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August 11, 2017

Neuroscience – SciPol Weekly, August 5 – August 11

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Government – Editorial: Christie's farcical opioid panel meets Trump's sabotage

The President's opioid commission, chaired by our governor, just released its first report. It has some very good, if not exactly original, ideas. Try as it might, though, it can't disguise the more important truth - what Patrick Kennedy, a member, called the "elephant in the room." This is the obvious fact that Donald Trump's team is striving as hard as it can to gut Medicaid and make it even more difficult to get treatment.

NPR – First Responders Spending More On Overdose Reversal Drug

In Prince George's County, Md., every first responder carries naloxone, the drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. The first responders there are pulling the drug out of the bag more than ever. Last year they administered 877 doses to people who had overdosed. This year, they're on track to administer 1,230 doses, Spies says. That averages out to more than three doses a day in just one county.

The Charlotte Observer – Hundreds have died playing high school sports. Why NC ranks high for preventing more.

North Carolina leads the nation in policies to prevent the causes of sudden death and catastrophic injuries among secondary school athletes, says a University of Connecticut report released Tuesday. The study scored state practices in five areas: sudden cardiac arrest; heatstroke; traumatic head injuries; medical coverage; and emergency preparedness.

The State Journal-Register – Perspective: U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood: Working together to beat the opioid crisis

Opioids continue to wreak havoc on our communities as a killer that transcends age, race, gender and socioeconomic status. In fact, drug overdoses were the leading cause of death last year for Americans ages 25 to 64. In our country, the greatest in the world, that number is shocking and unacceptable.

The Washington Post  – With drug overdoses soaring, states limit the length of painkiller prescriptions

States are enacting strict limits on the number of powerful prescription painkillers doctors can prescribe, a move that many believe will help fight the opioid crisis but has raised alarms among some physicians. At least 17 states have enacted rules to curb the number of painkillers doctors can prescribe. Some have passed laws limiting the duration of initial opioid prescriptions to five or seven days. Others are passing dosage limits.


NPR – Video Games May Affect The Brain Differently, Depending On What You Play

People who played action video games that involve first-person shooters, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, experienced shrinkage in a brain region called the hippocampus, according to a study published Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry. That part of the brain is associated with spatial navigation, stress regulation and memory. Playing Super Mario games, in which the noble plumber strives to rescue a princess, had the opposite effect on the hippocampus, causing growth in it.

The Washington Post – Study: Doctors received more than $46 million from drug companies marketing opioids

One in 12 doctors has received money from drug companies marketing prescription opioid medications, according to a study released Wednesday afternoon. Researchers at Boston Medical Center found that from 2013 to 2015, 68,177 doctors received more than $46 million in payments from drug companies pushing powerful painkillers. Researchers believe it is the first study to look at the practice of pharmaceutical companies marketing opioids to physicians.

Xconomy – Neurable’s Brain-Computer Interface Platform Scores U-M Investment

Neurable, a University of Michigan spinout now located in Cambridge, MA, has received a new investment from the university’s Zell Lurie Founders Fund to help commercialize its brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. The amount of the investment was not disclosed. The new capital builds on a $2 million seed round the company raised last December, says co-founder and CEO Ramses Alcaide.


ABC News (Australia) – Concussion affecting young teens, pre-teens at higher rate than anyone else, study finds

Research shows concussion is most common in children under 13, with only 20 per cent of kids properly diagnosed and treated. A study from Brown University in the US found kids aged 8-13 had the highest rates of sports-related concussion. Professor Gary Browne from the Children's Hospital Institute of Sports Medicine in Sydney said concussion often went unreported in junior contact sports, which he said, was concerning.

Kaiser Health News – Lag In Brain Donation Hampers Understanding Of Dementia In Blacks

The question came as a shock to Dorothy Reeves: Would she be willing to donate her husband’s brain for research? She knew dementia would steadily take Levi Reeves’ memories of their 57-year marriage, his remaining lucidity and, eventually, his life. But to let scientists take his brain after he died? That seemed too much to ask.

Medical Xpress – Belief in neuromyths is extremely common

Researchers have surveyed educators, the public and people who have completed neuroscience courses, to assess their belief in neuromyths. Neuromyths are common misconceptions about brain research, many of which relate to learning and education. They found that belief in neuromyths is extremely common and that training in education and neuroscience helped to reduce these beliefs, but did not eliminate them.

Reuters – Music therapy may not lead to big benefits for kids with autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) don't benefit from the addition of music therapy on top of their usual treatments, according to results from a large international clinical trial. Researchers found that children with ASD in nine countries scored similarly on a test of their social skills whether or not they had received the music therapy.


Forbes – Opinion: Could This Spell The End For College Football? It Should.

Universities are not supposed to encourage activities that may result in permanent brain damage. And yet, they do. As revealed in a new report by Jesse Mez and colleagues from Boston University, just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a shockingly high number of former football players, from both college and professional teams, suffered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) later in life, likely as a result of their years playing football.

Inverse – Nobody Knows Where Brainwaves Come From

Wub-wub-wub-wub. Brainwaves are electromagnetic proof that we are alive. Decades of research have shown that these pulses of electrical potential reflect events at the root of our impulses and thoughts. As such, they underlie one of humanity’s weightiest moral decisions: deciding whether or not a person is officially dead. If a person goes 30 minutes without producing brainwaves, even a functioning heartbeat can’t convince doctors they’re alive. But as much as brainwaves loom in our understanding of the brain, not a single scientist has any idea where they come from.

The Conversation – Concussions and CTE: More complicated than even the experts know

For many, American football is a beautiful game that is simple to enjoy but complex to master. Choreographed with a mixture of artistry and brutality, it features the occasional “big hit” or bone-jarring tackle, forcing a fumble and turning the tide of the game. But with this part of football comes justified concern about the long-term health effects of engaging in this type of activity over time, concerns that abound in practically every high-impact contact sport. 

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