Concussion Clarity: A conversation with Dr. Jeff Kutcher

From headers in soccer to football tackles to hockey hits, today’s student athletes and their parents have many reasons to monitor brain health. Jeff Kutcher, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan and the Director of Michigan NeuroSport, took audience questions in a live webcast on Thursday, August 13th. Watch the full Google Hangout below, or scroll down to read Dr. Kutcher’s take on a few important questions about concussions.

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Concussions not a death sentence for athletes

UM expert to present insight at SXSW festival

Every March, the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas becomes the epicenter of hip. At first glance, a neurology presentation doesn’t fit alongside the bands, innovative documentaries, and showcases of transformational technologies. Actually, at second glance it doesn’t either!Dejected

This is exactly why I’m partnering with Super Bowl champion and brain trauma patient advocate Ben Utecht to bring some sports neurology to SXSW. Ben is an accomplished musician and entertainer as well, so I’m hoping he can bring the hip.

Ben and I will be joined by New York Times sports contributor and Michigan State University sports journalism professor, Joanne Gerstner. Together, we hope to use the incredible social reach of SXSW to bring a well-measured, yet passionate, conversation about sports concussion to the masses. Our panel discussion “Does Playing Sports Equal Brain Damage” will be Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m. CT.

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New treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis on horizon

U-M leads worldwide MS clinical trial

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a major autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the insulating
membranes (myelin) that surround the nerves within the central nervous system. MS onset is generally at the prime of life, between ages of 15 and 45. More than 500,000 people in the U.S. have MS, and there are 10,000 new cases every year. The University of Michigan Health System is actively involved in finding newer, better treatments for MS—and its related diseases.xray blog

As a physician and researcher in the area of multiple sclerosis (MS), I am often asked if there are new treatments and medications on the horizon. Thanks to years of research, the answer is yes, and I’m pleased to say that the University of Michigan is a major leader in some of the most important issues surrounding MS today. We’re trying to find the links between MS and other autoimmune diseases. We’re also conducting a new clinical trial and mechanistic study that may uncover a new treatment for secondary progressive MS. Approximately 85% of patients with newly diagnosed MS have relapsing-remitting MS . About 10-15 years after diagnosis, 50% of these patients will develop secondary-progressive MS , which is associated with significant disability. Finding a new treatment for this large group of people will make a significant impact on people’s lives. We’ve recently been given the tools to combat a disease that is a leading disabler of young adults.

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Of mice and muscles: Dystonia discovery may help patients

Persistent team of U-M scientists study neurological condition that twists muscles of kids and adults

Dystonia causes muscles in the neck and limbs to twist or contract uncontrollably, in children and adults.

Dystonia causes muscles in the neck and limbs to twist or contract uncontrollably, in children and adults.

Twist and hold your neck to the left. Now down, and over to the right, until it hurts.

Now imagine your neck – or arms or legs – randomly doing that on their own, without you controlling it.

That’s a taste of what children and adults with a neurological condition called dystonia live with every day – uncontrollable twisting and stiffening of neck and limb muscles.

The mystery of why this happens, and what can prevent or treat it, has long puzzled doctors, who have struggled to help their suffering dystonia patients.

But a persistent team of University of Michigan scientists have finally opened the door to a new way of answering those questions and developing new options for patients.

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Shaky hand, stable spoon: High-tech help for essential tremor

U-M doctor tests shake-canceling device invented by U-M engineering grad

spoontremor.fwImagine picking up your spoon to enjoy a nice hot bowl of soup – only to find that your hand seems to have grown a mind of its own. Instead of bringing your spoon to your lips, your hand shakes and jerks, spilling soup everywhere.

For people with the nerve condition called essential tremor, which makes their hands shake uncontrollably, that frustrating, embarrassing scenario could happen any time they try to eat. And that leads many of them to shun restaurants, parties or even family meals.

But a new handheld electronic device can help such patients overcome these tremors when they eat – and potentially other tasks that involve holding something in their shaking hands.

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Protecting Olympic brains from concussion & more

U-M sports neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher heads to Sochi as part of Team USA

Concussion expert Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D.

Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D. has been named part of the U.S. Olympic medical team

On February 7, as the world’s eyes turn toward Sochi, Russia and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, a U-M doctor will take to the snow and ice alongside America’s athletes.

Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., is a sports neurologist whose expertise in concussion care has earned him a place on Team USA’s medical staff – and a role watching over the brains of any National Hockey League player on any Olympic team.

These roles – and his role as director of the U-M NeuroSport program for patients, as a team physician for U-M Athletics and a leader in American Academy of Neurology’s sports neurology section – are keeping him super-busy. But he stopped long enough to answer a few questions.

Q: Did you ever dream of going to the Olympics?

A: Growing up, I played hockey and thought about what it might be like to go as an athlete. As the limits Continue reading