Berlin 2016: The 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport

20161027_120311The 4th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport is one of CJSM’s published pieces that gets referenced frequently. Reflecting work that took place at a conference in Zurich in 2012, it was time to have an update on the issue of sports-related concussions.  As many of you know, the 5th consensus conference just took place in Berlin.  I was sorry I could not attend, and I look forward to the publications that will emerge from this meeting.

Today’s blog post is both about the Berlin conference and the power of social media.  I have written about social media and its import in the world of contemporary sports medicine.  I have celebrated the ability of media such as Twitter to bring people from different parts of the globe together, essentially obliterating barriers of distance and time.  I have lectured frequently on the ability of social media to translate findings from research into clinical practice.

Today’s blog post is proof of that power.

CJSM is delighted to have today guest author Osman Ahmed, a lecturer in physiotherapy at Bournemouth University in the UK, a practicing sports physiotherapist for the Football Association, and a leader in the use of social media in our profession. He attended and presented a poster at the Berlin conference. I first ‘met’ Dr. Ahmed on Twitter, and we’ve begun a deepening collaboration drawing on our mutual research interests.  We continue to interact on Twitter and Google Drive, but I have yet to shake his hand! [there are some issues social media can’t resolve on its own…..yet]

Some day, I look forward to meeting Osman in person.  In the mean time, I hit him up to share with the CJSM readership his impressions from the consensus conference.   Thanks so much for taking the time, Osman.

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Impressions of a concussion consensus conference from a newbie: Berlin 2016  — Osman Ahmed

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The largest chandelier in the whole of Germany is present in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel

Few in the sports medicine community would argue that a consensus meeting has been as eagerly anticipated as the 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin this October. Since the last consensus meeting in Zurich in 2012, there has been an ever-increasing focus on sports concussion in the mainstream press [1], the scientific literature [2], and also in popular culture [3]. Given the magnitude of this conference, the impressive Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Potzdamer Platz was a fitting setting.

With so much attention on concussion in sport, there was plenty for the organising committee to work towards ahead of the conference. Read more of this post

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ECG for the PPE? A conversation with Dr. Jonathan Drezner

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Dr. Jonathan Drezner in South Africa. Photo courtesy Alison Brooks.

Highlighting the just-published issue of CJSM is the new American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) position statement on cardiovascular preparticipation screening in young athletes.  The position statement is an invaluable contribution to the ongoing discussion over the pros and cons of adding the ECG to the preparticipation evaluation/examination (PPE) to prevent sudden cardiac death/arrest (SCD/SCA).

Those familiar with this debate will be familiar as well with the lead author of the statement, Dr. Jonathan Drezner. Dr. Drezner is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington and a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.  Dr. Drezner has published frequently in our pages, most often on the subjects of the PPE and screening for SCD/SCA.

The debate over the role of ECG in the PPE is one of the more contentious in sports medicine.  We look forward to seeing how the AMSSM statement will contribute to the direction that debate will take.  jsm-podcast-bg-1

You can gain added perspective on the statement and the controversy by listening to our newest podcast — a conversation with Dr. Drezner himself.  You can access the podcast both on iTunes and you can find it on our CJSM website as well.

Enjoy the discussion, and be sure to check out the statement itself, freely available in the 2016 September CJSM.

 

5 Questions with Dr. Jane Thornton — what is the physical activity prescription?

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Jane Thornton MD, PhD (2nd from left) — Canadian Olympian and Lead Author of CASEM Position Statement

We are having a sit down with Jane Thornton, MD PhD today as part of our recurring  blog offering, ‘5 Questions with CJSM.’  Among many other things, Dr. Thornton is the lead author of the new Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) Position Statement on the ‘Physical Activity Prescription.’  This article, published in our July 2016 issue, has already drawn an immense amount of interest — it is currently free, so do not hesitate to check it out and print out/download the PDF to fully appreciate its contents.

Dr. Thornton is an extraordinarily accomplished individual who is finishing up her family medicine/sport medicine training at the University of Western Ontario.  Besides a medical degree, she has earned a Masters and PhD, doing her studies CJSM Associate Editor Connie Lebrun while at the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic.

With the Rio Olympics set to begin in a few days, it is perfect timing to conduct this interview with Dr. Thornton.  While doing all of that academic work noted previously, she was also training for the Canadian national rowing team. She rowed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with the Canadian women’s eight.  She knows a thing or two about physical activity, no doubt. In addition to her authorship of the CJSM manuscript, Dr. Thornton has co-created along with Dr. Mike Evans a website about how to #MakeYourDayHarder, advancing the notion that our every day activities offer abundant opportunity to get in meaningful levels of physical activity.

At CJSM, we have had an abiding interest in research on various aspects of physical activity (e.g. check out our recent post on #PEPA16 and Ann Gates, another mentor of Dr. Thornton’s), and so it is with great pleasure that we share with you our ‘chat’ with Jane Thornton.

