The first objective measurement for concussions may have been identified, according to a study published in the journal Nature, Scientific Reports. By measuring the brain’s electrical reactions to speech sounds, researchers were able to identify children who had suffered a recent concussion with 90 percent accuracy. The study was small, with just 40 subjects, but the children who had been diagnosed with a concussion showed a distinct neural signature, compared with a control group of children with no history of concussion. The brains of the concussed children registered smaller and slower responses to the pitch of a speaker’s voice than the control group.

Lower likelihood of death with female doc

If male doctors were able to do as well as their female counterparts when treating elderly patients in the hospital, they could save 32,000 lives a year, according to a study of 1.5 million hospital visits. A month after patients were hospitalized, there was a small but significant difference in the likelihood that they were still alive or had to be readmitted to the hospital depending on the gender of the doctor who cared for them, according to the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Waiting to cut cord could benefit baby

Don’t cut that umbilical cord too soon: A brief pause after birth could benefit most newborns by delivering them a surge of oxygen-rich blood. New recommendations for U.S. obstetricians, the latest in a debate over how quick to snip, suggest waiting “at least 30 seconds to 60 seconds after birth” for all healthy newborns. That’s double what often happens now. It’s common in the U.S. for doctors to cut the cord within 15 to 20 seconds of birth, unless the baby is premature.

Sauna for dementia?

Using a sauna may reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, a new study suggests. Researchers in Finland analyzed medical records of 2,315 healthy men ages 42 to 60, tracking their health over an average of about 20 years. During that time, they diagnosed 204 cases of dementia and 123 cases of Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that compared with men who used a sauna once a week, those who used a sauna four to seven times a week had a 66 percent lower risk for dementia and a 65 percent lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Taking statins may make surgery safer

Taking statins, the drugs that are widely used to lower cholesterol, may make surgery safer, a report in JAMA Internal Medicine found. Researchers examined results in 96,486 operations in a Veterans Affairs database. It included a wide range of operations, though not heart surgery. Patients on statins had an 18 percent lower risk of death within 30 days and 18 percent lower risk of complications than those who were not taking the medicine.