Astronomy

Biology

Chemistry

Computer Science

Earth Science

Engineering

Math

Medical

Microbiology

Neuroscience

Optics

Social Science

Physics

*****

Espaņol

Sign-up for FTK Bulletin

Medical
  

Preventing Deaths on the Playing Field

STANFORD, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A 16-year-old drops dead during football practice. A college senior collapses on the soccer field. One in 500 athletes have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart problem that can end in tragedy, and most people don't even know they have it. One college is changing the way testing is done in the hopes of saving young lives.

You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player. Click here to download and install it.

These young athletes look healthy, but without knowing it they could be suffering from the deadly heart disorder HCM. The heart wall grows thicker, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood, and then stopping it altogether.

Former college football player, turned high school football coach, Orion Latin knows what it takes to stand out on the field. So do his players.

"They push themselves past the point of exhaustion," Latin told Ivanhoe. "They're trying to impress. They're trying to impress their coaches, and their fellow teammates so whenever that happens, it becomes a problem."

"During hell week, we call it, where we're running up and down hills, stuff like that, it feels like you can't go sometimes, but you just push through it," quarterback Alex Howard said.

"It's a lot of work," tight end Stephan Galaski added.

"We have to back peddle, or sprint, or do a push up, or like side shuffle. It takes a toll on you," high school football player Stephen Dowd said.

"Just run, puke, workout, and do it all over again," said running back Julio VanDierendoico.

Now, cardiologists are developing new ways to identify HCM before athletes develop deadly changes in their heart rhythm.

"It's tragically the most common cause of sudden death in young people and in athletes," Euan Ashley, M.D., a cardiologist at Stanford School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif., said.

Traditionally, screening used a simple questionnaire.

"Most athletes also know that if they write a bunch of things down on the questionnaire, the chances are that they may not be allowed to play," Dr. Ashley explained.

Doctors at Stanford are getting to the heart of the problem, screening all athletes with electrocardiograms to find irregular heart rhythms or arrhythmias.

"That takes maybe three or four minutes in total," Dr. Ashley said. "There are 10 electrodes -- little stickers -- that get put across the chest and on the four limbs, and that gives us 12 electrical views of the heart."

HCM screening is controversial. Cost is the main issue. But these Stanford physicians say their mass ECGs costs less than $1 an athlete. A spokesperson from the American Heart Association says they are not in a position to recommend the impossible and that they just don't have the manpower to create a national program.

But as these young athletes push their bodies, some believe it's not something we should think about any longer. It's something we need to implement now, before any more young lives are lost. After Italy mandated testing for HCM, incidence of sudden death in competition decreased by 90 percent. Here in the U.S., advanced testing is required for all pro athletes, but not for college or high school athletes.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Terra Coakley
Administrative Contact
(650) 498-4900
tcoakley@cvmed.stanford.edu


This Month's TV Reports
Preventing Deaths on the Playing Field

One in 500 athletes have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- a heart problem that can end in tragedy. Most people don't even know they have it. Now, one college is changing the way testing is done in the hopes of saving young lives.

 

Detecting Bombs, Saving Lives

As witnessed in the Oscar-winning film the hurt locker, they can be hidden anywhere and made out of just about anything. Improvised explosive devices or IEDs are hard to find, but a student competition found a new way to detect danger before it's too late.

 

Phantom Traffic Jams

Small disturbances like hitting the brakes too hard or tailgating can lead to phantom traffic jams, but now mathematicians are using their skills to try to understand and solve the problem.

 

Killing Our Oceans

Seventy-one percent of the earth's surface is covered with water. Fifty percent of all of life on earth is found in the ocean. But their home may be in danger. Dead zones are appearing and spreading around the globe.

 

Trash Your Running Shoes: Go Barefoot!

It's time to trash those sneakers. Running barefoot is the new fitness fad!

 

Making Melanoma Self-Destruct

For the thousands every year who need more than surgery to battle melanoma, a new drug begin developed by a research facility in Spain could be the answer.

 

Parents Preventing Asthma Attacks

Asthma is the most common chronic illness children face. It affects over five million kids in the U.S. It's not a curable disease, but the symptoms can be eased with a few simple routines at home.

 

Doctors Playing Doctor

Every year 36,000 U.S. children are born with heart defects -- abnormalities that keep their hearts from functioning properly, putting their lives at risk. Now, a virtual tool is giving surgeons a new way to predict and improve the outcome for these tiny patients, before they ever get to the OR.

 

Two Blindness Breakthroughs

Every five seconds, someone in the world goes blind. Six million people in the United States are losing or have lost their sight to eye disease. By 2020, that number is expected to double. But researchers may be on the trail to a cure for blindness.

 

Taking Math to the Streets

Hours spent in school or doing homework with word problems, algebra and geometry can create a math phobia for many students, who end up frightened by math as adults. But looking at mathematics in a different way can help people learn to love it.

 

Creating Science Masterpieces

As engineering students at Georgia Tech were trying to develop a new material to clean emissions from engines, they also discovered something beautiful: works of art.

 

Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies

For many parents, getting kids to eat their vegetables is a battle. It often requires patience, persistence, and maybe a little pleading on the side. Researchers say the reason some kids have a tougher time than others may be in their genes.

 

Prior Reports
A joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics.
  Ivanhoe Broadcast News
2745 West Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 740-0789
http://www.ivanhoe.com

American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 19740-3843
(301) 209-3100
http://www.aip.org/dbis
  P.O. Box 865
Orlando, Florida 32802
scitech@ivanhoe.com
 
  © 2010 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.  
DBIS