now we know the underlying reason is due to a particular memory surface protein being reduced." Wang said an injection of peptides could provide protection to brain cells before a blast and possibly help repair damage if given immediately after an explosion. © CBC 2013

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 18907 - Posted: 11.11.2013

A new report released today by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) may help dispel some common misconceptions about sport-related concussions in youth—for example, that wearing helmets can prevent them. First and foremost, however, it highlights the large gaps in knowledge that make it difficult for parents, coaches, and physicians to navigate decisions about prevention and treatment. The report also suggests where federal research agencies should focus their attention. The study, by a 17-member committee assembled by the Washington, D.C.-based IOM, which advises the government on health issues, comes amid growing concern about sports-related brain injuries. Although much of the attention has focused on adult professional athletes playing American football, health professionals have highlighted the need to understand risks among young athletes as well. To help clarify matters, a number of agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education, asked IOM to conduct its study. The most glaring obstacle to understanding youth concussion at this point is a lack of data, the report finds. Most published research on sports-related concussions has been conducted in adults, and “there’s little-to-no information about concussions in youth,” particularly for ages 5 to 21, says panel member Susan Margulies, a bioengineer at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s dangerous to assume that findings in adults can be mapped onto children, she says, because of the changes that occur during brain development. “It’s possible that the threshold for injury might be different across different age ranges.” © 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 18858 - Posted: 10.31.2013

By Ajai Raj Football has become notorious for the degeneration it causes in players' brains. Now a preliminary study of soccer players has found that frequently hitting the ball with the head may adversely affect brain structure and cognition. The study imaged the brains of 37 amateur soccer players, 21 to 44 years old, and found that players who reported “heading the ball” more frequently had microstructural changes in the white matter of their brains similar to those observed in patients with traumatic brain injury. These players also performed poorly on cognitive tests, compared with players who reported heading the ball less. The study, published online in June in Radiology, found evidence of a threshold—1,800 headings—above which the effects on memory begin to manifest. Neuroradiologist Michael Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, who led the study, says the findings may indicate that heading causes mild concussions, even when players do not show symptoms. The results are noteworthy but far from conclusive, comments Jonathan French, a neuropsychologist in the Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who was not involved in the study. “The majority of soccer players who are concussed don't have any functional problems in everyday life,” he says. The structural changes detected in the study, he points out, are "so microscopic that we don't know what they actually mean” for long-term function. Lipton agrees more work is needed to determine the significance of the brain changes, but he hopes to call attention to the potential risk because soccer is the most popular sport in the world. © 2013 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 18857 - Posted: 10.31.2013

by Hal Hodson American Football is a rough game, but the toll it takes on players' grey matter is only now becoming clear. For the first time, the number of head impacts on the playing field has been linked with cognitive problems and functional brain abnormalities in ex-footballers. Brain autopsies on retired National Football League (NFL) players have previously shown levels of damage that are higher than those in the general population. Now, this damage has been correlated with performance in tasks related to reasoning, problem solving and planning and highlights the worrying impact of repeated head trauma. To investigate the relationship between head trauma and cognitive damage, Adam Hampshire of Imperial College London, and his colleagues scanned the brains of 13 retired professional American football players and 60 people who had never played the sport, while they performed a series of cognitive tests in an fMRI machine. It wasn't an easy task: David Hubbard, who ran the tests at the Applied fMRI Institute in San Diego, California, says they initially had 15 ex-sportsmen, but two were too large to fit in the machine. The football players only showed modest deficits on the cognitive tasks, which included tests of planning, spatial awareness, memory and counting, however their brains had to work a lot harder to achieve the same results as the non-footballers. Regions of the frontal cortices that normally communicate with each other to handle reasoning and planning tasks were far less efficient in the footballers' brains. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 18812 - Posted: 10.19.2013

