This Helmet Will Save Football. Actually, Probably Not.

The New York Times

By Michael Powell 

Dec. 12, 2019

At Stanford, David Camarillo chases the dream of a helmet that can prevent brain disease related to playing football. It’s filled with water. Really. Brain experts say he’s wasting his time.

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Walk between a colonnade of palm trees and push through a door at Stanford University and find a sorcerer’s apprentice lab where prospective Ph.D. sorts beaver away at bioengineering programs.

This is CamLab, where David Camarillo, a nationally respected bioengineer and former college football tight end, and his students are in pursuit of that American El Dorado: They seek a helmet that will make it safe to play tackle football.

Dr. Camarillo, 40, insisted they could soon crack the case. He tapped at his keyboard and on the screen, watched a simulation of his new helmet shock absorber, and whispered: “This could reduce concussions by at least 75 percent. Theoretically, this is the holy grail.” That might be an unintentionally apt metaphor. No one, after all, has found Jesus’ chalice. After years of research, only a few scientists believe they can still make such a helmet. Many who study this field say a more sophisticated helmet may even prove dangerous.

“My fear is that a better helmet will give false reassurance,” said Dr. Lee Goldstein, a psychiatrist and researcher with the C.T.E. Center at Boston University, which has carried out pioneering research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head. “It’s like developing a better cigarette filter. It’s smoother and it might not give you a hacking cough. But you still get lung cancer.”

These are strange and contentious times for football. It remains America’s most popular sport. The National Football League remains a mint, pumping out revenues that have reached $15 billion annually. At the same time, youth and high school football participation has fallen steadily, driven, in part, by broad parental concern about the brutal damage wreaked by hits that shake and rattle the gray mass of mystery that is the human brain.

 Their worry is based in fact. When a 310-pound man who runs a 40-yard dash in five seconds flat slams into a running back, that runner’s neck and head accelerate, and the brain and its fibers twist and stretch and tear. A particularly rough hit could jar open the blood-brain barrier, the semipermeable wall that prevents bacterial pathogens from entering the brain.

The danger isn’t limited to the largest and fastest people. In fact, smaller repeated hits — as opposed to spectacular collisions — are the real danger. Football, brain experts say, can represent imminent danger to the brain of a child, a teenager or an adult. No advance in helmet making, they say, is likely to materially change that.

Willy Moss, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, has worked with Dr. Goldstein and the Department of Defense, seeking to develop better helmets for players in contact sports and soldiers in war zones. He has alsoconsulted with Dr. Camarillo.

He is open to a breakthrough in helmet technology, though a thin smile spoke to profound doubt.

“You can make whatever changes you want, but in the end it’s all physics,” he said. “Talking of new and better buffers is like Goldilocks and the three foams.”

Stefan Duma, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, runs a respected helmet lab that evaluates and rates them, and he has tracked the breadth of the technological leap. More sophisticated helmets and foams have reduced the acceleration of the head by about 50 percent, and all of the companies, he said, are engaged in research to develop new technologies. But he is not convinced that great advances remain. C.T.E. remains an ever-present danger no matter what a player wears on his head. “Not getting hit in the head at all is the best thing for you,” he said.

“The top five or six pro helmets are interchangeable, well designed and perform well,” he added. “But we have to be clear: This is about risk reduction.”

So the argument is joined, and there’s no doubting the stakes. The N.F.L. recognizes the threat to its future and has shoveled money into helmet and concussion research as fast as a stoker tosses coal into a furnace. It has spent $200 million, and counting, in the past decade, and the Department of Defense has poured in tens of millions of dollars of its own, hoping to find better protection for soldiers. In mid-November, the N.F.L. announced a $2 million grant competition to create a new “top performing helmet.”

Taken on its own, the $140 million football helmet business is dominated by a half-dozen companies and offers a poor profit center, as the market is small and heavily weighted down with insurance liability costs. Dr. Camarillo has applied for a piece of that N.F.L. bounty and has yet to receive money. He is principally underwritten by a grant from Stanford’s Children’s Hospital.

“My goal is not to be a consultant to football,” he said. “Really traumatic brain injury is a much bigger issue.”

And he is convinced that a better helmet can help solve it.

 



British man found guilty ofAustralian Amy Parsons' murder in London

The Age

By Henry Vaughan

November 20, 2019

London: A man who battered his Australian fiancee to death when she wanted to leave him because of his cross-dressing has been found guilty of murder in the UK.

Roderick Deakin-White, 38, repeatedly hit Amy Parsons, 35, over the head with a metal bar while she was showering in the flat they shared in Whitechapel, east London.

She suffered "horrific injuries" to her head, face and brain during the attack on April 25 before he left her bleeding to death on the floor.

Deakin-White denied murder but was found guilty by a jury on Tuesday. He faces a life sentence when he is sentenced on November 26.

