The Pulse: March/April 2003

The Pulse: March/April 2003

Loose Socket
If you dislocate your shoulder on the slopes, you should get it popped back into place ASAP. But if you stop the treatment there, the injury may keep coming back. A recent study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed that people who have arthroscopic surgery to repair ligaments damaged in initial dislocations are 85 percent less likely to suffer another painful unhinging.

Help for the Cold-Blooded
Normally, when the mercury falls, blood vessels in the fingers and toes constrict a bit to reduce heat loss. But for the 10 percent of the population with Raynaud's Phenomenon-a disorder that causes an unusual sensitivity to cold temps-the extremities turn unbearably icy. Researchers believe they've finally discovered a way to prevent Raynaud's: By blocking the interaction between norepinephrine, a chemical that maintains blood pressure, and receptors on the skin's blood vessels, they were able to stop the vessels from constricting. A pill is in the pipeline.

Put a Lid On It
After tracking injuries at Denver's Saint Anthony Central Hospital from 1982 to 1998, doctors came up with some mind-blowing stats: Of the 1,214 skiers and snowboarders admitted to the trauma center, only one was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Thirty percent had head injuries-and half of those were due to collisions with trees. Boarders were three times more likely to knock their noggins than skiers. The moral: Check out page 100 for our hard-hat reviews.

Snowslide Survival 101
There's more proof that the Black Diamond AvaLung ( could be a lifesaver. In a small University of Utah study, two groups of volunteers were fully buried in snow. Those who used a breathing device to remove exhaled carbon dioxide lasted an average of 88 minutes. Those who didn't-relying on their air pocket alone-needed an out after just 10 minutes. Another Utah study found that 61 percent of avy deaths showed evidence of head injury. It's unclear what ultimately caused each victim's demise-brain trauma or asphyxiation-but you may well improve your odds by stuffing your nut in a hard shell. See above.