What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Heading footballs unsafe for kids

Michael Grey, a leading UK neuroscientist from the University of Birmingham has warned parents that heading footballs can be very dangerous for kids.

He said that highly-paid professional players could be risking brain injuries, even as impact of repeatedly heading a football is still unknown and calls for tougher guidelines.

He reasoned that heading can be dangerous because the neck muscles aren’t developed yet for the size of the children’s head at that age, while their brains are vulnerable to blows on the head.

New Football Association (UK) guidelines on concussion and head injuries, which was issued after a spate of on-field incidents, said that it is the team doctor‘s decision if a player can carry on. But the rules offer no guidance in relation to children and heading the ball.  

Pregnant women, foetuses at risk from germ-killers

A study by the Arizona State University (ASU) has revealed that pregnant women and foetuses exposed to antibacterial compounds may face potential health risks.

Benny Pycke said that they looked at the exposure to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women.

The researchers said that they also detected triclosan in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples they took, which means it transfers to fetuses contributing to antibiotic resistance, a growing public health problem.

The compounds are used in more than 2,000 everyday products marketed as antimicrobial, including toothpastes, soaps, detergents, carpets, paints, school supplies and toys.

Discovery of cardiac molecule to prevent heart failure

A previously unknown cardiac molecule has been discovered by the researchers that could provide a key to treating and preventing heart failure. The newly discovered molecule is known as a long non-coding RNA, which has been named as ‘Myheart’,  and carries instructions of the code from the DNA in a cell’s nucleus to the machinery in the cell that produces proteins necessary for cell activities.

Dr. Chang, director of molecular and translational medicine at the Krannert Institute of Cardiology said that Myheart was a molecular crowbar that pries BRG1 off the genomic DNA and prevented it from manipulating genetic activity.

According to the researchers, mice with stress-induced high levels of BRG1 were able to restore Myheart to normal levels using gene transfer technology and restoring Myheart levels blocked BRG1 actions and prevented heart failure.

Regular marijuana use to result in low IQ in teens

A new study has revealed that frequent marijuana use can lead to cognitive decline, poor attention and memory, and decreased IQ in teenagers and young adults. Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said that regular cannabis use, which is considered once a week, is not safe and may result in addiction and neurocognitive damage. 

She also added, that when considering legalization, policymakers need to address ways to prevent easy access to marijuana and provide additional treatment funding for adolescent and young adult users. She also recommended that legislators consider regulating levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the major psychoactive chemical in marijuana to reduce potential neurocognitive effects.

The scientists said that brain imaging studies of regular marijuana users have shown significant changes in their brain structure, particularly among adolescents. Abnormalities in the brain's gray matter, which is associated with intelligence, have been found in 16- to 19-year-olds who increased their marijuana use in the past year and these findings remained even after researchers controlled for major medical conditions, prenatal drug exposure and developmental delays.