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How A Man Was Able To Survive A Knife Through His Brain
The Huffington Post / August 19, 2014

A man in the Sichuan province of China recently survived being hit by a knife that fell from an eighth-floor balcony and pierced his skull, according to news reports.

Falling knives are, of course, pretty rare, but cases of people surviving severe head injuries aren't, Temes told Live Science. However, Temes noted that it's important not to equate surviving a head injury with walking away from such an incident unscathed. 

Abbott wins $19.5 million contract to develop brain injury test
Chicago Tribune / August 19, 2014

Abbott Laboratories and the Defense Department on Monday said they have agreed to a multiyear collaboration to develop portable blood tests to help evaluate concussions and other head injuries.

Lake County-based Abbott will receive $19.5 million over the next two years to formulate the tests, which will be performed on its handheld diagnostic system called i-Stat. The U.S. military already uses the device for other purposes.

The man with the missing brain
The Telegraph / August 18, 2014

A medical recovery that is baffling science — and giving hope to head injury patients.

App developers hope to help veterans battling mental health issues
Los Angeles Times / August 18, 2014

POS REP, short for Position Report, is a free iPhone app designed to help military veterans who are in distress or need help adjusting to civilian life.

With military and veterans' suicides near record levels in recent years, the app is designed to help vets find one another, as well as nearby health centers, emergency care and other critical services. 

NFL seeks right answer for marijuana use
The Washington Post / August 15, 2014

Marijuana is casting an ever-thickening haze across NFL locker rooms, and it’s not simply because more players are using it.

As attitudes toward the drug soften, and science slowly teases out marijuana’s possible benefits for concussions and other injuries, the NFL is reaching a critical point in navigating its tenuous relationship with what is recognized as the analgesic of choice for many of its players.

Arlington buys safer helmets for high school football players
The Washington Post / August 15, 2014

Arlington County's high school football players will have new helmets this year, purchased to mitigate the risk of head injuries and concussions.

Officials announced the new helmets in a letter to parents this week, and said they are part of a “comprehensive concussion management plan” the district has adopted.

The 10 Best Apps To Train Your Brain
The Huffington Post / August 14, 2014

Whether it's to focus at work, do better at school or just stay sharp, there are various reasons for wanting to boost brainpower. But maintaining psychological well-being is equally as important.

Scientists Create a 3-D Model That Mimics Brain Function
The New York Times / August 12, 2014

A doughnut created in a lab and made of silk on the outside and collagen gel where the jelly ought to be can mimic a basic function of brain tissue, scientists have found.

Bioengineers produced a kind of rudimentary gray matter and white matter in a dish, along with rat neurons that signaled one another across the doughnut’s center. When the scientists dropped weights on the material to simulate traumatic injury, the neurons in the three-dimensional brain model emitted chemical and electrical signals similar to those in the brains of injured animals.

Loudoun Valley football parents fight for helmet sensors, but administrators decline
The Washington Post / August 12, 2014

Amid widespread debate about head trauma and the safety of playing football, parents of the athletes at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Va., were thrilled when a Bethesda, Md., company offered to place impact sensors on team helmets. A light would turn on when a helmet took a big hit, an indicator that trainers should check for a concussion.

But Loudoun County school officials declined the offer, saying that the sensors lacked sufficient testing and that the one-ounce devices could void the helmets’ safety certification.

Boxing officials defend decision on no headgear
The Washington Post / August 11, 2014

Boxing officials defended a decision to stop using headgear for male competitors at the Commonwealth Games, saying there had been no concussions at the competition up to Saturday’s medal rounds.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) decided to stop using headgear in events such as the Commonwealth Games last year, citing medical statistics showing the protective padding can cause jarring to boxers’ heads and contribute to brain damage.

Conflicts arise in sports-related concussions fight
The Boston Globe / August 11, 2014

The pitchman at the podium, Chris Nowinski, is a former Harvard football player and professional wrestler (ring name: Chris Harvard) who believes he took too many dangerous hits to the head and decided to do something about it.

Now, as mounting concern over head injuries has spawned a financial boom in the concussion-prevention industry, Nowinski has teamed with his mentor, Dr. Robert Cantu, to take an unusual step. They have launched a product-certification venture through their nonprofit Boston University-affiliated institute to test the efficacy of commercial sensors designed to monitor head impacts.

Marlins pitcher Dan Jennings hospitalized after being hit by line drive
The Los Angeles Times / August 8, 2014

In another scary moment on the mound, Miami Marlins pitcher Dan Jennings was hit square on the side of his head by a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh's Jordy Mercer during a game Thursday night.

Jennings immediately dropped to the ground and spun around before getting up and staring blankly toward third base. The game was immediately stopped in the seventh inning as players and medical staff rushed to Jennings' side.

