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Latest News Around the Web

Playing Contact Sports May Change Brain’s Structure, Functioning

HealthDay (8/22, Reinberg) reports new research found playing contact sports like football or ice hockey can change the structure and function of the brain. After scanning the brains of 65 varsity athletes prior to the start of their sport’s season, researchers found that the 23 people who played collision and contact sports “had differences in brain structure and function compared to people who took part in non-contact sports.” Differences include “changes in the structure of the brain’s white matter, the fibers that connect different parts of the brain, allowing them to communicate with each another.” The findings were published online in Frontiers of Neurology.

Related Links:

— “More Evidence Contact Sports Can Affect the Brain,” Steven Reinberg, HealthDay, August 22, 2017.

Study Examines Cost Of Care For Senior Family Members With And Without Dementia.

HealthDay (8/22, Mozes) reports, “Caring for a family member with a neurological disorder such as dementia is vastly more expensive than caring for a senior who is dementia-free,” researchers found after examining data “from a computer analysis that modeled expenses incurred caring for about 16,000 hypothetical seniors.”

The study revealed that “the average yearly cost of caring for a dementia-free senior is roughly $137,000,” compared to “$321,000 for care of those struggling with dementia.” The findings were published online Aug. 17 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Related Links:

— “Dementia Care: A Huge Financial Burden for U.S. Families,” Alan Mozes, HealthDay, August 22, 2017.

Investigation Analyzes Role Of Police Tasers In Fatal Encounters

In a 4,700-word piece, Reuters (8/22, Eisler, Szep, Reid, Smith) reports on the number of cases in which a police officer using a Taser results in an unintended death and the litigation that follows.

A Reuters examination of 1,005 fatal police Taser incidents found that a quarter of the victims “were suffering from a mental health breakdown or neurological disorder.” In 90 percent of the incidents, the deceased was unarmed. Over 100 of the fatal encounters began with a 911 call for help during a medical emergency.

Denise Juliano-Bult, who helps coordinate research on services for people with mental illness at the US National Institute of Mental Health, explained people in a mental crisis are often confused and frightened when confronted by police, which may cause tensions to escalate rapidly. She said, “That can lead to unfortunate incidents where the people with mental illness can get injured and the police can get injured.”

Related Links:

— “Special Report: A 911 plea for help, a Taser shot and the toll of stun guns,” Peter Eisler, Jason Szep, Tim Reid and Grant Smith, Reuters via St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 22, 2017.

Older Adults With Current Suicidal Ideation Or Attempt May Be Less Likely To Receive Referral Resources

Healio (8/22, Oldt) reports that just 42 percent of “older adults who screened positively for suicidal ideation and were discharged received a mental health evaluation during their visit” to the emergency department, researchers found. In fact, “older adults with current suicidal ideation or attempt were less likely to receive referral resources, compared with younger adults with current suicidal ideation or attempt (34% vs. 60%).” The findings were published online July 28 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The abstract notes that “a total of 800 charts were reviewed” by investigators.

Related Links:

— “Suicide follow-up severely lacking in older adults,” Arias SA, et al., Healio, August 22, 2017.

Anxiety, Depression May Be Strongly Associated With Glaucoma

Healio (8/22) reports investigators “found that anxiety and depression are strongly linked with glaucoma, an association that does not change with age,” researchers found after examining data on “4,439,518 patients.” The findings were published online in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Related Links:

— “Study confirms strong association between anxiety, depression, glaucoma,” Zhang X, et al., Healio, August 22, 2017.

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