By Lenny Bernstein, Joanna Leigh describes her life in black and white, before and after. Before the Boston Marathon bombing, she says, she had “just embarked on a really beautiful future” with a new doctoral degree in international development and a career as a consultant. Today, she says, she can’t work or drive and often gets lost, sometimes on her own block. Her vision is blurry, her hearing is diminished and her ears ring constantly. She struggles to cook dinner, do her laundry, fill out a form. Mostly, she sleeps. The cause of her difficulties, according to the physician who examined her, was a traumatic brain injury on April 15. But because Leigh, 39, walked home that day after she was knocked unconscious by the second bomb and never went to a hospital, she received just $8,000 from the One Fund charity for survivors. She said her medical and other expenses have reached $70,000. She is applying for disability payments and food stamps. One Fund payouts to everyone except 16 amputees and the families of the four people who were killed were based on the number of nights spent in the hospital. A single night was worth $125,000; 32 nights qualified victims for $948,000. The 143 people who were treated as outpatients received $8,000 each. In coming days, Leigh and four other attack survivors will petition the One Fund to develop a new plan for distributing the millions of dollars in donations the charity has received since the first payout. They are seeking a formula that takes into account injuries that were slow to reveal themselves. © 1996-2013 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 18736 - Posted: 10.03.2013

By KEN BELSON Football players as young as 7 sustain hits to the head comparable in magnitude to those absorbed by high school and adult players, and most of the hits are sustained in practices, not games, according to research to be released Wednesday. The findings, which may influence how youth football organizations handle training methods and rules, were included in four studies published by researchers at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. The research, though limited, is considered by experts to be a step in the effort to address the relatively shallow understanding of the potential long-term effects of head trauma on young players. More than 25,000 football players from 8 to 19 years old are taken to emergency rooms seeking treatment for concussions every year, but most of the research on head injuries in football has focused on professional and college players. The new research, which was presented at the annual Biomedical Engineering Society conference this week, tracked about 120 players in Virginia and North Carolina from 7 to 18 over two seasons. Each young athlete wore six devices, known as accelerometers, in their helmets to measure the force, position and direction of the hits, and every practice and game was videotaped to determine how they occurred. To help determine any changes in brain structure and function, many of the players received magnetic resonance imaging brain scans before and after the season, and after they sustained a concussion. Some players also received magnetoencephalography scans, or MEG scans, to map their brain activity. © 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 18698 - Posted: 09.25.2013

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS The start this month of high school and college football seasons across the country renews concerns about the issue of repeated head impacts and how to manage or, preferably, avoid concussions. Unfortunately, the resources to deal with the problem remain limited. Newly released, state-of-the-art football helmets, for instance, may measure how much force each player’s head is absorbing and relay that data via telemetry to trainers on the sidelines, but at $1,500 or so per helmet, they are unattainable for most teams. Which is why a study published recently in The British Journal of Sports Medicine is so appealing. Eminently practical, it offers a means by which any team, no matter how small or cash-strapped, can assess the likelihood of one of its players having sustained an on-field concussion. It also celebrates a nifty, D.I.Y., MacGyver-ish sensibility rarely seen in our technology-obsessed times. The study’s authors began with the simple idea that, to manage sports-related concussions, “you need to be able to quickly and easily assess” whether a given player has actually sustained one, said Steven P. Broglio, director of the University of Michigan’s NeuroSport Research Laboratory and co-author of the study. Not every head impact results in a concussion. One means of assessing concussion status, Dr. Broglio continued, is to look at a player’s reaction time, since it is known to increase immediately after a concussion. A variety of scientifically validated tools exist to measure players’ reaction times, but most require a computer and sophisticated software, and are not practicable on the sidelines or in the budgets of many teams. Copyright 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 18512 - Posted: 08.15.2013

The author of a new six-step plan for Canadian doctors treating concussion patients warns that many people are unaware you don't need to hit your head to get a concussion. Dr. Charles Tator of the neurosurgery division at the University of Toronto wrote in Monday's Canadian Medical Association And for doctors and other trained health professionals in remote regions who have the responsibility for diagnosing concussions, Tator's primer summarizes how to detect and assess the injury. Concussions are the most common traumatic brain injury, often occurring during vehicle collisions, work activities, sports, recreation and falls in seniors. Females may be more prone to concussion than males, said Dr. Charles Tator.Females may be more prone to concussion than males, said Dr. Charles Tator. (CBC) It's now clear concussion can occur without direct impact to the head. For instance, a blow to the chest can cause a whiplash effect on the brain that jiggles the organ. Everyone who is involved in sports should be aware of the importance of recognizing concussions, he said. The most frequent symptoms are headache, dizziness, nausea and imbalance. Only one symptom is needed for the diagnosis. "The importance of accurate and timely recognition and management stems from the consequences of misdiagnosis or faulty management that can lead to major disability or death, in both the short and long term," Tator wrote. © CBC 2013

