Thursday, August 23, 2018
Doctor's Perspective
Brain injuries not limited to football
By Dr. Anthony Policastro Football tends to get most of the publicity for head trauma in children. However, it is not the only sport that can result in brain injury due to repeated blows to the head. A good example is boxing. The purpose of this sport is to intentionally cause head injury. A 'knockout' wins the fight. Proponents of the sport try to use rationalization by saying it teaches children things like discipline. Good discipline is of no value in a brain damaged individual. A less obvious example is soccer. Concussions do occur in soccer. Most of the time they are related to unintentional collisions. What is more of a concern is the use of the head to intentionally hit the soccer ball. We have long known that the forces of a soccer ball hitting the head is approximately the same amount as the forces of getting tackled in football. We have also known that repeated heading of a soccer ball causes changes in the brain when scans are done. The degree of the changes is also associated with decreased cognitive function. The problem might not be so bad if heading was limited to occasional occurrence in a game. Unfortunately, like anything that is done well, it needs to be practiced repeatedly. It is this repetitive heading of the soccer ball that is more of an issue. Now we have a new series of scans that were done in a group of soccer players. These studies compared male to female soccer players in terms of brain damage on scans. The findings were interesting. The likelihood of abnormal scans was much higher for the women than it was for the men. In a way this is not a huge surprise. We have long known that women with concussions tend to be symptomatic longer than men. The scans actually show that there is an anatomical reason for this. Unfortunately, the study only looked at scans for 49 men and 49 women. This means that further studies will now be necessary. The studies will be used to confirm and to try to understand the findings. The implications of the findings are that soccer may not be as safe for growing brains as we might think. That is especially true in women and young girls. Football may get all the press, however, it does not have a monopoly on brain injury.

Childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts childbirth classes on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Conference Room. The class will meet for five weeks - four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week a breastfeeding class. Classes will be held on the following dates: Aug. 30, Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1; and *Nov. 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4, 11 (*Tuesdays). The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke's Mother & Baby Care Center. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes and includes a tour of Nanticoke's Mother & Baby Care Center. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Pre-registration is required for either class. To register or for more information, contact Nanticoke's Maternal Child Health clinical educator at 302-629-6611, ext. 2540.

Medicare open enrollment MAC, Inc., the Area Agency on Aging, is offering a series of free Medicare open enrollment events throughout the Lower Shore, featuring one-on-one counseling with members of MAC's State Health Insurance Program (SHIP).

Open enrollment events begin Oct. 16. Participants should bring their Medicare card and all medications in their original containers; do not bring lists of medications. Enrollment events will be available at MAC in Salisbury, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Fridays: Oct. 19 and 26; Nov. 9, 16 and 30; and Dec. 7. In addition, open enrollment will be held at MAC from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 2, and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20. An open enrollment event will also be held from 1-3 p.m. at the Delmar VFW on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Registration will begin 30 minutes before the start of each enrollment event, and participants will be seen in the order of their arrival. For more information, call 410-742-0505.

Ovarian cancer awareness campaign For the fifth year in a row, Rep. Briggs King will be teaming up with the Town of Georgetown to create greater awareness about ovarian cancer by participating in the 'Turn the Towns Teal' campaign in September.

'Turn the Towns Teal' (TTTT) is a national campaign designed to raise awareness of what has often been referred to as a 'silent disease' because ovarian cancer's symptoms are typically vague and subtle. There is no reliable diagnostic screening for ovarian cancer. As part of the campaign, and in coordination with the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation (DOCF), Rep. Briggs King, Mayor West, and their team of volunteers will tie teal-colored ribbons throughout the town's jurisdiction on Friday, Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. The first stop will be The Circle in Georgetown. Rep. Briggs King and Mayor West invite any volunteers to meet them at the Town Hall on The Circle. Together, the team will then begin hanging the ribbons on The Circle. Residents are encouraged to tie a teal ribbon on their mailboxes and sign posts on their property to show support for the awareness campaign. There is still no test for ovarian cancer so knowledge of the vague symptoms is crucial. The symptoms are vague and, if the following persist for more than two weeks, they should be discussed with a physician: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, urinary symptoms (frequency or urgency). They mimic other conditions, thus are extremely difficult to diagnose. All women are at risk, affecting 1 in 70 females of any age. For more information on Turn The Towns Teal Campaign, contact Sally Oberle, DOCF vice president and Turn The Towns Teal coordinator (463-3800 or or Dorianne Short, DOCF president (302-998-6889 or More information is also available at

Kidney Health Screening is this Sunday The National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware will bring its free KEY (Kidneys: Evaluate Yours) screening to the Manage Kidney Disease From Home event, taking place Sunday, Aug. 26, from 2 to 5 p.m., at Fresenius Kidney Care Dover Home, 1198 S Governors Ave., Dover. Admission is free, but RSVPs are required by calling Kwanda Knight at 302-922-1090. For details about this KEY screening, visit or call 410-726-8732 to speak with Nicole Scharf, associate executive director for Maryland's Eastern Shore and Delaware.