General Health

Daily Dose: 12/6/12

Play It Safe:  A new study suggests hits to the head in football or other contact sports may lead to a distinct pattern of brain damage leading to focusing issues. The trauma resulting from the hits may lead to aggression and dementia. Researchers examined the brains of 85 former athletes who experienced multiple mild head injuries over their lives. They developed a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The condition causes depression and erratic behavior and has gained attention in recent years due to the suicides of former professional athletes. Concern over CTE has alerted youth and college football programs across the U.S. to limit the number of hits to the head of athletes during games. The study describes how the condition begins with mild memory loss, progresses to cognitive failure and later results in aggression. Headaches and loss of attention occur in stage 1 and stage 2 sufferers deal with depression, outbursts, and short-term memory loss. Stage 3 involves cognitive issues and stage 4 is the most severe stage with dementia, aggression, and loss of words.

Body Language Reveals More Emotion Than Face: A new study says body language is a better indicator  of emotions than the face. Researchers showed three groups of 15 participants images of tennis players during the moments they lost or won points in competitions like the U.S. Open. Images of only the face, the body, or both together were shown. Participants were asked if the images displayed positive or negative emotion. If they saw the body with or without the face, they were able to guess whether the player was happy or upset. Those viewing only the faces were unable to distinguish between happy and unhappy players. The study showed that people use body language to understand facial expressions.