Heading to the Hospital

By Scott LaFee

May 28, 2014 3 min read

Visits to emergency rooms for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) rose nearly 30 percent from 2006 to 2010, but researchers say that's not necessarily bad news. It may be attributable to increased awareness and diagnoses.

Using numbers from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database, University of Pittsburgh scientists surveyed millions of ER visits at 950 hospitals, then looked at U.S. census data to determine incidence rates.

They found that there were an estimated 2.5 million visits to the ER for TBI in 2010, an increase of 29 percent from 2006. By comparison, total ER visits over that time period rose 3.6 percent.

The majority of the increase was due to diagnosed concussions or unspecified head injury, most notably in children under age 3 or adults older than 60. Most recorded visits were for minor injuries, and most patients were discharged without being admitted.

BODY OF KNOWLEDGE

An adult's small intestine is about 15 feet longer than his or her large intestine, but the large intestine is three times greater in diameter. The primary job of the small intestine is to extract nutrients from consumed food and drink. The large intestine's main job is to absorb water from digested matter, creating stool for disposal.

GET ME THAT. STAT!

A liter of organic milk requires 80 percent more land than conventional milk to produce, has 20 percent more global warming potential, releases 60 percent more nutrients into water sources, and contributes 70 percent more to acid rain, according to the KQED report "Food Labeling: How to Identify Conventional, Organic and GMO Produce."

DOC TALK

A hasselhoff is an emergency room patient whose injuries are the result of bizarre circumstances. The name refers to former "Baywatch" actor David Hasselhoff, who suffered a freak injury in 2006 when he hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. The broken glass severed four tendons as well as an artery in his right arm, which required immediate surgery.

PHOBIA OF THE WEEK

Agyiophobia — fear of crossing busy streets

NEVER SAY DIET

The Major League Eating speed-eating record for chicken wings, long form, is 182 in 30 minutes, held by Joey Chestnut. Warning: Not surprisingly, there was no applause from the audience of watching fowl.

OBSERVATION

"Getting fit is all about mind over matter. I don't mind, so it doesn't matter." — Adam Hargreaves, author of "Mr. Lazy's Guide to Fitness"

LAST WORDS

"God will pardon me. That's his line of work." — German poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

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