Health Updates 6 February 2012

  • Students report playing dangerous ‘choking game‘: “The ‘choking game’ has been played by nearly one in seven students who were surveyed at a Texas university, a new study finds.  This so-called ‘game’ is played individually or in groups and involves deliberately cutting off blood flow to the brain in order to achieve a high.  This is done by choking oneself or others, applying a ligature around the neck, placing a plastic bag over the head, placing heavy objects on the chest, or hyperventilating.  The dangerous behavior – also called the ‘fainting game’, ‘pass out’ or ‘space monkey’ – has led to several suffocation deaths in Texas and around the country….Curiosity was the primary motivation for playing choking games and most of those who had participated said others were present. Males were more likely to have participated than females, the findings showed.” (MedlinePlus)
  • Physical child abuse sends thousands to hospitals: “Nearly 4,600 children were admitted to a US hospital in 2006 as a result of physical abuse and 300 died because of the abuse, researchers reported.  Incidence was estimated to be 6.2 cases per 100,000 children, but was markedly higher in children under the age of             one (1) and in those treated under Medicaid….Nationally, the cost of physical abuse during the year as estimated at $73.8 billion….The study is the second this month to try to pin down the burden of child abuse….The researchers cautioned that the study likely underestimated the numbers because children who died of physical abuse, but were never admitted to hospital, would not be included.” (Michael Smith, MedPage Today)
  • Snowboarders more injury-prone than skiers: “A new study from a Vermont ski resort found that snowboarders get injured slightly more often than skiers, with the most injuries happening in young, inexperienced female snowboarders.  The types of injuries in the study also varied by sport, with snowboarders most likely to be taken out by a hurt wrist or shoulder, and skiers more commonly injuring a knee ligament.  During 18 winter seasons with 4.6 million visitors, researchers counted a total of close to 12,000 injuries severe enough to bring skiers and snowboarders to the resort clinic….’If you’ve got a whole bunch of people that are young and trying to learn to do something that is like an extreme sport, there’s going to be a higher incidence of injury’…” radiologist Dr. David Salonen concluded.  (MedlinePlus/Reuters)
  • Sloan-Kettering chief is accused of taking research: “The president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York is in a billion-dollar dispute with his former workplace, a cancer institute at the University of Pennsylvania, over accusations that he walked away with groundbreaking research and used it to help start a valuable biotechnology company.  In a lawsuit, the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson  Family Cancer Research Institute at Penn described its former scientific director, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, as ‘an unscrupulous doctor’ who ‘chose to abscond with the fruits of the Abramson largess’.  The dispute reflects the importance that academic research centers now place on turning discoveries made on their campuses into sources of revenue.”  Dr. Thompson denies the accusations and has instructed his lawyer to request a dismissal of the charges.  (NY Times)

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