Journal Club #2 with Andrew Brackins MSIV
Topic today – Traumatic brain injury or concussion is a significant problem in young adults and children. What do we know about the reasons why some people suffer longer term symptoms? What can we do to mitigate risk going forward? Fish oil is an omega 3 fatty acid that has recently gained attention as a possible therapeutic pre and post head trauma. Let us explore the head injury landscape together in this Journal Club episode.
The sports season and the injuries that inevitably accompany it are upon us. Parents and coaches should have all the tools possible to respond when injuries occur, especially serious injuries such as concussions. Concussions are especially common in rough sports such as football and wrestling; they occur when the brain is thrust against the inside of the skull, damaging vital tissues in the process. We’ve all heard about the dangers of concussions, but we may not be able to recognize all the symptoms and their severity in time to take appropriate action. With the powers of technology, however, now there’s an app for that!
The Concussion Recognition and Response app, or CRR, helps parents and coaches identify the first signs of a concussion and advises them on the medical measures that need to be taken in case of injury. In less than five minutes, parents can review a checklist of concussive symptoms including dizziness, headaches, and confusion to decide what action to take. What’s more, if the child exhibits symptoms of concussion, the app allows parents to record the symptoms and email them to local health care providers for a professional opinion.
When time is of the essence, this app offers good help during scary situations. Remember, however, that as great as technology is, it’s not as reliable as a real-life doctor; if there’s the smallest chance that your child has a concussion, please consult your doctor. As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” In other words, early recognition of a serious brain injury may avert further damage later.
Your comments are welcome at my blog, www.docsmo.com. While you are there, feel free to explore the literally hundreds of podcasts and articles, all created for you on my blog. Until next time!
Written by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.
Supplementary Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/concussion/DS00320/DSECTION=causes
Many of you are probably aware that I attended and graduated from Rutgers Medical School. When I was there, Rutgers was a very young start-up medical school attached to a prestigious old university named Rutgers. Since my graduation, the school received a major endowment from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation (RWJF) of Johnson and Johnson fame. Since then, they have changed the name from Rutgers to—you guessed it—the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. In addition to funding my alma mater, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports a lot of health policy research. My interest in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation brings us to today’s memo.
I recently read about a new policy study that was supported by the RWJF, which took a close look at various state laws with respect to child and adult safety. The report is called: “The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report.” After grading each state on the strength of their laws, the researchers overlaid this data on the actual accident rates each state has suffered in the recent past. Did they find that states with strong safety laws had lower accidental injury rates…? You bet they did. While the correlation is not perfect, I think you will see if you look at their data that states with strong safety laws tend to have less accidental injury. The strictest laws are found in California and New York, and they have the lowest rates of accidents. The weakest laws are found in Montana, Ohio, Idaho, Kentucky, North and South Dakota, and South Carolina. All these states scored in either the worst or next to worst accident rates.
The point is that accident prevention, either by parents or by state legislatures, does make a difference in protecting both children and adults from accidental injury. Enforcing seatbelt, helmet, drunk driving, sports safety, and dating violence laws do have a positive impact on our health. Yes, these laws do encroach on some personal freedoms, but in my opinion this is a small price to pay when we are talking about protecting our children, neighbors, and fellow citizens from serious harm. Take a little time to copy and past the link below and browse the report. I think you will be glad you did.