News & Headlines

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CNN | May 23, 2019

Ashley Massaro, former WWE wrestler and Survivor: China contestant, died Thursday in her home of an apparent suicide. The 39-year-old former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star has suffered from depression for years and may have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Ashley's brain could offer key insights into CTE and other neurological effects from wrestling. "It was her desire to donate her brain to be studied," her lawyer Konstantine Kyros said in a statement to CNN.

NPR | May 21, 2019
Outside of military contexts, many therapists aren't familiar with two key treatment options for trauma recommended by the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Conversation | May 21, 2019
Concussion is a temporary disturbance in brain function following an impact to the head. It can also occur after a blow to the body, if the force is transmitted to the head. Most people with concussions recover relatively quickly. But sometimes symptoms continue beyond a couple of weeks. When symptoms persist beyond three months, the person may be diagnosed as having persistent post-concussion symptoms.
CNN | May 21, 2019

In 2002, at just 59, former British footballer Jeff Astle choked to death. He'd been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease before his death. But 12 years later, Dr. Willie Stewart, a neurosurgeon, concluded that Astle had actually been suffering from the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from repeatedly heading footballs. "Unless you've seen it and lived it, it's so difficult to try and describe it," Dawn Astle told CNN Sport, as she remembered looking after her father Jeff and coping with his deteriorating health. "It was just the most brutal, brutal thing I've ever seen in my life."

