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Jun 10, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- ATHLETE'S AGE MAY AFFECT CONCUSSION RECOVERY

Researchers have found younger athletes may take longer to recover from a concussion than do older athletes. They say the finding, reported in the journal Pediatrics, has important implications for guidelines on when players should return to the field. This is the first published study to examine age as a factor in concussion recovery, said the investigators from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. They found high school athletes suffered memory problems that required longer recovery than that needed by college athletes. Following mild concussion, high school athletes showed significant memory impairment at day 7 while college athletes had memory deficits only within the first 24 hours of the injury. "Our finding that high school athletes did not recover from concussion as quickly as college athletes is a cause for concern because the largest majority of at-risk athletes are at the high school level or below," said principal investigator Dr. Melvin Field, chief resident of neurological surgery. "Furthermore, existing return-to-play guidelines assume a standard use for all age groups and levels of play, from school-age to professional," he said. "Our study is the first to suggest that there may be differing vulnerabilities to concussion at different ages and that current guidelines may not be appropriate for all age groups."


A study using a capsule-size camera reveals non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may cause more damage to the intestine than previously thought. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston reported at the Digestive Disease Week 2003 conference in Orlando their study using capsule endoscopy detected NSAIDs-related injury in the small bowel, an area of the gastrointestinal tract unreachable by other diagnostic tools such as endoscopes. In their tests, a pill containing a tiny camera that is swallowed by the patient detected small bowel erosions in 62 percent of NSAID users compared to 5 percent of non-users. "More than 100 million prescriptions for NSAIDS are written annually in the United States," said lead author Dr. David Graham, professor of medicine and molecular virology at Baylor and chief of the gastroenterology section of Houston VA Medical Center. "The study shows that the patients who take NSAIDs regularly have an increased risk of small intestinal mucosal ulceration and bleeding." NSAIDs reduce pain and inflammation by affecting chemicals in the body. The same chemicals also are in the stomach, where NSAIDs can cause indigestion, and possibly ulceration, Graham said.


Some 13 percent of HIV-infected individuals failed to disclose their positive status to their sexual partners before engaging in risky behavior, a study shows. The University of California, San Francisco, and RAND Health researchers stressed that most people infected with the AIDS virus abstain, disclose or attempt to minimize the risk of transmission, but, they said, the number of those who do not is cause for concern. The most effective method to respond to the situation likely will be through marketing promotions advising, "Do ask, do tell," said lead author Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, assistant professor of family and community medicine at the UCSF Urban Health Study. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at 606 gay and bisexual men, 287 heterosexual men and 504 heterosexual women, all HIV-positive. Among those who had engaged in sex without disclosure, gay and bisexual men were much more likely to be involved with several partners, the researchers found. Most of the heterosexual men and women who failed to tell had sex with only one partner, they found.


A study points to a serious alcohol problem among patients with manic-depression, who were shown to drink an average of two six-packs a day or its equivalent. The researchers, who reported their findings at the American Psychiatric Association's 156th Annual Meeting, examined the prevalence of severe alcohol dependence in patients with bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression. They found the average patient with alcohol dependence consumed approximately 152 drinks per month (11 drinks a day, 14 days a month). "Past studies were generally ineffective in determining the extensiveness of alcoholism in bipolar patients and failed to study patients with a history of co-morbid alcohol abuse," said Dr. Mark Frye, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine and director of the UCLA Bipolar Disorder Research Program. "In the current study we are evaluating, our preliminary results show there is a great need for further formal study to evaluate treatment responses to mood stabilizers."

(EDITORS: For more information about AGE, contact Susan Manko at 412-647-3555 or; about DRUGS, call 713-798-3692; about DO, contact Jeff Sheehy at 415-597-8165 or; about ALCOHOL, contact Geoff Curtis at 847-935-8975.)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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