John Madden: Kids start playing football in helmets too young
The Washington Post / August 7, 2014

When it comes to youngsters putting on helmets and playing tackle football, John Madden has a strong opinion: He’s adamantly against it.

Premier League Adopts Stricter Concussion Protocol
The New York Times / August 6, 2014

The debate about how to best handle head injuries in soccer became even more inflamed in the aftermath of this summer’s World Cup, when fans witnessed multiple incidents in which players clearly sustained serious blows to the head yet quickly returned to the field. Now, as the top domestic leagues in Europe are set to begin their new seasons, England’s Premier League has announced changes to its in-game injury protocols.

Making an 'ImPACT': USAFA works to mitigate concussions
USAFA / August 5, 2014

More than 250,000 student athletes visit the emergency room every year with head injuries, and tens of thousands of service members are coping with brain injuries from concussions suffered in the line of duty. Both those groups will benefit from a $30 million collaborative study between the NCAA and the Defense Department designed to enhance safety for athletes and military personnel. The study is in line with other Air Force Academy efforts to mitigate head injuries. For the first time, the Academy has provided all incoming freshmen with concussion baseline testing.

Taking a Bullet, Gaining a Cause: James S. Brady Dies at 73
New York Times / August 5, 2014

James S. Brady, the White House press secretary who was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Regan and then became a symbol of the fight for gun control, championing tighter regulations from his wheelchair, died on Monday in Alexandria, Va. He was 73.

Nascar Drivers Have Little Help with Concussions
The New York Times / August 4, 2014

Talladega Superspeedway is known on the Nascar circuit for high speeds, packs of cars racing inches apart and spectacular multicar wrecks that fans love and drivers endure. A crash occurs during almost every race at Talladega, a huge Alabama oval, like the one in the final laps of a Nationwide Series event there in May 2012. Eric McClure was driving the No. 14 Toyota that day and was among those involved in the crash. As McClure’s car hurtled about 185 miles an hour toward the infield wall, he knew he was in trouble. His brakes had failed.

NCAA Concussion Testing Earns $70M Fund; Athletes Who Have Suffered TBI Will Not Be Compensated
Medical Daily / July 31, 2014

On Tuesday, the NCAA settled a class-action head injury lawsuit by agreeing to a $70 million fund that will cover neurological testing costs for current and former collegiate athletes who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury while competing in a contact sport. Although the fund will not be used to compensate athletes who have suffered a brain injury, they will be able to use the results of concussion testing to file a suit individually for damages. “We have been and will continue to be committed to student-athlete safety, which is one of the NCAA’s foundational principles,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said in a statement. “Medical knowledge of concussions will continue to grow, and consensus about diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions by the medical community will continue to evolve. This agreement’s proactive measures will ensure student-athletes have access to high quality medical care by physicians with experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of concussions.”

Hounds Help Veteran Heal
Crowley Star News / July 31, 2014

Sometimes, medication does not come in the form of a pill. At Hounds Helping Heroes Heal (H4), a Rendon non-profit which trains service dogs for disabled American veterans, healing comes complete with paws and wagging tail. "The connections these veterans make with their dogs is amazing," said Susan Herbert, the president and co-founder of H4 Ranch. "Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Traumatic Brain Injury may still have both arms and legs, but their wound is on the inside. They are reclusive and isolate themselves. Our goal is to reintegrate them back into society so they can't hide in their room anymore."

Dear NFL: Put Your Money Where All the Concussions Are
The Huffington Post / July 30, 2014

For the past several years, the National Football League has increased its focus on head injury and concussions suffered by players. Related: The NFL donated $30 million to the National Institutes of Health to advance an understanding of head and traumatic brain injury and concussion management and treatment. There is no question that scientific investigations related to concussions and head and brain injury among current and aspiring NFL players should occur. But there is another largely ignored population within the NFL suffering head injury, concussions and related trauma: the wives, girlfriends and partners of NFL players. According to recent data, 21 of 32 NFL teams employed a player with a domestic or sexual violence charge on their record last year.

Deal Reached to Extend Program for Brain-Damaged Vets
The Wall Street Journal / July 29, 2014

Congressional negotiators agreed Monday to extend a government program that funds assisted-living homes for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries, including dozens of troops wounded by roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The accord, tucked into a larger bill to address health-care and management scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs, constitutes a last-minute move to prevent the eviction of dozens of brain-damaged veterans from private rehabilitation facilities around the country. “Veterans who are receiving treatment for traumatic brain injury can have a greater peace of mind knowing that the program will be extended,” Rep. Bill Cassidy (R., La.), one of the sponsors of the extension, said in a written announcement.

