Healthy Vision Month Interview

We read countless articles on the importance of diet and exercise to keep our brains and bodies as healthy as possible. Proper eye care is something that is equally important but is often overlooked. In an effort to encourage everyone to make their eye health a priority, the National Eye Institute began promoting May as “National Healthy Vision Month.” While today is officially the last day of Healthy Vision Month, it’s important that we continue to take care of our eyes all year long.

Because exercise usually involves taking part in outdoor activities, we wanted to speak with an expert on tips for maintaining eye health while playing sports. Philip R. Rizzuto, M.D., is an ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The Academy was founded in 1896 and is currently the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons.

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Is Professional Football Safe?

“New Data Shows 96% of NFL Players Test Positive for Brain Disease” declares the headline of a recent and alarming article from TIME magazine. Surely, if this is the case, why would anyone want to pursue a career in the sport? Well, it turns out, it may not be the case, said Alvaro Pascual-Leone of Harvard University in last night’s International Neuroethics Society event about safety in professional football.

“Much of the information we have today is based on woefully underpowered studies,” he explained. “If you want to make sound inferences of risk you need about 70 percent of the reachable public,“ which in this case would be 10,000 former NFL players (of the approximately 15,000 alive today). To put things into perspective, the study mentioned above only studied the brains of 91 former players.


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Kids and Sport-Related Concussions

People who play football have a higher number of concussions than those who play any other sport. Which comes second?

  1. Girl’s soccer
  2. Boy’s wrestling
  3. Boy’s ice hockey.

Well, you’ll have to watch the new BrainWorks video about kids and sports-related concussions to hear the answer.  I know, not fair, but trust me, it’s a great video!

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Superstitious Sports Fans


Photo credit: Isabel Poulin

During my junior year of college, my favorite baseball team, the New York Mets, made the playoffs. I watched their games with a friend, a fellow Mets fan, in the living room of our house in Michigan. We’d eat peanuts, drink beer, and, during key at-bats, pet the deer head that was mounted on the wall next to the television.

From our seats on the couch hundreds of miles from the stadium, we knew we’d have no impact on the outcome of the game. But during one game, my friend impulsively got up during a crucial moment and patted the deer on the nose. He quickly returned to his seat to watch the Mets deliver a big hit. A superstition was born. Throughout the playoffs, one of us would inevitably pat the deer head in critical situations, hoping it would bring the Mets good luck.

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Neuroscience of Sports: Concussions

When Babe Ruth was knocked unconscious for five minutes after crashing into an outfield wall in 1924, he was examined in much the same way he would be today. The protocol immediately following a concussion hasn’t changed much over the years. The major difference today is what happens next: The Babe returned to the game and even played in the second game of a double header later that day. Someone who sustains a similar injury in 2013 won’t be returning to the field that day.

The first two sessions of the adult course, “The Neuroscience of Sports: Your Brain in Action,” have dealt with concussions. Several neurology experts have spoken about the causes and treatment of concussions. Here are some of the things I have learned:

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