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Latest Posts

Sudden Death In Young Athletes And Routine Cardiac Screening

It’s the dog days of what seems to have been an unusually hot summer (though DrRich does not know whether it has been sufficiently warm to affect the global cooling trend we’ve been in for the past decade), and as is all too common at this time of year, we are seeing extraordinarily heartbreaking stories (like this one) about healthy, robust young athletes dying suddenly on the practice fields.

Most of these tragic sudden deaths are due to a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often does not produce any symptoms prior to causing sudden death. But it can be easily diagnosed, before exercise-induced sudden death occurs, by screening young athletes with electocardiograms (ECGs) and echocardiography.

A couple of summers ago, the New York Times wrote about such an athletic screening program at the University of Tennessee. Based on the U of T’s results, “cardiologists and other heart experts say that the screenings could help save the lives of the 125 American athletes younger than 35 who die each year of sudden cardiac death.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*

Concussions In Younger Athletes Are On The Rise

Young athlete holding headA study published earlier this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “the number of sport-related concussions is highest in high school-aged athletes, but the number in younger athletes is significant and on the rise.” Why is this? Many believe this is from better recognition of the symptoms and the need to be medically evaluated.

I did a couple of interviews with local TV news to talk about the subject (Video 1 and Video 2). In my research on this subject, I found an article from the Dayton Daily News stating that the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) passed a policy in May 2010:

Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared with written authorization by an appropriate health care professional.

In addition, on the OHSAA website there’s an entire section devoted to concussions and head injuries. I have also read that other states have taken similar steps, especially with high school and younger athletes.

If you find the videos in this post helpful, I encourage you to see my other interviews on health-related topics at MikeSevilla.TV

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*

Be Aware Of Heat Dangers In Young Athletes

Young athleteWith back-to-school time around the corner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about the risk for heat-related illness in young athletes, especially football players, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Coaches and parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, dehydration and other problems, and fluid replacement formulas should be used during practices and workouts, among other precautions, the LA Times said.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Sports Physicals For Kids: Why So “Ducky?”

Dear American Academy of Pediatrics,

I think there is a mistake. Kids have recently started coming into the office with forms for sports physicals, and the form is different. See below:


Someone added stuff to the form! Not only do we have to continue the inexplicable obsession with the hernia check (for maximum humiliation of boys, we try to use only female examiners for this), there’s a bunch of new stuff. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

Device Shows Concussion Effects Linger Off The Field

It’s an August tradition: Football training camps open, and we’re treated to warnings about working out in the heat.

In the past few years, however, when it comes to football, there’s been a new emphasis on traumatic brain injury (TBI). This has caught our eyes here at MedGadget.

We’ve covered innovative impact-sensing helmet technology before (as well as smart helmets for temperature monitoring). But for the athlete with a concussion, what happens off the field? Unless a neurologist is involved, it’s up to the players and trainers to follow guidelines or make guesses about when to return to play.

Hopefully that will change, and a device like BrainScope will lead the way. When we first covered BrainScope, they were positioning their new device, based on controversial technology, as a sideline decision-making aide. Now their research seems to be focused on the weeks and months post-concussion. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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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