injury prevention

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JAMA: ‘Silencing The Science On Gun Research’

"Non-Violence sculpture by  Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd )Wikimedia Commons)

“Non-Violence” sculpture by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd (Wikimedia Commons)

The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association has just published a disturbing account of how research into understanding and stopping gun violence has been quashed by politically motivated defunding.

The author, Dr. Arthur L. Kellermann, points out that our experience with car accidents and other injuries shows that the insights gained from research can save lives — many lives. But……

Read the full piece here, including:

The nation might be in a better position to act if medical and public health researchers had continued to study these issues as diligently as some of us did between 1985 and 1997. But in 1996, pro-gun members of Congress mounted an all-out effort to eliminate the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although they failed to defund the center, the House of Representatives removed $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget—precisely the amount the agency had spent on firearm injury research the previous year. Funding was restored in joint conference committee, but the money was earmarked for traumatic brain injury. The effect was sharply reduced support for firearm injury research.

To ensure that the CDC and its grantees got the message, the following language was added to the final appropriation: “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”4

And it concludes: Continue reading

Caution, NPR Listeners: Reported Injuries While Walking With Headphones Triple

Please forgive this preaching, but I think I speak for all my WBUR colleagues when I say: We love our listeners and do not want our podcasts and mobile apps to hurt you. So please pay attention — and that is the point, paying attention! — to a new study that finds that reports of serious injuries in pedestrians wearing headphones have tripled in the last several years.

The victims tended to be in urban areas, under 30 and male, and about half were struck by trains. The authors of the paper in the journal “Injury Prevention” — titled “Headphone use and pedestrian injury and death in the United States: 2004-2011 — mined their data from injury databases and even Google, and came up with a total of 116 vehicle accidents, 70% of them fatal.

My speculation is that, say, an On Point segment on physics might be especially perilous.

They found that in three-quarters of the cases, witnesses reported that the victims were wearing headphones, and in about one-quarter, they said a horn or other warning had sounded before the collision.

From the press release:

“The authors say that distraction and sensory deprivation, whereby the wearer is unable to hear any external sounds, are the most likely causes. Distraction caused by the use of electronic devices has been coined ‘inattentional blindness,’ which essentially lowers the resources the brain devotes to external stimuli, they write. Continue reading