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Study Looks At The Effectiveness Of Ski Helmets In Preventing Head Injuries

Child with a ski helmet.Ski season is upon us. Many experts (including myself) are of the opinion that helmets should be worn by all downhill skiers and snowboarders to help prevent head injuries. One of the “con” arguments proposed by some persons who object to wearing helmets is that they interfere with skiing in such a way as to perhaps make it more dangerous. In their opinion, this might occur by obscuring peripheral vision or diminishing the perception of sound. A very important article entitled “Do Ski Helmets Affect Reaction Time to Peripheral Stimuli?” (Wilderness & Environmental Medicine:22,148-150,2011) has recently been published by Gerhard Ruedl and colleagues from the Department of Sports Science at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

The investigators sought to determine whether or not ski helmet use affects reaction time to peripheral stimuli. They used the Compensatory-Tracking-Test (CTT) in a laboratory situation to study 10 men and 10 women during four conditions in a randomized order: Read more »

This post, Study Looks At The Effectiveness Of Ski Helmets In Preventing Head Injuries, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Ski Season, Knee Injuries, And Posterior Cruciate Ligament Tears

We’re in ski season and so a few unfortunate individuals will suffer few knee injuries. A while back, a reader asked me to describe an uncommon injury, which is a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

This injury usually occurs during a fall. As you can see from the drawing, the PCL keeps the lower leg bone (tibia) from moving too far back in relation to the upper leg bone (femur). If a sudden unnatural force is applied, usually a direct blow to the front of the lower leg near the knee while the knee is bent, the tibia is jammed backwards and the PCL may be torn. In the skiing situation, this usually happens during a fall and a tumble, when someone strikes an immovable object, or when the knee is bent or “twisted” and struck forcefully from the side.

The immediate sensation is pain, and there may be a feeling of instability to the knee, particularly when trying to walk or change levels (e.g., walk over the snowpack or on stairs). When the injury occurs, there usually is not the “pop” sensation noted with an anterior cruciate ligament tear. However, the knee will almost always swell, because there is bleeding into the knee joint and/or soft tissue swelling. Read more »

This post, Ski Season, Knee Injuries, And Posterior Cruciate Ligament Tears, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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