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1) CJSM: How effective is an ‘exercise prescription’?  What is the evidence for this intervention?

JT: It may sound like common sense that physical activity is good for us, but it has taken us a long time to understand just how important it really is as a component of treatment. When we understand that it can lead to improved clinical outcomes in over 30 different chronic diseases, and can be as effective as medication in many instances (hypertension, stroke, and mild-to-moderate depression, to name a few), then we can’t ignore the fact that it should be something we talk about with our patients.

To best illustrate its effectiveness, though, let’s compare exercise prescription with smoking cessation counseling.  When we examine the number needed to treat (NNT), studies tell us that we need to counsel 50-120 patients to see one patient successfully quit smoking. When it comes to getting one patient to meet the globally agreed upon physical activity guidelines (150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity), however, that number drops to 12 – meaning we have an incredible opportunity to help patients make a life-changing adjustment in their lives. No one, including me, would argue that smoking cessation counseling is not incredibly important. But given the recent findings that being inactive is almost as bad for you as smoking, we really should be expanding the conversation at each clinical encounter to include exercise.

2) CJSM: What are the barriers to its use?  Why aren’t more physicians actively engaged in giving their patients an exercise prescription?

JT: The most oft-cited barriers are time constraints, lack of education and training, complex comorbidities… and the most honest among us will also bring up the point that we just don’t think patients are motivated enough or willing to change. Interestingly, if we demonstrate a belief in patients, they will usually rise to the challenge. It may also come as no surprise that doctors who are active themselves are also more likely to counsel their patients to be active. A big obstacle in many countries is, of course, remuneration. It’s hard for some to justify time spent counseling on exercise if there is no billing code they can tack on. That one is a tougher nut to crack. Policy makers should take comfort in the fact that the practice of exercise prescription is also cost-effective.

3) CJSM: You are active on Twitter – if you could compose a 140 character Tweet for the CASEM position statement, what would it be?  Read more of this post

Doctor, Doctor — Give Me the News!

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CJSM at CASEM 2014 with Pierre Fremont [L], former CASEM President & one of the authors in the new CASEM Position Statement

CJSM has always had a close relationship with the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM).  CASEM is, after all, our mother — we were ‘born’ 25+ years ago as the “Canadian Journal of Sport Medicine.”   In the journal, on the podcasts and on these blog pages, CASEM shows up frequently.

Something else that shows up frequently in CJSM media:  research on the benefits of physical activity.  And so it’s not surprising to see in our current issue that CASEM is taking a hard look at the issue of “Exercise is Medicine” and is publishing with CJSM (and other journals) a position statement on the “Physical Activity Prescription:  A Critical Opportunity to Address a Modifiable Risk Factor for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease.”

The list of authors involved is a list of sports medicine heavyweights, including several MD/PhDs who have a presence on social media:  if you are not currently following folks like lead author Jane Thornton MD, PhD and former CASEM President Pierre Frémont MD, PhD and BJSM Editor-in-chief Karim Khan MD, PhD….you should.

These ‘doctor doctors,’ as I like to call my colleagues who have fought the good fight to earn an MD and a PhD, have produced a powerful statement that will have significant influence on how physicians can play a role in addressing the worldwide crisis of sedentary behavior.  The global problem of inactivity especially in children has been an ongoing concern of mine, and it has puzzled me that when I have spoken on this issue I frequently find that physicians feel as if they are on the sideline of this battle.  We collectively throw up our hands and say the problem is too big, or it’s not a clinical medicine problem it’s a public health issue.

But our patients are looking to us for guidance on this issue.  They really do ‘want the news.’ As the authors note in the position statement, “Over 80% of Canadians visit their doctors every year and prefer to get health information directly from their family physician. Unfortunately, most physicians do not regularly assess or prescribe physical activity as part of routine care,  and even when discussed, few provide specific recommendations.

They continue, “Physical activity prescription has the potential to be an important therapeutic agent for all ages in primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of chronic disease.”  Indeed, Robert Palmer, the singer of “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)” fame, could not have known how prescient he was when he penned the lyrics, “no pill’s gonna cure my ill…..”  He was talking about love, but he may as well have been talking about the chronic diseases associated with physical inactivity. Prescribing a pill won’t cure this ill: the physical activity prescription, delivered and acted upon, is required.

The beauty of this position statement is that it gives evidence-based tools that primary care physicians as well as sports and exercise medicine physicians can use in their practice to stem the tide of the inactivity epidemic.  I know this statement will be widely read and disseminated; it will be referenced frequently.  I am looking forward even more to seeing its principles put in action by me and my colleagues, around the world–both in our clinics and in the venues where we train future physicians.

Look it over now.  It’s free!  What’s stopping you?

 

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