08 October 2013

Daily Morsels--October 8, 2013

Nutritional Supplements for Mental Disorders-I am not one to recommend nutritional supplements for emotional issues or mental disorders. I think a lot of what shows up in the blogosphere regarding nutritional supplementation in general is a whole lot of hot air. I suspect the author of this article, Matthew Stanford, would agree with me. I am familiar with his work and was previously a respondent to a presentation he did on the biology of sin, though his book Grace for the Afflicted is my favorite of his writings. Given this, he recommends the possibility of three supplements: Phenibut, 5-HTP, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. *I should note this does not constitute medical advice and if you are experiencing emotional or psychological issues, you should speak with your doctor. 

NFL concussions--here we go again--My friend Zach posted this link on his blog. Here was the comment that I left.

I find that I say this a lot. How the media is portraying this is well ahead of the field of neuroscience. The media has found a great story in the "poor head injured NFL players", even while discounting the fact that there is pretty stark disagreement between scientists who study this phenomenon. Just this summer, there was a very significant debate between Robert Stern (who is the media's darling regarding his work on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and Chris Randolph. Each of these men are well-respected neuroscientists who work in the field of concussion. What I have observed in following this theme is that the CTE promoters are making pretty big leaps in his interpretations based on just a few people. Furthermore, the people they are basing their findings on have had many more issues (drug use, chronic pain, depression, etc.) that may or may not be attributable to having had concussions. Frankly the jury is still out by a long way.

I am more concerned about how this will affect future generations. I am not saying we should not be appropriately cautious with concussion management, but I fear the pendulum has swung too far. Parents would rather have their kids sitting on the couch playing Madden 2014 and eating Cheetos than playing a sport where injuries are a potential risk.  The legalities and financial concerns (e.g., prohibitive liability insurance) for schools are often unmentioned as well. 

I really wish the media would do a better job of providing balanced perspectives on these issues, but all one must do is watch the news and realize that balance is clearly out of favor.

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