Your Weekly Dose of #5ThoughtsFriday: A description of what we think is important at BIAMD

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Here are the 5 things we thought were
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Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Md. decided not to field a varsity team this year because not enough boys wanted to play.
(AP Photo/Ben Nuckols)
On a cool and rainy afternoon during the first week of classes at Centennial High School in this well-to-do Baltimore suburb, about 50 members of the boys’ cross-country team sauntered across the parking lot for their after-school run.

Meanwhile, about 30 kids in helmets and pads were going through drills on the pristine artificial turf field at the school’s hillside football stadium.

“It used to be the other way around,” said Al Dodds, Centennial’s cross-country coach, who has 64 boys on his team this year. “Now, there’s a small turnout in football and cross-country is huge.”

Across the athletic complex, a practice football field sat empty, even though it was recently mown and painted with yardage lines and hash marks. In years past, the junior-varsity team would have been relegated to that grass field. But on this day they had the stadium to themselves, as they will for every practice this fall. Centennial isn’t fielding a varsity football team because not enough kids signed up to play.

The situation at Centennial — where a long history of losing has dampened students’ enthusiasm for football — is unique to this part of central Maryland, but there are plenty of similar examples around the U.S. Participation in high school football is down 3.5 percent over the past five years, according to the annual survey by the National Association of State High School Federations, or NFHS.

The decline would be much steeper if not for a handful of states in the South and the West. Throughout the Northeast, the Midwest and the West Coast, in communities urban and rural, wealthy and working-class, fewer kids are playing football.

This nationwide story has a local flavor, CLICK HERE
Thanks to Everyone That Made our 2017 Scarecrow Classic 5k Run and 1 Mile Walk so Special
Especially Our Phenomenal Volunteers and Magnificent Sponsors.

See You Next Year!
Exposure to repetitive head impacts (RHI) during American football has become a significant concern to clinicians, researchers and the general community because of their association with long-term neurological consequences. 1  RHI exposure, with or without symptomatic concussions, can alter the structure and function of the brain to potentially underpin cognitive, behavior and mood deficits observed in some former amateur and professional football players.

An additional growing concern is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that can only be diagnosed postmortem and has been found in individuals exposed to RHI, particularly former American football players and boxers. Long-term clinical and neurological consequences related to RHI exposure (including those in CTE), however, are quite heterogeneous and have not been observed in all former American football players. It is hypothesized that RHI exposure interacts with other risk factors (for example, genetic and environmental) to alter vulnerability to long-term neurological dysfunction.

Age of first exposure (AFE) to football may be one modifier of later-life neurological and clinical outcomes. Youth football is played between ages of 5 and 14, a period when the brain undergoes substantial maturation in males. Exposure to RHI over a single season of youth football (without diagnosed concussions) has been associated with white matter alterations in 8–13 year olds. RHI exposure during peak neurodevelopment may disrupt normal brain maturation to increase vulnerability to long-term clinical impairments, especially in the context of continued football participation. In a study of former National Football League (NFL) players, subjects who began playing football before age 12 exhibited greater verbal memory and executive dysfunction,  and reduced microstructural integrity of the anterior corpus callosum in middle age, compared with those who began playing football at 12 or older. These findings were not replicated in a recent NFL-funded study that examined years of youth football play and clinical outcomes in a sample of 45 former NFL players.

The few studies that have reported on AFE to football and long-term clinical function are limited by small sample size, inclusion of only former  professional football players and lack of assessment of neuropsychiatric features, including behavioral and mood functioning—clinical domains affected by RHI exposure and CTE.  Here, we examined the relationship between AFE to football and behavior, mood and cognitive outcomes in a large cohort of both amateur (that is, those who played only through high school or college) and professional American football players.

Very Technical, but very interesting, CLICK HERE
Better mini brains could help scientists identify treatments for Zika-related brain damage
UCLA researchers have developed an improved technique for creating simplified human brain tissue from stem cells. Because these so-called "mini brain organoids" mimic human brains in how they grow and develop, they're vital to studying complex neurological diseases.

In a study published in the journal  Cell Reports , the researchers used the organoids to better understand how Zika infects and damages fetal brain tissue, which enabled them to identify drugs that could prevent the virus's damaging effects.
The research, led by senior author Ben Novitch, could lead to new ways to study human neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia.

"Diseases that affect the brain and nervous system are among the most debilitating medical conditions," said Novitch, UCLA's Ethel Scheibel Professor of Neurobiology and a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. "Mini brain organoids provide us with opportunities to examine features of the human brain that are not present in other models, and we anticipate that their similarity to the real human brain will enable us to test how various drugs impact abnormal or diseased brain tissue in far greater detail.

 This interesting study creates advances with numerous dramatic applications... CLICK HERE. 
 2) What We Are Reading That You Might Enjoy...
To Check Out the Commencement Address that Inspired the Writing of This Book

Based on the wildly popular commencement address, the art of asking (and answering) good questions by the Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

In  Wait, What? , Jim Ryan, dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, celebrates the art of asking—and answering—good questions. Using examples from politics, history, popular culture, and social movements, as well as his own personal life, Ryan demonstrates how these essential inquiries generate understanding, spark curiosity, initiate progress, fortify relationships, and draw our attention to the important things in life—from the Supreme Court to Fenway Park. By regularly asking these five essential questions, Ryan promises, we will be better able to answer life’s most important question: “And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?” At once hilarious and illuminating, poignant and surprising,  Wait, What?  is an inspiring book of wisdom that will forever change the way you think about questions.

For The Book CLICK HERE.

  (If you decide to buy anything mentioned in #5ThoughtsFriday, don't forget to use  Amazon Smile  and select the Brain Injury Association of Maryland as your donation beneficiary.) 
1) Quote We Are Contemplating...

"An unexamined life is not worth living ."

HEADWAY: BIAMD's eNewsletter is Online!
Check it Out by CLICKING HERE !

We are very excited to provide you an update on all that's been going on at the Brain Injury Association of Maryland and events happening in the near future!   
The Sinai Rehabilitation Center one-day course brings together an interdisciplinary team of presenters who have developed strategies to address the psychological and psychiatric needs of this complex patient population. Attendees will be guided by expert tips and knowledge to maximize treatment, improve outcomes, and facilitate patients’ successful return to their prior levels of function.

November 3, 2017

8:00am–4:30 pm

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  Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.
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