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From the New York Times:


Last week, New York City began its long-awaited bicycle sharing program, the largest in the nation. As in many other cities, helmet use was made optional, in part to encourage greater participation.

But a look at the statistics suggests that riding without a helmet is not a decision to make lightly. While football tends to dominate the discussion of sports-related head injuries, research shows that bike accidents account for far more traumatic brain injuries each year.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, cycling accidents played a role in about 86,000 of the 447,000 sports-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2009. Football accounted for 47,000 of those head injuries, and baseball played a role in 38,394.

Cycling was also the leading cause of sports-related head injuries in children under 14, causing 40,272 injuries, roughly double the number related to football (21,878).

Part of the reason is that bicycling is so ubiquitous. But people are also more cavalier about taking precautions, said Dr. Gonzalo Vazquez-Casals, a neuropsychologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in New York.

Bicyclists are also at high risk of colliding with motor vehicles, and when riders are not wearing helmets, such collisions frequently result in serious head injuries. For example, about 90 percent of bicyclists killed in the United States in 2009 were not wearing helmets. A majority were middle-aged men.

In New York City, 75 percent of all fatal bike accidents involve a head injury. In addition to wearing a helmet, another helpful precaution is using a marked bike lane: Streets that have them have 40 percent fewer crashes ending in death or serious injury.


Bike accidents contribute to more sports-related head injuries than any other activity.

Link to the New York Times.

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This one's a little off-topic for the TBI Blog, but since Jack is such an avid supporter of Touch Therapy, we felt we should include this article about the latest research.

FromTeatro Naturale:

Massage Envy, the pioneer and national leader of professional, convenient and affordable massage and spa services, in conjunction with the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, recently announced the results of a new study that concludes moderate pressure massage therapy can decrease pain for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Massage Envy, the pioneer and national leader of professional, convenient and affordable massage and spa services, in conjunction with the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, recently announced the results of a new study that concludes moderate pressure massage therapy can decrease pain for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Additionally, the study found that rheumatoid arthritis patients experienced perceived greater grip strength and greater range of motion in their wrists and large upper joints, including elbows and shoulders, after receiving moderate pressure massage therapy for one month. The study’s overview and results were published in the 2013 19 edition of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Journal.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes joints to become swollen, tender and stiff. While there is no cure to date, we do know now that moderate pressure massage therapy can help relieve pain and improve the quality of life for patients,” said C.G. Funk, vice president of industry relations and product development for Massage Envy. “The findings will be utilized to better educate our therapists, members, guests and the public on how to best incorporate massage into an overall wellness plan.”

Led by Tiffany Field, Ph.D., of the Touch Research Institute, the study examined the effects of moderate pressure versus light pressure massage therapy on 42 adults with rheumatoid arthritis in the upper limbs. The adults were randomly assigned to a moderate pressure or a light pressure massage therapy group. A therapist massaged the affected arm and shoulder once a week for a four-week period and also taught the participant self-massage to be done once daily. By the end of the one-month period, results of the study demonstrated the moderate pressure massage group had less pain, increased grip strength, increased wrist flexion, increased elbow flexion and increased shoulder abduction. The study also found that participants in both groups experienced a reduction in depressed mood and anxiety.

“As patients with rheumatoid arthritis work with their doctors to determine the best treatment option, we recommend discussing routine massage therapy given the positive effects found in our study,” said Field. “In addition to physical activity, such as yoga, moderate pressure massage therapy along with self-massage techniques can help manage the pain and stress that occurs from various forms of arthritis.”

Over the last eight years, Massage Envy has donated more than $150,000 to support research related to the benefits of massage therapy. Today, there are more than 870 Massage Envy locations, making it the largest system of franchised massage and spa clinics in the industry. The company has created 21,000 new massage therapists positions since 2002 and plans to add 1,500 new positions annually through 2018.

In 2011, Massage Envy formed a partnership with the Arthritis Foundation to raise awareness and funds to support the organization's mission to prevent, control and cure arthritis. In total, Massage Envy has raised more than $1 million in two, one-day Healing Hands for Arthritis events. The brand is also as a national sponsor of the Arthritis Foundation's 250 Arthritis Walk® events around the country, where local Massage Envy owners share information about the benefits of massage therapy, provide chair massages and support the Arthritis Foundation at their respective local walks. Massage Envy and the Arthritis Foundation share a common understanding about the devastating effects of the disease on the body and the potential for massage therapy to relieve and control certain symptoms. 

Link to Teatro Naturale.

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From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Older people who undergo general anesthesia for major surgery have a 35 percent higher risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a French study.

The findings are based on information from the Three-City Study, which included thousands of people age 65 and older in Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier starting in 1999. In a subpopulation of 7,008 citizens, 632 participants developed dementia over the course of the study, and those patients were more likely to have had general anesthesia than those who didn’t develop mental deterioration.

The findings support a theory that post-operative cognitive dysfunction, a common complication in elderly patients in which their thinking and memory is temporarily impaired, is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia. Previous research has suggested that some anesthetics may prompt inflammation of neural tissues, leading to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease including amyloid plaques and protein tangles in the brain.

“Recognition of post-operative cognitive dysfunction is essential in the perioperative management of elderly patients,” Francois Sztark, the lead researcher and an anesthesiologist at the University of Bordeaux, said in a statement. “A long-term follow-up of these patients should be planned.”

The study results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Anaesthesiology in Barcelona.

Link to Bloomberg Businessweek.

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