Today’s Headlines: Concussions, Cheerios and Chinese Painkillers

Evidence shows cognitive rest aids concussion recovery: Young people with concussions who give their brains a rest by “limiting reading, online activities, even homework,” recover faster than those who keep their brains busy, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. Of the 335 children and young adults studied, those who had the highest levels of mental activity after a concussion took 100 days on average to recover, while those who reported less activity took 20 to 50 days. However, the study’s authors also reported that because recovery times were equal for both mild and minimal levels of cognitive activity, “‘there’s no need to take cognitive rest to the extreme,’ such as putting patients in a dark room and eliminating all cognitive activity.” (USA Today)

Original Cheerios to go GMO-free: “General Mills says it will soon start selling original Cheerios made without genetically modified ingredients.” The company announced that consumer demand led to its decision to manufacture GMO-free original-flavor Cheerios, which will be labeled as “Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients.” This will not be an “official certification,” and trace amounts of GMO ingredients may still be included due to contamination. Original Cheerios consist mainly of oats, which are already not genetically modified, but the company will be swapping the current cornstarch and sugar. Though some consumers have expressed concerns about the long-term impact of GMO’s on health, “there has been little scientific evidence to prove that foods grown from engineered ingredients are less safe than their conventional counterparts.” (NBC News)

Study finds a potent painkiller in traditional Chinese medicine: A new study suggests that a compound found in the tubers of the Corydalis plant, used for pain relief in traditional Chinese medicine, “can effectively alleviate three different types of pain in mice.” The compound, dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), is a member of the poppy family and may “one day be used for managing chronic pain in humans,” especially because mice do not appear to develop resistance to it. In traditional Chinese medicine, the tubers are ground and boiled in hot vinegar, and “the resulting medicine is often prescribed to treat headaches and back pain.” (Los Angeles Times)