Stories about: brain

Junior Seau’s CTE shines light on the importance of preventing concussions, and allowing full recovery

Today, the National Institutes of Health confirmed that former NFL star Junior Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma.

Seau’s family requested that the results be released to the public, in hope that the news would raise more awareness about the dangers of repetitive brain injuries. The takeaway is clear: preventing concussions and brain injuries is crucial, but properly treating them once they occur carries equally substantial weight.

Recent research by William Meehan, MD, director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Sports Concussion Clinic, shows that repeated concussions, even mild ones, cause profound learning and memory problems, and that the effects are cumulative, and worsen when concussions occur without time for recovery in between.

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Our patients’ stories: Sledding safety counts

By Leah Buckley


It was a few years ago, but I still remember that cold, grey February morning vividly. As I tugged on my boots and winter coat—and fought with my zipper through my thick gloves—I called out to my mother to let her know that I was heading out with friends to go sledding.

“Be careful,” she said from the other room, “I love you.”

Those were the last words my mother said to me on what would turn out to be one of the scariest days of my life.

As we pulled up to the Newton Commonwealth Golf Course and stepped outside, all we could see was our breath in the cold morning air and the glint of the sun reflecting off the icy hills sprawled in front of us. We were excited to hit the slopes, but the ground was so iced over it took us a good 15 minutes just to reach the top of the first hill. The ride down was much, much faster.

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Internet overload: Are we spending too much time online?

We’re all familiar with the myriad benefits of the Internet, a tool which has undeniably changed the way we communicate, learn and use entertainment. But how much of a good thing is too much? For a small fraction of kids, the Internet’s draw may prove too enticing, as Internet addiction (loosely defined as excessive use of the Internet that negatively impacts academic, social and family life) appears to be on the rise in much of the industrialized world.

We spoke to a neurologist specializing in the teen brain, media expert Michael Rich and a psychologist for this article about Internet addiction and its possible effects. Read on to find out what you need to know about your child’s Internet use–and how you can help them manage their screen time effectively.

That’s important to do, as a national survey recently found that the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically: Today, 8 to 18 year olds spend an average of almost eight hours a day using digital media. And because they are often “media-multitasking” (like instant messaging on the computer while watching TV and texting friends on their cellphones) they actually manage to cram a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those eight hours.

So, is it bad for kids and adults alike to spend so much time using digital media? The answer isn’t straightforward, as the article makes clear, and much more research needs to be done. A Frontline documentary also probes the question.

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Health headlines: Mozart helps preemies, children’s allergies and teen brains really are different

Other stories we’ve been reading:

teen brainPsychologist wins $1 million for showing that teen brains really are different. Researchers are able to show that remedial reading classes for weak readers really can change young brains. A history of juvenile delinquency is linked to early death in men.

If your children have cavities, it’s much more likely they’ll become adults with cavities. An Israeli study found that premature babies listening to Mozart were able to grow faster. Children born to mothers exposed to microbes during pregnancy may be less likely to develop allergies.

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