Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Health line

Briefs: Older brains find it harder to multitask, researchers say

Older brains find it harder to multitask

As we age, it gets tougher to successfully multitask or to remember to complete one task while distracted by another. Using brain scans, a team of University of California at San Francisco researchers found that people older than 60 are less agile in switching from one neural network to another, which means that brief attention-grabbing interruptions can undermine their ability to recall the original task. "A lot of us feel the need to respond really rapidly to an e-mail or text message," said Dr. Adam Gazzaley, director of the university's Neuroscience Imaging Center and senior author of the study, published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If older people stop what they're doing to reply, Gazzaley says, "there may be a price to be paid."

Athletes' deaths more common

Sudden cardiac deaths among high school athletes are rare but more common than had been thought. A new study, published last week in the journal Circulation, found there is one sudden cardiac death for every 43,770 NCAA student-athletes each year. Earlier estimates, which relied almost exclusively on news reports, were as low as one in 300,000. The new study, which also drew information from NCAA databases and insurance claims, examined sudden deaths from 2004 to 2008 among NCAA student-athletes ages 17 to 23. The incidence of sudden cardiac death among black athletes was one in 18,000, possibly because of a higher prevalence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a leading cause of sudden cardiac death.

More children getting CT scans

The number of computed tomography (CT) scans performed on children visiting hospital emergency rooms has increased fivefold in recent years, to 1.65 million in 2008 from 330,000 in 1995. The analysis, published online in the journal Radiology, found that scans were most commonly done on children arriving with head injuries, headaches or abdominal pain. The sharp increase in the use of CT scans did not surprise the authors of the report, who said advances in the technology had resulted in improved images that can greatly aid diagnoses. However, the scans expose patients to high levels of ionizing radiation that can slightly increase the risk of cancer in later years. Lead author Dr. David B. Larson said CT scans should be done when they are truly needed, "but we should be judicious.''

Free tests for STDs offered on Tuesday

This is National STD Awareness Month, and on Tuesday Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida is offering free chlamydia, gonorrhea and rapid HIV tests at its local health centers. At the Tampa Health Center (8068 N 56th St.), testing hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. At the Pinellas Health Center (8950 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg), hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Go to or call toll-free 1-800-230-7526 to make an appointment, although walk-ins also are welcome. The GYT — Get Yourself Tested — project is co-sponsored by MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Times wires, staff

"I have Tourette's and Asperger's, but Tourette's and Asperger's don't have me."

American Idol contestant James Durbin, who has become a role model to others who share his medical conditions.

Briefs: Older brains find it harder to multitask, researchers say 04/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 5:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey


    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign


    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.