Monday, September 24, 2007

Encephalon 32


Encephalon 32, A Neuroscience Carnival is now available for your reading pleasure at Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted).

In other news, The Traumatically Brain Injured One post seems to be getting a large number of hits from this article in Slate about O.J. Simpson:
Squeezing O.J.'s Brain
Could brain injuries suffered on the football field explain O.J. Simpson's erratic behavior?
By Chadwick Matlin

. . . As a pro, Simpson carried the ball more than 2,400 times. As the evidence mounts that football can cause massive head trauma, it's worth wondering: Could O.J.'s erratic behavior have something to do with taking too many gridiron collisions?
. . .

It appears that Simpson never had a documented head injury. A search of online newspaper archives didn't find any reports of concussions. Jim Peters, a sportswriter who covered Simpson's career in Buffalo, told me he couldn't remember Simpson missing any action because of a blow to the head.

A lack of published reports doesn't mean Simpson never sustained brain trauma. In the 1960s and 1970s, when the dangers of head injuries weren't well-known, players and trainers rarely reported concussions. Even today, players often don't say when they've suffered a head injury.
This is all speculative, of course, but the article does mention other professional athletes who have sustained serious traumatic brain injuries.

An occupational hazard? Try deployment to Iraq:
Scientists: Brain injuries from war worse than thought

Scientists trying to understand traumatic brain injury from bomb blasts are finding the wound more insidious than they once thought.

They find that even when there are no outward signs of injury from the blast, cells deep within the brain can be altered, their metabolism changed, causing them to die, says Geoff Ling, an advance-research scientist with the Pentagon.

. . . The findings could mean that the number of brain-injured soldiers and Marines — many of whom appear unhurt after exposure to a blast — may be far greater than reported, says Ibolja Cernak, a scientist with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

This cellular death leads to symptoms that may not surface for months or years, Cernak says. The symptoms can include memory deficit, headaches, vertigo, anxiety and apathy or lethargy. "These soldiers could have hidden injuries with long-term consequences," he says.

Physicians and scientists are calling TBI the "signature wound" of the Iraq war because of its increasing prevalence among troops.

No "signature quips" here, nothing about that sad fact is amusing.

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2 Comments:

At September 25, 2007 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got that right. A family friend was in Mosul when the suicide bomber walked into the mess tent in '04. He was lucky to have lost only a little bit of hearing in one ear; had he been a little taller and seated on the other side of the table, the shrapnel could have well caused TBI. Nothing funny about it. If OJ is suffering from TBI, well, it makes his behavior a little more understandable (personally I think he has a personality disorder), but it still doesn't excuse murder.

 
At September 25, 2007 12:18 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

And it's so tragic that one of the lasting legacies of the Bush administration will be TBI and PTSD -- in American veterans and Iraqi civilians alike.

 

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