Youth Concussions Continue to Receive Attention from National and Local Legislatures

The sports pages the last several months have been filled with reports of Congressional hearings and testimony concerning concussions and the National Football League particularly the long-term health effects of head injuries on players. Years ago when people thought about football players injuries, the attention was focused more on injuries such as knee injuries and other effects on bone structure, such as arthritis. When I was in law school, research I undertook in connection with a project revealed statistics that showed that the life expectancy of professional football players was lower than the general population because of such injuries.

On … Read the rest

Brain-Computer Interface Research Used for Speech Prosthesis to Assist Locked-In Motor Vehicle Accident Victim

Around midnight on November 5, 1999, Erik Ramsey was a passenger in a friend’s Camaro that was in an accident with another vehicle and flipped and landed on an embankment. His injuries were devastating – a collapsed lung, a lacerated spleen, a ruptured diaphragm, ripped tendons in his hand, and a femur that was broken in two places. More so, a blood clot had caused a brain-stem stroke that cut the connection between his mind and his body, a condition known to neurologists as locked-in syndrome.

He can still see, smell, and hear, his body could still register the itch … Read the rest

May is Bike Month in New York and Nationwide

This year’s Bike Month NYC is the eighteenth annual celebration of bicycling in metropolitan New York. People can choose from over 200 rides, classes, races, movies, culinary events and art exhibits. Bike Month draws popular support and press coverage in metropolitan New York City. Thousands of bicyclists from around the New York City metropolitan area flock to the numerous events that make up Bike Month NYC, including rides, repair classes, films, races, snacks discussions and much more.

The New York City Department of Transportation announced a dramatic 35% increase in bicycle commuters in 2008. 30,000 riders have signed up for … Read the rest

Don’t Be So Sure That Dietary Supplements Are Safe; The F.D.A. Isn’t

In the first 10 months of 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) received 948 reports of health problems associated with dietary supplements, but not necessarily directly caused by them, according to a report from the federal Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.). Those included 9 deaths, 64 life-threatening illnesses and 234 hospitalizations. The F.D.A. recently estimated that there are more than 50,000 minor and serious health problems a year related to dietary supplements.

For purposes of the G.A.O. report, dietary ingredient means an ingredient that is included in the dietary supplement definition in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act … Read the rest

Using Hands-Free Cell Phone While Driving No Less a Danger Than Using Hand-Held Phone

The congressionally chartered National Safety Council is advocating for the first time a total ban on cell phone use while driving, including hands-free use, saying the practice is clearly dangerous and leads to fatalities. States should ban drivers from using hand-held and hands-free cell phones, and businesses should prohibit employees from using cell phones while driving on the job. The problem is not where your hands are, but where your brain is.

There are 270 million cell phone users in the U.S. and 80 percent of them talk on the phone while driving. Drivers talking on a cell phone are … Read the rest

Even With All the Attention on Bruce Springsteens Concert Later Today (A Football Game Is Sandwiched Around It), The NFL Still Cant Avoid a Concussion Discussion

Super Bowl hoopla did not prevent a meeting this week in Tampa with the attendees urging the NFL to join them in researching the connection between football and progressive brain damage and declaring that a concussion crisis exists in football. Among those at the hotel meeting were former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, eight-year NFL special teams standout Isaiah Kacyvenski and 73-year-old Bernie Parrish, who played eight seasons for the Cleveland Browns and now spends much of his time battling the NFL Players Association, which he says refuses to adequately represent retired players. Joining them were several doctors from the Boston … Read the rest

FDA Approves Tapentadol Hydrochloride, The First New Drug In Its Class In More Than 25 Years for the Relief of Moderate to Severe Acute Pain

According to the American Pain Foundation, more than 25 million Americans experience acute pain each year as a result of injuries or surgeries, and a recent study estimated that 42 percent of U.S. hospital emergency department visits were due to pain-related problems. Acute pain is a symptom of many medical conditions and can significantly interfere with a person’s quality of life and general functioning. Arthritis is the most common chronic debilitating disease in the United States (more than 43 million people or 1 in 6). Osteoarthritis of the knee is a very common and a major cause of disability.

The … Read the rest

Sixteen Athletes, Including Six Former NFL Players, Agree To Donate Their Brains To a Study of the Long-Term Effects of Concussions

Sixteen athletes, including six former NFL players, have agreed to donate their brains to a program that will study the long-term effects of concussions. Of particular interest is a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), which has been likened to pugilistica dementia seen in boxers. Common symptoms of the condition, a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) include dementia, Parkinson’s, irritability and short-term memory problems. The condition can be confirmed only by postmortem tissue analysis; X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging tests cannot yet detect it.

Five out of six former N.F.L. player’s brains that have been examined in this … Read the rest

Do You Think The Food and Beverage Industry Can Self-Regulate Its $1.6 Billion Marketing Towards Children and Adolescents?

A report of the Federal Trade Commission, Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities, and Self-Regulation, finds that 44 major food and beverage marketers spent $1.6 billion to promote their products to children under 12 and adolescents ages 12 to 17 in the United States in 2006.

The report finds that food advertising to youth is dominated by integrated advertising campaigns that combine traditional media, such as television, with previously unmeasured forms of marketing, such as packaging, in-store advertising, sweepstakes, and Internet. These campaigns often involve cross-promotion with a new movie or popular television program.… Read the rest

First Nationwide Hospital-By-Hospital Survey Of Patient Satisfaction Released: Results Not Flattering for Long Island Hospitals

For the first time, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has posted consumer survey information on its Hospital Compare Web site (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) that attempts to capture the experiences of a patients in a hospital. It is a unique attempt by the government to evaluate hospital care from the perspective of the patient.

Unfortunately for Long Islanders, on average, Long Island hospitals scored lower in patient satisfaction in eight out of 10 measures compared with other hospitals statewide or nationally. The Island’s largest health system, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, did not fare well on the survey. Long … Read the rest