The court heard Parsons, a personal assistant for a City company who was from Melbourne, became increasingly dissatisfied with the relationship, telling friends one bone of contention was Deakin-White's cross-dressing.

"She was unhappy about this and this was something he had often wanted to do when they were intimate," said prosecutor Gareth Patterson QC.

He told jurors Deakin-White became angry and jealous after Parsons began arelationship with her colleague James Saunders a few weeks before the killing.

The prosecutor said Deakin-White launched the attack after she told him she was leaving him. "Unwilling to accept that she was going to leave him, he used a metal bar to hit her repeatedly around the head while she was showering in the Docklands flat which they shared," Patterson said.

"By his blows with the bar he caused her horrific injuries and fractures to the head and face and brain."

She was left bleeding on the shower floor, and Deakin-White fled the flat before confessing to a friend, who persuaded him to hand himself in.

A post-mortem examination found she suffered major fractures to her head and face and died of a traumatic brain injury.

In interviews with police, Deakin-White admitted attacking her with a metal bar.

But denied murder, claiming it was an "accident". Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Darren Jones said: "Amy Parsons paid the ultimate price because of Deakin-White's controlling, selfish and violent nature.

"He relied on Amy's financial support and I believe he could not stand the factthat she was moving on and refused to be taken advantage of any more.

"Amy had become aware of what kind of person he was and was beginning to take steps to leave Deakin-White.

"These steps included a new relationship, free from Deakin-White's coercive and abusive behaviour.

"Because of this Deakin-White launched a vicious and brutal attack on Amy, without warning and in her own home, where she should have been safe and secure."

 



 My once-vibrant husband died of ALS, and my  complicated grief is deep

The Washingtomn Post

Democracy dies in Darkness

By Maya Vijayaraghavan

October 27, 2019

On Jan. 1, my husband asked me whether he would die that year. I said no. It happened to be my birthday, and I wanted to feel jubilant despite the tragic turn of events in our life.

I thought Rahul might have another year, that he might beat the odds of dying this year. In other words, his hazard ratio was favorable compared with someone else in his situation. He liked talking about something related, hazard scores — a composite score of one’s genetic risk for a particular outcome such as diagnosis of a disease. It was his thing as a neuroscientist-physician. He developed one for Alzheimer’s disease, and was on his way to developing one for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the disease he had been studying even before he got sick with it. In reality, he had declined significantly since his diagnosis of ALS two years prior.

First, he lost his speech, then his mobility, and very quickly breathing became a struggle. But any talk of decline came with an acceptance that his life was imminently finite, and neither of us were willing to accept that outcome. But Rahul did die, six months after that conversation.

I remember some of our last conversations, when things were very difficult. His forewarning that this existence with him teetering at the brink of life and death was much easier than the life I would lead as a widow, raising two young children.

I think neither of us really understood that the emptiness I’d feel would be soulcrushing.

That I would cry all the time. That I would miss him so much. That I would become a ghost of my former self. That this thing they call complicated grief, in which healing doesn’t occur as it’s supposed to, and which supposedly happens only after a year, is something that I feel now. That I would think constantly about the time when my husband was first diagnosed and he got into a fight with our then-3-year-old (now 5) about how he could not carry him because he did not have the strength to and not because he did not want to. That I would have nothing to say to my youngest (now 3) when he is confused that if “appa passed away” then who is his “daddy.” That I knew how much Rahul wanted to once again carry them both on his shoulders, hug and kiss them, and never let them go.

That I would think painfully of how we would never again work side-by-side, across our dining table both immersed in our science. And that with a sideward glance at his frozen body I would see him looking at me; a look that was timeless and enough to convey that he loved me forever. No matter that he could no longer hold me or say it in words.

It does not help the grieving process that I am a highly functional person. In fact, I find it a betrayal of my inner broken self. What I really should be is a mess of a person heaped up on the floor, with no distinction between detritus and self. Instead, I wake up every morning at 6 after having slept minimally the night before, get dressed, make my children lunches, drop them off at school, pick them up and be their everything; review for my internal medicine recertification board exam (no matter that it takes me a whole day to get through subject matter that I would, in my previous life, been able to complete in a half-hour); try to write scientific papers with my research team; complete the endless tasks of informing every single government body about my husband’s death; tackle rodent problem in my backyard; and yet feel completely disconnected from this world.



