Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Practicing soccer football heading while reducing impacts

Recent research is starting to show athletes don't have to sustain a concussion to suffer brain injuries, mild repeated bumps to the head even from heading can cause injury over time.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-heading-a-soccer-ball-cause-brain-damage/
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soccer-players-show-signs-of-brain/
http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200131050-00006

As a brain injury researcher myself I don't think we should wait for the research to complete to take action because research is never complete and many athletes will already have sustained injuries. 

Some soccer football programs are going so far as to ban heading: 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2202960/Youth-soccer-program-BANS-heading-players-age-head-injury-concerns.html

As an alternative to an outright heading ban is to practice heading with a lighter rubber ball to develop technique, strengthen neck muscles, and reduce the total number of heading impacts. This is especially important for younger players who's brains are still developing. With light rubber ball practice the players will have the strength and control to use correct form possibly reducing the risk of injury when they are older and in games and do head the ball. 

[Possible heading practice ball: http://www.amazon.com/Spalding-High-Bounce-Ball-Pack-4/dp/B001R58J1Y/ref=pd_sim_t_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=1GQWVBTMATB132WB4QXE]


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Medical pyramid

I view medicine as a pyramid. Starting with how we live and eat to how we take care of our own health to regular checkups to basic medical care to treatment and to emerging treatments. In America we are good at the top of the pyramid but we lack a base. If fact we have a negative base. We engineered daily exercise out of our lives by building our country for cars not people. And through the farm bill we subsidize farmers to grow endless amounts of starch and corn syrup. But at the top of the pyramid the government funds cutting edge medical research. If our intention is our health we need to encourage exercise within our daily routines by rebuilding for people first, people walking and cycling and encourage farmers to grow a variety of whole foods instead of focusing on starch and oil.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Get out of the road business

The federal government subsidizes roads by adding income tax money to the highway fund since the gas taxes are insufficient. This causes the federal government to subsidize suburban sprawl and driving which naturally increases air pollution and discourages alternatives to driving. Since raising gas taxes is unlikely to happen we don't we propose getting the federal government out of the road business completely. Eliminate the gas tax along with federal highway subsidies. States have smaller budgets and less ability to borrow than the federal government so states can't endlessly subsidize roads. The states will figure out how to pay for roads, and it is likely to be gas taxes and tolls. If a state chooses to fully subsidize it's own roads it will not affect other states much. Liberals and conservatives could agree on this strategy, it eliminates federal taxes, increases state control, and in the end makes a fairer playing field between cars and other modes of transportation in the states that choose to make this fairer playing field. Light rail, subways and buses could raise fairs to pay for themselves reducing their own dependency on government subsides and still be price competitive against the most likely less subsidize state controlled roads.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Public databases

There are some many public databases available. They become even more powerful when we connect them together. This is from PCR probe and primer design. http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2002/01/04/deodas.html

Friday, March 21, 2014

Connecting the parts

We have the parts and the experts to do amazing things. We have experts in genetics, medicine, surgery, anatomy, electronics, physics. The experts have developed amazing tools and knowledge. If fact experts often know their field in such depth an outsider has trouble understanding. The lack of outsider understanding prevents the expert knowledge and tools from being combined together in new ways. The specialists need to learn to explain their fields to each other so they can connect the parts together to solve new problems in medicine and beyond.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Motion is easy to see

In this image I am trying to visualize where the perfect centerline is unclear by motion. I generated several centerlines for the same arteries from multiple starting points. The places you see moving are where the centerline algorithm was unsure where to put the centerline and drew different centerlines based on the starting point. The motion in the image makes it clear to the eye where the centerline is ambiguous. Making your data move is a great way to see what's going on.
Centers of the same arteries, moving centerlines are where the algorithm is less sure
3D brain arteries

In a great place - make a great place

This is my recommendation for Swampscott's town development meeting. Swampscott is a small town in beautiful place by the ocean and I would love to be able to walk around town more. Walkable communities are healthier having lower rates of obesity and diabetes, property values are higher because people want to live in walkable communities and there aren't enough of them. To get to a walkable community we need to develop infrastructure for walking and bicycling like more sidewalks and trails. We need to build mixed use higher density living/working/shopping/recreation zones so that people live and work close to things they want to walk to. Higher density mixed use development is made by permitting taller buildings with street level shopping, office and condo living at higher levels. The higher density needs to be offset by more public green spaces which will benefit the entire community more than individual back yards. And higher density living frees up more space for public use. And we should supply paid parking. Charging market rates for parking ensures that there is parking when you need it and discourages driving when you don't need to. Switching people from cars to foot creates a positive feedback loop because when more people walk drivers expect walkers and reduce pedestrian accidents which makes more people want to walk. Mixed use development is also lower crime because multiple uses like living/working/shopping put more eyes on the street at different times keeping a watch on things. Swampscott is in a great place - let's make it a great place.
King's Beach
King's Beach