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A Little Of What You Fancy Does You Good

Aug 11, 2008
When it comes to our health insurance policies, it is a good idea to make sure we are upfront about our alcohol consumption. Regular, moderate drinking will not be penalised with heftier premiums because health insurance companies recognise the benefits of a small amount of alcohol. The good news is that there is even more evidence emerging that a little of what we fancy is good for us.

The University of Toronto have carried out studies into the degree of brain injuries suffered by those with some alcohol in their system as opposed to those with none and the results have been quite marked. For the study group that had small amounts of alcohol in their system when a head injury occurred, their survival rate was 24% higher than those with none.

For many hours after a brain injury occurs, the body has its own course of events that it follows. Swelling, inflammation and further cell destruction occur following a trauma to the head and this causes as much, if not more, damage than the original trauma, often resulting in severe disability or even death.

However, there is definitely a limit. Excess alcohol is a precursor to being 73% more likely to die from a head injury than those with no blood/alcohol ratio. The findings have opened up a new avenue in the treatment of head injuries with the possibility of an alcohol-based drip being set up for those who have experienced a head trauma.

If you think that filling in active/sporty on your health insurance application form will help, well it all depends what sort of sport it is. Amateur kick boxing is great for fitness, toning, stamina and strength but it's bad news for brain injuries.

The head is the most likely place for a kick boxer to be injured but much of the time, they don't even know it has happened. A Turkish study of the kick boxing sport found that a large proportion of amateur kick boxers were suffering with damage to the pituitary gland. This gland sits just at the base o the brain and deals with all things hormonal. When it doesn't work properly this will have a huge impact on many things, depending on the particular hormone that is being either under or over released into the bodies system.

All of this research into brain injuries can only bring good results. Brain injuries are notoriously difficult to detect and treat. Unlike other parts of the body, there isn't always the physical tell tale signs that something has gone wrong. Of course, in a major head injury case you will see the disabilities that are the legacy of the trauma. But in more minor injuries, there is the problem of long term problems such as learning and behavioural problems as well as life-long headaches. If early treatment was sought, then there is a good chance these knock on effects would be kept to a minimum.

For those serving in the armed forces, preventative measures have been taken on finding ways of identifying early brain injury. A crystal attached to a soldiers uniform will signal the extent of a blast that a soldier has been exposed to and whether or not he would need treatment.

Head injuries resulting from a bomb explosion will differ depending on how far from the initial blast the soldier is. Brain scans do not show up smaller tears in the brain but lead to long term problems when not treated. With this new device, it is possible to identify those with less traumatic injuries and get them the help they need sooner rather than later.
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