  1. Program to Prevent Suicide by Veterans Earns Bipartisan Support
  2. Sporty teens with concussions are three times more likely to be depressed
  3. Just one season of playing football—even without a concussion—can cause brain damage
  4. Startups fighting a 'bulletproof' mentality in men's health
  5. 'His personality changed': Michael Hutchence's sister on his traumatic brain injury
  6. Toddler suffers 'catastrophic brain injury' in alleged beating
  7. Cyclist, 70, left with head and spinal injuries after being hit by car
  8. 'Choked to the point of brain damage': Ice scourge fuels domestic violence
  9. Mass Murderer Possible undiagnosed brain damage
  10. Savage attack in Melbourne's north leaves tourist with bleeding to the brain, broken jaw
  11. Link between concussion and brain damage to ensure AFL debate rages
  12. Sports commentator Billy J Smith dies after a fall
  13. Surgeon killer could be first to get10-year term under one-punch laws
  14. Liam Neeson's nephew Ronan Sexton dies, years after serious fall
  15. Toddler burnt with lighter and hit every day in lead-up to her death, court told
  16. Patron filmed unconscious, held around neck as guard evicts him from hotel
  17. FA Cup set to introduce concussion substitute trial this season
  18. Teen fighting for life after Healesville car park brawl
  19. Police discover critically injured man at Logan Village address
  20. 'Don't ask me for compassion': Angry Anderson has not forgiven his son's killer
  21. Brain Injuries Remain Undiagnosed in Thousands of Soldiers
  22. Man dies in hospital after falling to punch in Fortitude Valley
  23. Maradona to be discharged within days, says doctor
  24. Cricket bat bashing victim fights for life after Ballajura pub brawl
  25. Diego Maradona, World Cup-winning football superstar, set to undergo brain surgery
  26. 'Country footy is way behind': The missing concussion discussion in local level Aussie Rules
  27. Autistic girls going undiagnosed due to ‘camouflaging’ behaviour, study says
  28. Lisa Montgomery to be first female federal inmate executed in 67 years
  29. Man dies after being shoved to the ground in New York mask altercatio
  30. Thomas had a rare brain cancer and no good options. Then he joined a clinical trial
  31. Nearly One-Third of Covid Patients in Study Had Altered Mental State
  32. Shaun Smith supportive of daughter Amy, signed by AFLW club North Melbourne
  33. Texas residents warned of tap water tainted with brain-eating microbe
  34. 'It's been a big day for me': Smith wants change after $1.4m concussion payout
  35. Damage Assessment
  36. What are CTE and concussion and how do they affect athletes?
  37. Danny Frawley was suffering from chronic brain disease when he died
  38. Elon Musk unveils brain computer implanted in pigs
  39. Portland truck driver apparently kicked unconscious as unrest continues
  40. Treatment for aggressive brain cancer shows promise in early trial
  41. Four-year-old injured after motorbike crashes through barriers at Sydney race
  42. 'Dangerous behaviour': Horror crash in sprint to finish leaves rider fighting for life
  43. Father charged with murder over death of six-month-old baby Beau
  44. Sickening Michael Chee Kam concussion overshadows gritty Eels win
  45. We asked veterans to respond to The Post’s reporting on Clint Lorance and his platoon. Here’s what they said.
  46. Doctors find brain issues linked to Covid-19 patients – study
  47. Widow of heart surgeon killed in one-punch attack sues Melbourne hospital
  48. Crowdfunding raises £30,000 for veteran's brain tumour surgery
  49. Boy in critical condition after fall at Sydney primary school
  50. 'I began to wonder if I would be better off ending my life': The invisible war wounds
  51. VA unlawfully turned away vulnerable veterans for decades, study says, with 400,000 more at risk
  52. Brain wiring could be behind learning difficulties, say experts
  53. Concussion: there's no knockout answer
  54. CTE discovered in Polly Farmer's brain in AFL-first
  55. Six-week-old baby nearly killed in ice-fuelled attack, court told
  56. Former hard man Ron Gibbs' chilling admission as head knocks take toll
  57. An Olympic Hockey Hero, a Violent Crime and the Specter of Brain Trauma
  58. Traumatic brain injury is a signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the military still has no objective way of diagnosing it in the field.
  59. More than 100 US troops suffered traumatic brain suffered traumatic brain in Iran strike,to report
  60. Man, 28, fighting for life nearly two weeks after Southbank attack
  61. NRL pledges initial $250,000 for landmark concussion study
  62. Veterans criticize Trump's downplaying of US troops' brain injuries
  63. Trump should apologize for minimizing troops’ injuries, VFW says.
  64. Fifty US troops left with brain injuries after Iranian rocket attack
  65. Can heading a football lead to dementia? The evidence is growing
  66. Mobile phones cause tumours, Italian court rules, in defiance of evidence
  67. Scientists create decoder to turn brain activity into speech
  68. Woman reportedly wakes up from coma after 27 years
  69. Enraged Qld dad who killed toddler jailed
  70. 'We thought it would be wonderful - we didn't know what was to come'
  71. 'We thought it would be wonderful - we didn't know what was to come'
  72. Graham must wake up to dangers of concussion
  73. Footballers focus on concussion, but there are many other risk factors
  74. Ex-AFL player sues club after retiring because of concussion
  75. When will we stop butting heads over sporting concussion?
  76. Why people with brain implants are afraid of automatic doors
  77. Christchurch mosque shooting victim, 4, suffering brain damage
  78. Link between concussion and brain damage to ensure AFL debate rages

Page 6 of 32

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