Akron Children's Hospital to Broadcast Concussion Conference Worldwide
Akron Beacon Journal / July 28, 2014

National experts will offer concussion training to doctors, athletic trainers, coaches, parents and others worldwide during a virtual conference broadcast live from Akron Children’s Hospital. The daylong, interactive online event, “Bridging the Gap in Concussion Treatment,” will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through www.globalcastmd.com. “You can order this on your computer and you can see it from anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Joe Congeni, co-director of the Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital and a director of the online event.

IBM'S Watson Will Help Veterans Prepare for Post-Military Life
Mashable / July 23, 2014

From Jeopardy contestant and customer-service agent to master chef, IBM's Watson supercomputer has taken on a number of roles in the past few years. Now, IBM is partnering with United Services Automobile Association to put the world's most famous supercomputer to a new use: helping members of the military prepare for civilian life. USAA, which provides financial services to military personnel and their families, is rolling out "Ask Watson," an online tool that will help members get answers to questions about how they can prepare for life outside the military.

Protecting Athletes: Concussion
WAMU, American University Radio / July 23, 2014

Conversations about protecting athletes from concussions more often than not focus solely on football. But several incidents at this summer's World Cup triggered questions about what FIFA, soccer's governing body, does to keep players safe. Kojo Nnamdi explores the emerging science and policies behind debates about concussions and professional and amateur sports

Spartan Hockey Helmets Going Under Microscope
The New York Times / July 23, 2014

Hockey helmets may be on the verge of a radical makeover, as scientists and engineers at Virginia Tech prepare a rating system that measures each brand’s and model’s ability to reduce the risk of concussion. “After football, hockey is the sport that produces the highest rate of concussion,” said Dr. Stefan M. Duma, a Virginia Tech professor and the head of the university’s biomedical engineering department. “We want to produce a mechanism to try and reduce that risk of concussion.” That mechanism is a five-point rating scale called the STAR system, which the Virginia Tech football team began applying to its helmets in 2011. While there is still disagreement on whether concussions can be reduced by improving helmets, the football rating system quickly became influential, leading manufacturers to substantially increase internal padding. Sales for five-star football helmets have soared, and those for low-rated helmets plunged.

For Retirees, Decision on Concussion Settlement Will Not Be a Simple One
The New York Times / July 23, 2014

Class-action settlements are often messy. When enough aggrieved people are thrown together, it is natural that some of them will be unhappy with a deal that is a result of a negotiation between parties trying to avoid a long, expensive trial with an uncertain outcome. The proposed settlement in the case brought by more than 4,500 retired N.F.L. players who claim the league hid from them the dangers of concussions is similar. Asking 10 retired players what they think of the settlement might elicit 10 opinions. In the coming weeks, though, the 20,000 retired players and their beneficiaries will have to make a final decision to accept the proposed deal, which includes an unlimited number of cash awards for a small set of severe neurological conditions; to opt out and perhaps sue the league for more; or to object and possibly appeal the settlement.

Dysfunctional Congress Prepares to Claim Another Victim: Injured Veterans
The Daily Beast / July 23, 2014

Come September, recovering veterans in at least 20 states could be booted from a pilot program for traumatic brain injury—not because of personal medical progress, but because of the nation’s lawmakers. Despite bipartisan support, Congress has not been able to pass an extension of the rehabilitation program. Since last fall, the extension has been attached to several pieces of veterans legislation, which failed after lawmakers were unable to agree on military and VA reforms. “If we don’t extend it, veterans…across the country will be ejected from the care they’re going to be getting, which would constitute, in my mind, a premature discharge,” said Susan Connors, the president of the Brain Injury Association of America. “Families feel like this has been a lifeline.”

It’s Not Just Trauma to the Head: Minor Accidents Can Lead to Brain Damage Too, Affecting Memory and Thinking
Medical Daily / July 21, 2014

If you’re clumsy or uncoordinated, you might want to make sure that next time you’re wearing a helmet when riding a bike, or paying attention instead of texting while walking down the street. A new study has found that even minor head injuries can cause some form of brain damage that might affect memory and thinking. Researchers out of Newcastle University examined 53 people who had mild or moderate head injuries and compared them to 33 people who had no injuries. The scientists used a type of MRI scan called diffusion tensor imaging scans, which could detect brain cell damage and also map fiber tracts. Memory and thinking skills were 25 percent lower in the first group, possibly linked to nerve fiber disruptions in the brain, the researchers found. “Most of the studies thus far have focused on people with severe and chronic traumatic brain injury. We studied patients who had suffered clinically mild injuries often from common accidents such as falling from a bicycle, or slow speed car accidents,” said Dr. Andrew Blamire, lead author of the study, according to PsychCentral. “This finding is especially important, as 90 percent of all traumatic brain injuries are mild to moderate.”


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