[public-health] MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: CONCUSSIONS : SPORTS: INJURIES : SPORTS: FOOTBALL: Despite Billions Spent on Treatments, Concussions Still a Puzzle

 

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MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: CONCUSSIONS :

SPORTS: INJURIES :

SPORTS: FOOTBALL:

Despite Billions Spent on Treatments, Concussions Still a Puzzle

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Despite Billions Spent on Treatments, Concussions Still a Puzzle

August 26, 2016 8:53 AM

By Kris B. Mamula

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2016/08/26/Despite-billions-
spent-on-treatments-concussions-still-a-puzzle/stories/201608250028

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/zvf8hpp

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In a preseason game against the Steelers three years ago, Carolina Panthers free safety Haruki Nakamura took a hit to the side of his head while making a tackle. He left the football game with a career-ending injury as headaches, distorted vision, depression, fatigue and other concussion symptoms worsened.

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Concussions are rarely career-ending injuries, in the view of Michael Micky Collins, director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Mr. Collins made the determination about Mr. Nakamuras injury, according to a lawsuit Mr. Nakamura filed in July over an insurance policy, but UPMCs programs more often advocate a variety of ways of treating concussions to push for a full recovery.

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Not everyone has the same views of the head injury, which has been called the black box of neuroscience.

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Disciplined research for any of these things to actually be beneficial doesnt exist, said Geoffrey Ling, a physician and professor of neurology and neuroscience at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., who specializes in traumatic brain injuries. The diagnosis and treatment of concussion is highly, highly variable.

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As a new football season gets underway, parents with children who are involved in contact sports are torn between competing views of concussions a condition that can be treated to allow return to play or an injury with long-lasting effects that are not fully understood. Whats more  unlike heart attack, breast cancer and a host of other medical problems concussion has no standard treatment protocols.

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A concussion occurs when a persons head twists violently or is struck by a mechanical force  helmet, knee or baseball bat, for example  resulting in loss of consciousness, amnesia, headaches, dizziness or other symptoms. It can set off a molecular cascade of changes in the brain that continue long after the insult. Such traumatic brain injuries affect more than 1.7 million people annually in the U.S.

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Treatment costs reach into the billions of dollars while options for care are all over the place. Whats missing are generally accepted treatment standards.

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Have a heart attack in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or Pittsburg, Kansas, and the treatment will be virtually the same  down to the type, amount and timing of various drugs that are given in the emergency room. Not so with concussions, where treatment mostly turns on the preferences of the person providing the care, said Robert Cantu, co-director of the Center for the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston School of Medicine.

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We need randomized clinical trials, said Dr. Cantu, who is also a neurosurgeon. What you have now is a smattering of publications, some suggesting this, some suggesting that.

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Few treatments have been proven effective using medicines gold standard of the randomized control trial, in which one group receives a treatment and the other doesnt to allow researchers to compare results. Whats more, the disparities in concussion care can be jarring.

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Topics Covered in This Article

A treatable injury?

To rest or not to rest?

Widespread changes

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
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[public-health] MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: CONCUSSIONS : SPORTS: INJURIES : SPORTS: FOOTBALL: Despite Billions Spent on Treatments, Concussions Still a Puzzle

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