February 3

Going Mental

Sunday’s Big Idea

Mental Health

The game of modern American football came about through rules changes in response to a string of deaths in the early 20th century. To make the game less brutal, for instance, the forward pass -- a marvel of mechanics -- was introduced. 

As the game has evolved, and as our understanding of degenerative brain disease has evolved, new rules are being considered, such as the NFL eliminating kickoffs -- one of the most dangerous plays in the game. But is that enough? Can physics step in and design a new helmet that will better absorb the shock of a hit?

In today's lesson, Ainissa Ramirez explains the physics involved in football, as well as the ways in which science can help to makle the game safer. 

 

  1. 1 The Brutal Physics of Football
  2. 2 Football's Concussion Crisis
  3. 3 The Curious Case of Phineas Gage
  4. 4 Can Head Trauma Cause Alzheimer's?
   
  1. The Brutal Physics of Football

    The Brutal Physics of Football

    Ainissa Ramirez, hailing from the birthplace of American football, Yale University, walks us through the major physics concepts at work in the sport.

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  2. Football's Concussion Crisis

    Football's Concussion Crisis

    Evidence is mounting that football is even more damaging to the brain than it is to the body—with links to Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

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  3. The Curious Case of Phineas Gage

    The Curious Case of Phineas Gage

    The iconic abnormal psych case of Phineas Gage provided scientists with the first hints that different functions like decision-making and language acquisition were grouped into localized areas within the brain.

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  4. Can Head Trauma Cause Alzheimer's?

    Can Head Trauma Cause Alzheimer's?

    One of the most robust environmental risk factors identified for Alzheimer’s disease is traumatic brain injury. This is having repercussions for those returning from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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