View Full Version : MedNews items Issues 3(30) & 3(31)

Herman J. Woltring
09-24-1990, 07:49 PM
Dear Biomch-L readers,

The following items were taken from MEDNEWS issues 3(30) and 3(31), retrieved
from LISTSERV@ASUACAD, with Copyright permission for non-profit distribution.

Aug. 21, 1990


Computers emit a high-frequency, barely detectable squeal that causes
stress for users - especially women, say researchers at the University of
Evansville in Indiana. It can also cause irritation, fatigue, anxiety and
headaches. Also, researchers found that women with high estrogen levels
exhibited a heightened sensitivity to the sound. Solution: earplugs that block
high frequencies.

Free foot examinations are going to be offered in September by some doctors
- part of the Academy of Ambulatory Foot Surgery's `Foot Care Month.' For a
list of participating doctors, call 800-433-4892.


Exercise boosts creativity as well as physical strength and stamina, says a
report in the August issue of McCall's. A researcher at Baruch College in New
York says that even 20 minutes of aerobic activity is enough to give your
imagination a lift. The boost of creativity may be due to the release of
adrenaline and endorphins during exercise.


Injuries are a leading cause of mortality among children ages 19 and under
in the United States, says Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical
Association. In 1986, motor vehicle crashes were the leading fatal injuries
among children in the United States; homicides were second; and suicide was
the third leading cause of childhood fatal injuries that year.

Aug. 30, 1990


Ultrasound scans now can be accurate enough to replace amniocentesis for
checking fetuses for spinal abnormalities and other birth defects, say
researchers in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. Amniocentesis -
withdrawing amniotic fluid with a needle - generally is safe, but carries a
small risk of triggering miscarriage. Ultrasound poses no such risk.


The gap is widening between the number of people who need transplants and
the number of organs available. In 1989, more than 19 thousand people waited
for organs for a transplant. That is up from 16 thousand waiting in 1988,
according to the United network for Organ Sharing. Cited: Hospitals are not
asking the relatives of people who die if the organs may be donated.


People in the USA are more likely to die from a disease acquired through
their job than from any other preventable cause of death. The non-profit
National Safe Workplace Institute estimates that 71,428 people died from an
occupational illness in 1987 - 1.5 times more than car accident deaths.
Occupational illness can occur from exposure to toxic chemicals, indoor air
pollution and stress.


The conference, Advances in Neuroscience: A Clinical Perspective, is
scheduled for Oct. 10-12 at Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, Calif. As part of
the American Medical Association Conference Series, topics will encompass gene
manipulation, diagnostic imaging, neurotoxicity and regeneration. For more
information: 1-800-621-8335.



A study on chronic fatigue syndrome that may have found a new virus
causing the illness will be presented Tuesday in Japan by Elaine DeFreitas of
the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia. CFS symptoms: fatigue and muddled
thinking, often coupled with dizziness, muscle weakness, joint pains, fevers,
nausea and other symptoms that arise suddenly, then come and go for months or


In a study of chronic fatigue syndrome, blood from nine of 11 adult
patients and 14 of 19 children contained viral segments resembling those found
in HTLV-II - a cousin of HIV. The virus is even closer to HTLV-I, which causes
leukemia or a disorder like multiple sclerosis in about 2 percent of cases.
All are retroviruses, which reprogram the genetic code of infected cells.


If a whole CFS virus can be isolated, it may turn out to be a new
retrovirus or a variant of HTLV-II, not yet proven to cause illness,
researchers say. They also suggest the virus may be casually transmitted but
stress this is very unclear. In a new study, viral fragments were found in
some people in close, non-sexual contact with patients.

Sept. 5, 1990


Scientists for the first time have pinpointed a genetic defect that can
cause osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Researchers at
Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia say the defective gene was
identified by studying 19 family members spanning three generations. All those
with osteoarthritis had the gene defect, but none of the healthy members had
the defect.


The federal government spends $8 billion a year on health research but does
not prevent researchers from cheating on studies in which they have a
financial interest, says a House subcommittee. A study shows that researchers
evaluating the clot-busting drug TPA and researchers touting the anti-
wrinkling effects of Retin-A had financial ties to the drugs' manufacturers.


Louisiana State University Medical Center scientists isolated two naturally
occurring compounds, leukotriene B4 and prostaglandin E2, that in moderate
amounts help prevent jaw inflammation and infection. In excess, however, the
chemicals cause inflammation and pain. Some doctors and insurance companies
consider the jawpain to be psychosomatic.