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 18397 - Posted: 07.23.2013

The prevalence of traumatic brain injuries such as concussions among students points to a silent epidemic that demands a wake-up call from parents, coaches and other adults, Canadian neurosurgeons and psychologists say. One in five students in grades 7 to 12 said they’d had a traumatic brain injury that left them unconscious for at least five minutes or required a hospital stay overnight after symptoms, researchers said in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers from St. Michael's Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto surveyed 8,915 students across Ontario in 2011 as part of one of the longest ongoing school surveys in the world. "It needs to be a wake-up call to say, look, young people are sustaining brain injuries at a very high rate,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital. "If we want to protect future generations, because our brain really defines how we are … not just as an individual, we need to do something collectively as a society to address this problem." Of the 464 students reporting a traumatic brain injury in the past 12 months, sports injuries accounted for more than half of the cases, 56 per cent, particularly for boys. Concussions that didn't lead to loss of consciousness or a hospital stay weren't included. © CBC 2013

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 18314 - Posted: 06.26.2013

By Nathan Seppa Soccer players who hit the ball with their head a lot don’t score as well on a memory test as players who head the ball less often, a new study finds. Frequent headers are also associated with abnormalities in the white matter of the brain, researchers report June 11 in Radiology. “These changes are subtle,” says Inga Koerte, a radiologist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “But you don’t need a concussive trauma to get changes in the microstructure of your brain.” While soccer players can get concussions from colliding with goal posts, the ground or each other, concussions are uncommon from heading the ball, even though it can move at 80 kilometers per hour, says coauthor Michael Lipton, a neuroradiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He and his colleagues took magnetic resonance imaging scans of 28 men and nine women who played amateur soccer. The players, with an average age of 31, tallied up their games and practice sessions in the previous year and estimated how many headers they had done in each. Most players headed the ball hundreds of times; some hit thousands of headers. The MRIs revealed brain abnormalities in some players, mainly in the white matter of three regions of the brain. White matter coats nerve fibers, and bundles of fibers cross and converge in the three regions. But the areas aren’t associated with a single function, Lipton says. Attention, memory, sensory inputs and visual and spatial functions could all be processed there. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2013

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 18266 - Posted: 06.13.2013

By Tara Haelle A long overdue and growing body of research on concussions is providing today’s young athletes, parents and coaches with more information about identifying and treating head injuries—but not all of that research is reliable. For instance, one new study on youth concussions offers valuable information about recovery time, whereas potentially flawed conclusions in a second new study illustrate one of the biggest challenges in studying youth concussions—missed diagnoses. An estimated 170,000 children go to the emergency room for concussions annually, but this number does not capture the millions treated outside of hospitals by athletic trainers, family doctors or specialists. The sports with the most reported concussions are boys’ football and girls’ soccer, but bicycling, basketball and playground activities are also among the most common ways children sustain these head injuries. Symptoms can include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headache and memory or concentration problems. After a concussion is identified, the primary treatment is physical and cognitive rest, although the amount of rest needed is not always medically clear. The first study, published June 10 in Pediatrics, found that recovery takes up to two or three times longer if a child has sustained one or more concussions within the past year, further supporting reasons “to be cautious about returning young athletes to sports after a concussion,” says lead author Matthew A. Eisenberg of Boston Children’s Hospital. Eisenberg’s study notes. © 2013 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 18252 - Posted: 06.10.2013

By BILL PENNINGTON BOSTON — The drumbeat of alarming stories linking concussions among football players and other athletes to brain disease has led to a new and mushrooming American phenomenon: the specialized youth sports concussion clinic, which one day may be as common as a mall at the edge of town. In the last three years, dozens of youth concussion clinics have opened in nearly 35 states — outpatient centers often connected to large hospitals that are now filled with young athletes complaining of headaches, amnesia, dizziness or problems concentrating. The proliferation of clinics, however, comes at a time when there is still no agreed-upon, established formula for treating the injuries. “It is inexact, a science in its infancy,” said Dr. Michael O’Brien of the sports concussion clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital. “We know much more than we once did, but there are lots of layers we still need to figure out.” Deep concern among parents about the effects of concussions is colliding with the imprecise understanding of the injury. To families whose anxiety has been stoked by reports of former N.F.L. players with degenerative brain disease, the new facilities are seen as the most expert care available. That has parents parading to the clinic waiting rooms. The trend is playing out vividly in Boston, where the phone hardly stops ringing at the youth sports concussion clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Parents call saying, ‘I saw a scary report about concussions on Oprah or on the ‘Doctors’ show or Katie Couric’s show,’ ” Dr. Barbara Semakula said, describing a typical day at the clinic. “Their child just hurt his head, and they’ve already leapt to the worst possible scenarios. It’s a little bit of a frenzy out there.” © 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 18121 - Posted: 05.06.2013

