Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy

The above article is a detailed description from Wiki of this disturbing pathology.


I recently listened to another fantastic Malcolm Gladwell presentation on You Tube  , he was speaking at the University of Pennsylvania on 2/14/2013.  He speaks about the contribution of statistics to public health and how it has changed the mining industry , that change however took many years even when the statistics were obvious, the same may be happening for CHRONIC TRAUMATIC ENCEPHELOPATHY


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Gladwell has become a kind of champion for underdogs , outliers , misfits and for the ‘hiddden truth’ , through his books :







In this engaging dicussion he describes the plight of miners in America and the respiratory problems  they experienced which had an obvious connection to the Industry of mining, however the claims that a ‘correlation ‘ existed  were denied by those deriving large financial gain from mining.  Their denial  at that time was supported by the   American Medical Profession of that time .  It was not until the work of an early statistician Frederick Hoffman that this ‘connection’ with  Coalworkers Pneumoconiosis also termed  ‘miners asthma’ was considered to be a public health issue. Gladwell discusses Hoffman’s contribution and he further reflects on the fact  that even when there are strong relationships illustrated between disease and ‘lifestyle ‘ factors , we can find reasoning and justification to ignore a major threat to health , such as also displayed in the Tobacco Industry over many years.  Indeed Hoffman had indicated through the presentation of statistics that there was some  relationship between tobacco and health and tobacco at that time in the 1900’s .   Sadly even Hoffman himself succumbed to the pressures of traditions and ‘norms’ in his work ‘Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro’ which rated Black Americans as uninsurable.

He is  an exciting speaker and brilliant author , having created a great reputation through his works ;  The Tipping Point , David and Goliath  and Outliers .  Through his writing and presentation  he  subtley charms our interest, and  drawing us quietly  into his intellect.. He eventually   presents with a truth  which becomes moral challenge – What are we guilty of as part of Society ? Are we capable of protest when the need arises?  Are we no more than a gigantic ‘Goliath’ through our buisness interests, Are we oppressive? In that Oppression , will we fall fate to a lesser armed  David?’ (taken from the Biblical Story of David and Goliath) .  What I think Gladwell asks us is :  ARE WE WILLING  TO CHANGE – that is from the Oppressed to Freedom Fighter , From Oppression to  Understanding and Collaboration.  Once we are given knowledge – WILL WE USE IT to CHANGE our LIVES or to REFUSE to be part of ANY SYSTEM that places WEALTH BEFORE HEALTH , OPPRESSION BEFORE FAIRNESS.    As a member of  of the very society that ‘makes the rules’ , there is a danger that our   beliefs and attitudes that belong to the status quo are destructive and unfair. Voices of ‘change’ come in many forms – as far as regards health ‘statistics’ can be essential to indicate problem areas .  Lifestyle changes run paralell with the most elaborately engineered pharmacology.  One of my favorite quotes calling us to beware of ‘convention ‘ comes from  the clinical handbook we use in practice here at the Osteopathic Clinic in Birmingham as a source  for Medical Reference :


‘Conventions and traditions , I suppose , work blindly but surely for the preservation of  the normal type; for the extinction of proud resolute and unusual individuals… Society must go on, I suppose, and society can only exist for the normal ; if the virtuous and slightly deceitful flourish, and if the passionate, the headstrong, and the too truthful are condemned to suicide and to madness

Chapter 17 Clinical Chemistry

Maybe a little too strong ?? Voices of change and difference is rarely applauded until there are ‘casualties’.  Ive posted it Facebook , I await interesting debate concerning the convention of the  Status Quo vs  the individual , I am curious about how far society can collude in matters concerning disease health or poverty when there is an obvious advantage to prestige, comfort or wealth.

Such a question may be reflected in the way we enjoy sport or would rather not know about the working conditions  of those in third world . Tradition and wealth can seem to allow the most destructive kind of ignorance , which can only be stopped by education, discussion and protest.

In the aforementioned presentation Malcolm Gladwell discusses Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy . As this is a ‘medical ‘ subject it is entirely appropriate for us to discuss at spinalsolutions . It is the result of  a deterioration in the brain tissue of important functioning areas of the human brain and is provoked by trauma over a long  period of time to the brain .

This trauma is especially evident in American Football which has high levels of contact as part of its general play . Its not that the game is ‘WRONG’ and should not be considered ‘SPORT’ its just that the rules of play may be able to be adjusted to limit the amount of trauma. In fact  even if that were not possible then  ‘TESTING’ protocol may be designed that identifies problems earlier rather than later.  We dont have a popularised  ‘American Football ‘ League here in the UK and Im not sure if the velocity and intensity of the impact is the same with our ‘Rugby’ players .  However my  personal reservations are around the emerging popularity of MMA or Mixed Martial Arts .  Much of the contact is very close quarter especially in the ‘Ground and Pound’  type of encounter –  1 competitor is on the gound the other is kneeling over with rapid punches to the head over a short distance .   I am not going to get involved in a discussion concerning levels of ‘Barbarism’ or societies ‘need’ for high risk contact sports as an ‘evolved violence’ , my interest lies in the levels of injury sustained over a long term period.


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