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Helmets do not promote spinal injury: John Hopkins University

Discussion in 'Research, Studies, and Data' started by robsalvv, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-news/2011/motorcycle-helmets-reduce-spine-injuries.htm

    Helmet Weight as a Risk to Neck Injuries Called a "Myth"
    March 2011 - Motorcycle helmets, long known to dramatically reduce the number of brain injuries and deaths from crashes, appear to also be associated with a lower risk of cervical spine injury, new research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests.

    "We are debunking a popular myth that wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle can be detrimental during a motorcycle crash," says study leader Adil H. Haider, M.D., M.P.H., an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

    "Using this new evidence, legislators should revisit the need for mandatory helmet laws. There is no doubt that helmets save lives and reduce head injury. And now we know they are also associated with a decreased risk of cervical spine injury."

    For more than two decades, the researchers say, activists lobbying against universal helmet laws have cited a small study suggesting that, in the event of a crash, the weight of a helmet could cause significant torque on the neck that would be devastating to the spine.

    But results of the new Johns Hopkins study, published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, shows that helmeted riders were 22 percent less likely to suffer cervical spine injury than those without helmets.

    The study reviewed and mined the National Trauma Databank, looking through information on more than 40,000 motorcycle collisions between 2002 and 2006.

    Even with what researchers say are mountains of evidence that helmets reduce mortality and traumatic brain injury after a collision, many states, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas, have over the past 15 years repealed their mandatory helmet use laws after lobbying from motorcycle riders, Haider says.

    Anti-helmet lobbyists often cite a 25-year-old study which found more spine injuries in helmet wearers. That study, has been criticized by many, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, because of flawed statistical reasoning.

    "Additionally, helmet technology has significantly improved since that time — now helmets are much lighter but even sturdier and more protective" Haider says.

    Forty years ago, Haider says, nearly all states required helmets for motorcyclists of any age in the United States. Today, helmets are mandatory for all riders in only 20 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

    Since 1997, motorcycle injuries in the U.S. have increased by roughly 5,000 per year and motorcycle fatalities have nearly doubled, according to the new journal article.

    Haider's study, like many others before, found a reduction in risk of traumatic brain injury in helmet wearers (65 percent) and decreased odds of death (37 percent).

    But the new paper, Haider says, is the strongest evidence yet that helmets significantly reduce cervical spine injury, which can result in paralysis.

    Other Johns Hopkins researchers who contributed to this study include Curt Bone; Keshia M. Pollack, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Cassandra Villegas, M.P.H.; Kent Stevens, M.D., M.P.H.; David T. Efron, M.D.; and Elliott R. Haut, M.D.

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    Discuss :)
  2. Johns Hopkins is working for The Man.
  3. Helmet laws were repealed? wow!!
  4. [​IMG]

    Seriously, why does Science have to waste so much time and effort proving the completely obvious to stupid American Rednecks.
  5. My position on helmets hasn't changed. I chose to wear one and I recommend others should as well. I can see the case why they should be compulsory, but personally I'd like it better if it were left up to the person on the bike to decide.

    At what point is it reasonable for the greater beige society to tell people what they can and can't do in their own private lives, so as to reduce their exposure to health risks? Equally - at what point is the individual justified in telling the beige society to go f#ck itself? It's a complex question, and certainly not restricted to just motorcycle helmets.
  6. Go and find an old '70s Bell Star and feel the weight of the thing. I suspect that, once upon a time, the neck injury argument held at least some water. I'm happy to accept that this is no longer the case.

    However, my own personal position basically mimics kneedragon's.
  7. Yep, just like seatbelts aren't detrimental during a car crash. Oh wait, there are certain circumstances where they actually have cause injury or death.

    In the case of seat belts, my own sister died due to internal injuries caused by the seat belt.

    In the case of helmets, it is generally accepted that a protrusion (sp) from the helmet like a rear 'spoiler' can cause the helmet to catch on the road and cause the wearers head to rotate dangerously.

    Yes wearing a helmet is safer than not wearing a helmet. But it's safer again not to crash in the first place
  8. You've got to be kidding...why waste time proving things scientifically!? Fuuuck...