New lab focusing on brain injuries: Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University join together through the newly developed Cleveland Traumatic Neuromechanics Consortium, co-directed by engineers Adam Bartsch, PhD, Director, Cleveland Clinic's Spine Research Laboratory, and Vikas Prakash, PhD, Case Western Reserve University's Department of Mechanical and Aeospace Engineering, to create a lab dedicated to sports- and combat-related brain injuries. Researchers will work to learn more about causes of brain and neck injuries to design better equipment, treatments, and preventions. See www.cleveland.com, and www.criticalmention.com.
Research supports use of headgear, as well as the need for improved design: A new study led by Dr. Bartsch, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery confirms the need for headgear to protect from linear forces (as in straight-on strikes) as well as from the risk of injury due to the accumulation of hits. The study also demonstrates the need for improving headgear design to protect the head from rotational forces (as from hits that cause the head to spin), as these are key contributors to head and neck injuries. See www.news-medical.net; discovery.com; www.medpagetoday.com; and www.dailymail.co.uk.
Soccer and concussion: A group led by Edward C. Benzel, MD, Neurological Surgery, published a review of the literature concerning a possible correlation between heading soccer balls and brain injury. They stress the importance of proper heading technique, and that potential brain injury from soccer, as opposed to other contact sports, may emerge years later as a result of an accumulation of subconcussive heading. They concur that the topic warrants further study. See usatoday.com; lww.com; msn.com.
A study led by Thomas Frazier, PhD, Centers for Autism and Pediatric Behavioral Health, in collaboration with Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Chair, GMI, has resulted in improved diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder. Published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the study has received extensive coverage: www.scientificamerican.com; www.nature.com; www.nytimes.com; and www.huffingtonpost.com. The study's abstract is available here: www.jaacap.com.
In summer of 2010, Alzheimer's researcher Bruce Lamb, PhD, Neurosciences, in conjunction with the Alzheimer's Association, spear-headed the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Ride, a bicycle ride across the United States to raise awareness of the need for increased research funding and programs for caregiver support. The ride culminated on World Alzheimer's Day in Washington, DC, where over 110,000 petition signatures were delivered to Capitol Hill, followed by a briefing at the White House. In January 2011, Presdent Obama signed the National Alzheimer's Project Act, "which calls for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer's disease plan," according to a February 7, 2012 press release www.hhs.gov. The release announced the Obama Administration's "new efforts to fight Alzheimer's disease, including immediately making an additional $50 million available for cutting-edge Alzheimer's research. In addition, the administration announced that its Fiscal Year 2013 budget will boost funding for Alzheimer's research by $80 million. [The] announcement also includes an additional $26 million in caregiver support, provider education, public awareness and improvements in data infrastructure." Dr. Lamb, who has received several awards for his advocacy efforts, is excited for the implications of this federal commitment to alleviating the devastation of the Alzheimer's epidemic.