The Advocate | May 20, 2019
"The problem with CTE is people don't have an understanding of what's going on," Corey Widmer said. "You're trying to figure out why, why, why, why … because you're so desperate and you're willing to look under every rock. And then you find something like this under one of those rocks." Widmer absorbs the scene and shifts to a more somber tone as he reflects on his ongoing battle with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the horse sanctuary that has become a sanctuary for an old football war horse, and a 100-year vision that has given him laser focus because that, he says, is "how you kick CTE's ass."
U.S. News & World Report | May 20, 2019
Some of the most frequently asked questions when I'm evaluating and treating an athlete with concussion are: "How long before I can return to play?" and "Do you think I'll be ready for the next game/tournament?" The most accurate response to the common questions is, "We'll have to see how things go." That can be frustrating for patients, athletes, parents, trainers, coaches, teammates – and their physicians. So, insight into a clearer path for the anticipated resolution of concussion symptoms can be a huge benefit to patients and the sports medicine community.
WUWM 89.7 | May 20, 2019
Dr. Shaili Jain has worked a great deal in the area of trauma and PTSD. Jain is a psychiatrist and PTSD specialist. She’s now in California with the Stanford University School of Medicine, but she began her professional career in Milwaukee more than a decade ago. Her work in both places informs her new book, The Unspeakable Mind. The book weaves in stories and clinical studies from Jain’s professional career in both Milwaukee and California. It also examines issues in PTSD research including the use of medication and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and the controversy over medical marijuana’s potential.
ESPN | May 20, 2019
Retired NFL players seeking testing as part of a $1 billion concussion settlement must see a doctor close to home to prevent fraud and "doctor shopping," the federal judge overseeing the case ruled Friday. The new rule will require most former players to see a doctor within 150 miles or a neurologist within 200 miles. Lawyers for the retirees say that in many parts of the country, there aren't enough neurologists taking part in the program. And some clients hope to see subspecialists to deal with their particular medical issues.
PBS NewsHour | May 17, 2019
A Pentagon-funded study has found that a specific form of computer-based brain training can improve cognitive performance in vets who suffered persistent mental deficits after a mild traumatic brain injury.
NJTV News | May 17, 2019
About two and a half years ago, Joseph Hartman overdosed on cocaine. Dr. Brian Greenwald says that's when Hartman's brain likely suffered the trauma that sent him to JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in December 2016. Greenwald, who serves as medical director of the Center for Head Injuries at the institute, says he's seeing an increase of patients who survive an opioid overdose but suffer brain trauma because of a lack of oxygen to the brain during that overdose.
The New York Times | May 17, 2019
Scientists are racing to treat brain disabilities with electrical stimulation. Predicting where all these efforts are headed, and how and when they might converge in a grand methodology, is an exercise in rank speculation. Neuro-stimulation covers too many different techniques, for various applications and of varying quality. Here's a metaphor to help make sense of the progress.
The Philadelphia Inquirer | May 17, 2019
"You name it, I couldn't do it," said Alan Segal. "Couldn't walk, couldn't read, couldn't write, had zero hand-eye coordination. And the whole time, I was fully awake and aware. It was the single most frustrating experience of my life." Segal bludgeoned his way back to the life he wanted through sheer force of will, wielding an upright bass the entire way.
CBS Evening News | May 17, 2019
Dr. Louis French, who studies traumatic brain injury at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and his team are testing a computerized brain training program to see if it could be part of a comprehensive treatment program for those with TBI. Eighty three service members and veterans diagnosed with TBI and cognitive impairment did five hours a week of either a program called BrainHQ or computer games. Preliminary results were presented at a conference Thursday.
Los Altos Town Crier (CA) | May 16, 2019
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year, Mental Health of America (MHA) is emphasizing a whole-body approach to mental health. One aspect of whole-body mental health is the relationship between head injuries and suicidal behavior, which has been studied for some time. Researchers at the Suicide Prevention Center in Denmark have conducted a 10-year study and found the incidence of suicidal behavior increases by 75% following head injury. New research reported in the Journal of Affective Disorders revealed that the impact is significantly higher for teenagers and young adults.
ASU Now | May 16, 2019
A team of Arizona State University social scientists spent three years researching the behaviors of college athletes when it comes to reporting concussion symptoms. Researchers found the student-athletes either suppress or totally deny feeling these symptoms so that they can keep playing. “What we are trying to do is change that behavior,” Adame said. “The whole process is dependent on communication from the athlete. There are a couple of tests that help with the diagnosis of a concussion, like dizziness and cognitive indicators, but ultimately it relies on the athletes to say how they are feeling.” The first paper from the project is now available in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
The Philadelphia Inquirer | May 14, 2019
A new study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention and the CDC found that one in six children ages 5 to 15 who got a concussion will experience a repeat concussion within two years. The study, published today in the Journal of Pediatrics, also found that risk of repeat injury among the oldest kids was almost twice as high as the risk for 9- to 11-year-old children, possibly because of more involvement in sports and other activities.
Yale News | May 14, 2019
The risk of suicide among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is much higher than the general population, but identifying those individuals at greatest risk has been difficult. However, a team at Yale has discovered a biological marker linked to individuals with PTSD who are most likely to think about suicide, the researchers report May 13 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Women's Health | May 14, 2019
If you've ever clicked through a heap of Google results for details about a condition you think you're suffering from, you're not alone. Turns out rest of the country is reading up on mental health concerns just like you are—the catch, though, is that the most popular searches, including internet addiction, depression, and memory loss, differ per state. Click through to see which mental health concerns people in your state are Googling most.
ESPN | May 14, 2019
The United Soccer League is prepared to take the on-field diagnosis of head injuries to a new level. The league. which contains leagues in the second, third and fourth tiers in the United States and Canada, has submitted a prospective rule change that would allow for a "head injury substitution." This would allow teams to more carefully examine players with head injuries without having to burn a full substitution.
Nationa Institutes of Health | May 9, 2019
A large study of more than 21,000 people finds that training emergency medical services (EMS) agencies to implement prehospital guidelines for traumatic brain injury (TBI) may help improve survival in patients with severe head trauma. The findings were published in JAMA Surgery, and the study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health. “This demonstrates the significance of conducting studies in real-world settings and brings a strong evidence base to the guidelines,” said Patrick Bellgowan, Ph.D., program director at NINDS. “It suggests we can systematically increase the chances of saving lives of thousands of people who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries.”
Live Science | May 9, 2019
In a new study published today (May 8) in the journal Neurology, researchers have identified a possible biomarker, found in the cerebrospinal fluid, that could allow doctors to diagnose CTE when a person is still alive. Researchers tested the participants' cerebrospinal fluid for tau levels and conducted brain-imaging scans and neuropsychological exams, which included testing executive function. The investigators found that 12 out of the 22 former athletes (54%) had higher than normal levels of tau. Athletes with elevated levels of tau had higher levels than healthy people but lower levels than people with Alzheimer's. What's more, the athletes with elevated tau levels scored lower on executive functioning tests — which assess attention, memory, and organizational and planning skills — than athletes with normal levels of tau.
Forbes | May 6, 2019
When thinking about traumatic brain injuries (TBI), most people immediately conjure images of NFL players, car accidents or nasty falls. But there is a global public health epidemic going completely unrecognized – and untreated: intimate partner violence (IPV). Shockingly, up to 90% of injuries sustained in IPV are to the head, face, and neck. And research has shown that 75% of women with a history of IPV sustained at least one partner-related TBI and nearly 50% sustained repetitive TBIs. Thus, it is sadly not surprising that the women who experience IPV report symptoms such as problems with, “concentration, memory, headaches, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep.”
The Atlantic | May 6, 2019
The NHL is facing renewed scrutiny into the lasting consequences that violence in its sport has on players. On May 1, the league’s commissioner, Gary Bettman, appeared at Canadian Parliament to address questions about head and brain injuries in hockey—a topic of growing alarm among current and former players, but one that Bettman has frequently dismissed. The group questioning Bettman was part of a parliamentary subcommittee on sports-related concussion.
WorldCrunch | May 6, 2019
"Learning how to meditate can significantly influence your stress experience," says neuroscientist Dr. Hedy Kober from Yale University. "Not only can it change brain function during exercise, but it can also change brain structures over time. A little bit of mindfulness can do a lot. " The mood is mixed among the soldiers. "About one-third is instantly enthusiastic, a third is skeptical, and a third doesn't want to have anything to do with it," says Rhonda Cornum. During my visit, I came across all opinions.
Mercury News | May 6, 2019
Two decades after a series of concussions cut short his Hall of Fame career, 49ers legend Steve Young told an audience at Stanford University on Saturday that if there’s ever a word on the tip of his tongue he can’t remember, his wife will joke, “Here we go — this is it.” The neurologists, physical trainers, athletes and others attending Young’s talk at a summit on concussions in sports chuckled at the anecdote. But Young said, “I don’t laugh. I think, ‘Oh my gosh — is this the beginning of the end?