Scientific American Podcast

Thanks to Twitter we stumbled upon a podcast from Scientific American that was done by Stone Phillips and included Harry Carson and Dr. Bennet Omalu.  You can find Part one HERE.

It is one of the few times we have heard Dr. Omalu in the public talk about the past and future of his work.  The entire podcast is over a half hour in length, but there are some very interesting exchanges.  I am not a very good transcriptionist so I will highlight the sections that I find interesting;

6:30 – Omalu discusses how he came across the Webster autopsy

8:05 – Omalu discusses how he feels the NFL tried to discredit him

9:05 – Omalu; “any doctor who say CTE is not for real is a joke.”

10:22 – Carson; “I also knew at that time they [NFL] said there is absolutely no correlation… until they got pulled in front of congress…”

12:35 – Carson discusses how Mike Webster filed for disability and its course

13:53 – Omalu discusses a potential breakthrough in detecting CTE in the living – using nuclear med/imaging technology (PET)

15:59 – Omalu discusses how “every impact” you brain sustains allows for abnormal proteins to accumulate in the brain

18:55 – Carson discusses how he started to sense problems after his 5th or 6th year

20:17 – Carson on how every parent who wants their children to play football should be informed

25:25 – Carson talks about the calls he gets about players with issues

26:30 – Discussion on the NFL lawsuits

28:40 – Phillips discusses why he is interested in this story, including his Ivy League concussion


3 thoughts on “Scientific American Podcast

  1. A Concerned Mom May 25, 2012 / 10:30

    I listened to this a while back, but it’s well worth a second listen (was hoping there might be a part 2 available).

    “15:59 – Omalu discusses how “every impact” your brain sustains allows for abnormal proteins to accumulate in the brain”

    Omalu indicates that abnormal proteins will clear is 3 months … but, what happens when a youth athlete continues playing and possibly even goes on to compete in another high contact/collision sport?

    The nuclear medicine/imaging technology (PET) sounds like it might be a breakthrough (of course, it will be interesting to hear what others in the field say). Could be a real game changer if living athletes can be diagnosed with CTE.

  2. A Concerned Mom May 25, 2012 / 19:08

    I believe the Bailes in the linked video is Dr. Bailes’ son (who’s part of BIRI with Omalu). This video is a shorter version of the abc nightline segment (which is also available online).
    Can’t help but find humur in “children will be trained to use their shoulders instead of their head for contact.” Obviously, a better choice, yet sad that it’s considered part of so called “groundbreaking changes.”

    “Not long ago, it was the Thomas family signing up their nine year old son Owen. He would later go on to be a star all the way to captain of Penn’s football team.

    But in 2010, Owen committed suicide…”

    “Next month, “Pop Warner” will announce groundbreaking changes. Children will be trained to use their shoulders instead of their head for contact. A step forward but for the Thomas family, it is too late.”

  3. A Concerned Mom May 26, 2012 / 14:11

    This podcast of an interview with Dr. Omalu is about 5 years old, but around the 22 minute mark he said something I don’t think others have stated as clearly. He indicated that the younger you are at your first concussion and the more subconcussions/concussions and the longer the duration of play, the more likely you are to have the disease. He said there seems to be a threshold at which the brain loses its ability to heal itself (I believe he said the accummulation of tau proteins is due to a metabolic abnormality). He also stressed that even one concussion is dangerous, and that younger developing brains are more at risk (children more likely to have adverse outcomes). Earlier in the podcast, he mentioned that CTE tended to occur without the presence of the motor symptoms seen in boxers. The disease tends to impact higher cognitive functions (mood, memory loss, major depression, executive function).

    “Dementia of Football”: The Next Major Public Health Issue? June 14, 2007″

    “Join us in this fascinating conversation with Dr. Omalu where we discuss this newly emerging syndrome in detail and ponder what could very well be one of the next major public health issues to affect athletes – both amateur and professional – worldwide.”

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