Coaches should pull athletes with a suspected head injury immediately until a health professional trained in concussions checks them out, according to new medical guidelines. The American Academy of Neurology updated its guidelines on Monday for evaluating and managing athletes with concussion. It’s the group's first update since 1997. Demonstration of a test with patients that have suffered concussions. It's likely that concussion risk is greater for female athletes playing soccer, according to new guidelines.Demonstration of a test with patients that have suffered concussions. It's likely that concussion risk is greater for female athletes playing soccer, according to new guidelines. (Keith Srakocic/Associated Press) "If in doubt, sit it out," said Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher with the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and a member of the academy, in a release. "Being seen by a trained professional is extremely important after a concussion. If headaches or other symptoms return with the start of exercise, stop the activity and consult a doctor. You only get one brain; treat it well." Players should return to the rink, field or pitch slowly and only after acute signs and symptoms, such as headache, sensitivity to light and sound or changes in memory and judgment, are gone. For ice hockey, the guidelines said bodychecking is likely to increase the risk of sport-related concussion. In peewee hockey, bodychecking is likely to be a risk factor for a more severe concussion that prolongs the return to play. © CBC 2013

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 17917 - Posted: 03.19.2013

By JEFF Z. KLEIN For the last two seasons, concussions and hits to the head were frequent talking points in the N.H.L., with the Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby serving as the catalyst. As the lockout dragged on for more than four months, though, the conversation shifted from player safety to revenue percentages and competitive balance. The first few weeks of the shortened 48-game season passed without much talk of concussions. But in the past two weeks, 11 N.H.L. players are believed to have sustained them, among them Crosby’s teammate and the reigning most valuable player, Evgeni Malkin, thrusting the issue of head injuries back into the spotlight. Concussions continue to plague the league, despite its increased emphasis on reducing them. For the second season, the N.H.L. is playing under its broadened version of Rule 48, which penalizes hits that target an opponent’s head or make the head the principal point of contact. But many of the recent injuries, including Malkin’s, were not caused by hits deemed worthy of fines or suspensions. Last season, according to CBC network estimates, about 90 players missed games because of concussions, about 13 percent of N.H.L. players on active rosters on a given night. Crosby missed 60 games while recovering from a concussion he sustained in the 2011 Winter Classic. Malkin, who has 4 goals and 17 assists in 18 games this season, received a concussion diagnosis Sunday, two days after he fell awkwardly into the end boards following a routine shove from Florida’s Erik Gudbranson. Malkin slid back-first into the boards, causing his head to snap sharply backward and strike the boards. © 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 17855 - Posted: 02.27.2013

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS Recently, researchers from the department of sport science at the University of Innsbruck in Austria stood on the slopes at a local ski resort and trained a radar gun on a group of about 500 skiers and snowboarders, each of whom had completed a lengthy personality questionnaire about whether he or she tended to be cautious or a risk taker. The researchers had asked their volunteers to wear their normal ski gear and schuss or ride down the slopes at their preferred speed. Although they hadn’t informed the volunteers, their primary aim was to determine whether wearing a helmet increased people’s willingness to take risks, in which case helmets could actually decrease safety on the slopes. What they found was reassuring. To many of us who hit the slopes with, in my case, literal regularity — I’m an ungainly novice snowboarder — the value of wearing a helmet can seem self-evident. They protect your head from severe injury. During the Big Air finals at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., this past weekend, for instance, 23-year-old Icelandic snowboarder Halldor Helgason over-rotated on a triple back flip, landed head-first on the snow, and was briefly knocked unconscious. But like the other competitors he was wearing a helmet, and didn’t fracture his skull. Indeed, studies have concluded that helmets reduce the risk of a serious head injury by as much as 60 percent. But a surprising number of safety experts and snowsport enthusiasts remain unconvinced that helmets reduce overall injury risk. Why? A telling 2009 survey of ski patrollers from across the country found that 77 percent did not wear helmets because they worried that the headgear could reduce their peripheral vision, hearing and response times, making them slower and clumsier. In addition, many worried that if they wore helmets, less-adept skiers and snowboarders might do likewise, feel invulnerable and engage in riskier behavior on the slopes. Copyright 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 17739 - Posted: 01.30.2013