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ARTICLE -- Current Trends
Football-Related Spinal Cord Injuries
Among High School Players -- Louisiana, 1989

During the 1989 high school football season in Louisiana, four high school
players sustained cervical spinal cord injuries (SCIs) while playing football.
>From 1978 through 1988, only three such injuries are known to have occurred in
this state (National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research,
unpublished data).* Louisiana law requires reporting of all SCIs to the Office
of Public Health, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Three of the injured players were defensive backs, and one was an outside
linebacker/tight end. All injuries resulted in quadriplegia; three of the
injuries were complete (i.e., motor and/or sensory function below the zone of
injury was not preserved). The injuries occurred during evening games when the
players were tackling or blocking with the head as a point of contact but not
in the typical head-down or spearing position. The circumstances suggested
that the mechanism of injury was an axial load on a partially-flexed neck and
that the vertical force was transmitted down the length of the spine.
Previous studies have shown axial loading to be the mechanism most likely to
lead to permanent quadriplegia in injured athletes (1-3).
The Louisiana Safety and Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, a group
formed to address the problem of SCIs among high school football players, is
developing an educational program to instruct coaches and trainers on safer
methods of tackling. This program may be implemented during the 1990 football

Reported by: GM Liggett, MPH, JB Mathison, MD, Disability Prevention Program,
JL Nitzkin, MD, Director, Office of Public Health, Louisiana Dept of Health
and Hospitals. ME Brunet, MD, Dept of Orthopedics, Tulane Univ Medical Center,
New Orleans, Louisiana. Disabilities Prevention Program and Div of Injury
Control, Center for Environmental Health and Injury Control, CDC.

Editorial Note: Based on data collected by the National Football Head and Neck
Injury Registry for 1971-1975 and compared with data for 1959-1963, the
incidence of football-associated cervical SCIs increased from 0.7 per 100,000
participants to 1.6 per 100,000 participants, respectively (3). More than half
the injuries identified were attributed to use of the top of the helmet as the
initial point of contact. This mechanism of first contact became more common
because the modern helmet and face mask, developed in the 1960s and 1970s,
offers greater protection in general (3). Because of the increased occurrence
of these injuries, in 1976 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
and the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations adopted rules
prohibiting the deliberate use of the top of the helmet to strike a runner or
use of the helmet to butt or ram an opponent (3,4). The overall decrease in
the incidence of quadriplegia in high school football players, from 2.2 per
100,000 participants in 1976 to 0.4 per 100,000 in 1984, was attributed to the
successful implementation of these rules (3).
The expected number of football-associated SCIs in Louisiana during 1989
can be estimated in two ways. Based on the 1984 national rate of 0.4 SCIs per
100,000 participants (3) and the 1989 population of Louisiana high school
football players, only one such injury would be expected during a 14.5-year
period. Alternatively, based on the experience in Louisiana from 1978 through
1988, one SCI would be expected during a 3.7-year period. Reasons for the
occurrence of the four SCIs during the 1989 high school football season in
Louisiana are unknown.
At greatest risk for football-related SCIs are players who tackle by
flexing their necks and using the tops of their helmets to strike opponents
(1-3). Suggested strategies to prevent football-related cervical SCIs include
educating coaches and participants about proper tackling techniques, enforcing
existing tackling rules (1-6), educating officials about the mechanisms of
injury, strengthening the neck with proper conditioning exercises (1,6),
requiring medical examinations before participation in football and before
resumption of participation after injury (1,5), and increasing awareness among
school administrators and coaches about the proper handling of any player
injured during practice or competition (1,5,6).
In 1987, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists recommended
that traumatic SCIs be designated as reportable (7). Strengthening state-
based surveillance of SCIs will aid in identifying these catastrophic injuries
and assist in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of prevention
programs. SCI is a targeted condition in CDC's Disabilities Prevention
Program, which supports SCI surveillance and prevention activities in


1. Cantu RC. Head and spine injuries in the young athlete. Clin Sports Med

2. Torg JS, Truex R Jr, Quedenfeld TC, Burstein A, Spealman A, Nichols C. The
National Football Head and Neck Injury Registry: report and conclusions 1978.
JAMA 1979;241:1477-9.

3. Torg JS, Vegso JJ, Sennett B. The National Football Head and Neck Injury
Registry: 14-year report on cervical quadriplegia (1971-1984). Clin Sports
Med 1987;6:61-72.

4. NCAA Football Rules Changes and/or Modifications. January 23, 1976. Rule
2, Section 24; Rule 9, Section 1, Article 2-L; Rule 9, Section 1, Article 2-N.

5. Mueller FO. How to prevent athletic injuries: tackle football as an
example. In: Vinger PF, Hoerner EF, eds. Sports injuries. Littleton,
Massachusetts: PSG Publishing Company, Inc., 1986:406-10.

6. Mueller FO, Blyth CS, Cantu RC. Catastrophic spine injuries in football.
The Physician and Sportsmedicine 1989;17(10).

7. CDC. Acute traumatic spinal cord injury surveillance--United States, 1987.
MMWR 1988;37:285-6.

*National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB8605, 311 Woollen Gym, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8605.