By BENJAMIN HOFFMAN NEW ORLEANS — It has become a staple of Super Bowl week, as much a part of the pregame to the N.F.L.’s biggest event as the annual media day: a discussion of how football is being affected by head injuries and the mounting evidence that long-term brain damage can be linked to injuries sustained on the field. Years ago, players rarely spoke about the issue and league officials dismissed suggestions that on-field injuries could lead to life-altering health problems. Now, however, the league is facing lawsuits from thousands of former players, rules are being instituted in an attempt to diminish injuries on the field and even President Obama has said that the way football is played will have to change. This week, Bernard Pollard, a hard-hitting safety for the Baltimore Ravens, created a stir by saying that the N.F.L. would not exist in 30 years because of the rules changes designed with safety in mind, but that he also believed there would be a death on the field at some point. At media day Tuesday, players reacted to the comments made by Pollard and Obama, with some agreeing with Pollard that recent rules changes would change the sport to such an extent that it would be less entertaining and lead to a loss of popularity. Pollard stood by his comments. He added, however, that while he was comfortable with the physical risk he was taking by playing football, he was not sure he would want future generations, including his 4-year-old son, to follow his example. “My whole stance right now is that I don’t want him to play football,” Pollard said. “Football has been good to me. It has been my outlet. God has blessed me with a tremendous talent to be able to play this game. But we want our kids to have things better than us.” He said he did not want his son to go through the aches and pains caused by the physicality of the game. © 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 17738 - Posted: 01.30.2013

By Lisa Flam A New Hampshire toddler who suffered a nightmarish injury when a pencil impaled her eye and became lodged in her head was saved by a remarkable turn of good fortune: The pencil that penetrated deep into her brain took a near-perfect path that left her virtually unscathed. The girl, 20-month-old Olivia Smith, survived not only the pencil’s pushing through her brain, but also its painstaking and dangerous, yet flawless removal at Boston Children’s Hospital, where the pencil was slowly pulled out by hand earlier this month. “It’s beyond belief how lucky she was,” said one of her doctors, Dr. Darren Orbach. “Her prognosis is great. I would expect her to be a normal kid at this point.” Olivia’s improbable tale began on Jan. 6, when she was coloring at home in New Boston, N.H., lost her balance and fell onto the pencil, said Orbach, chief of interventional and neurointerventional radiology at Children’s. When her mother picked her up to comfort her, she saw a small piece of the orange colored pencil sticking out from her right eye. “I thought the pencil had broken or something,” Olivia’s mother, Susie Smith, told NBC affiliate WHDH. “I thought there was no way that whole pencil was through her head.” © 2013 NBCNews.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 17726 - Posted: 01.29.2013

By BRETT MICHAEL DYKES JEFFERSON, La. — “He liked to hit people,” Carlene Dempsey said flatly. “He didn’t care if he got his bell rung.” She was referring to her Falstaffian husband, Tom Dempsey, the former N.F.L. kicker born without toes on his right foot who in November 1970 — after a long night of drinking and debauchery in the French Quarter of New Orleans — set the league record for the longest field goal in a regular-season game. The 63-yard kick lifted the New Orleans Saints to a 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions, and in the process helped transform Dempsey into a folk hero in the city hosting the Super Bowl on Sunday, the rare Saints player to hold a prominent N.F.L. record before the Sean Payton era. Now 66, Dempsey sat recently with his wife at the dining room table in the modest 1,500-square-foot home they share with their daughter, Ashley, and their grandson, Dylan, in this New Orleans suburb. It quickly became apparent that when reflecting upon his football career, Dempsey seemed to take more delight discussing the hits he had delivered than the kicks he had made. He wistfully recalled how, in high school and college, if his coaches wanted someone on the opposing team knocked out, they usually called on him to deliver a teeth-rattling hit. And his eyes twinkled with glee when he talked about how the coaches he played for over the course of his 10-year N.F.L. career with the Saints, the Eagles, the Rams, the Oilers and the Bills would sometimes call on him to be the wedge buster — football’s version of a kamikaze pilot — on kickoffs. “I would hit anybody,” Dempsey boasted, echoing the sentiment of Carlene, his wife of more than 40 years. “I didn’t care.” © 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 17721 - Posted: 01.28.2013