How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

For all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmet usage will be moved here.
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 10 Aug 2020, 8:47am

RickH wrote:
OldLimey wrote:If not wearing a helmet protects our brains, why do pro racing cyclists wear them?

Because they have to!

It is the rules.

But it doesn't mean the rules are necessarily right (or wrong). There are rules in racing covering all sorts of things.


Go back to around the turn of the century when this was introduced and there were many grumblings in the pro peloton about going on strike over enforcement of lids, so you shouldn't get the idea that the pros of the time were convinced it was a great idea.

The rules were put in on the wake of a death, but they haven't stopped happening since it was introduced. Fact is the number of serious head injuries in the pro-peloton is low enough (because it isn't a very big sport, aside from anything else) that it makes studying the effects of the rule very hard. It certainly isn't outwith the realm of possibility that it boils down to nothing more than a mix of "we must do something, this is something, this is what we'll do!" and another source of sponsorship money.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 10 Aug 2020, 8:58am

Jdsk wrote:That's an important study, and the authors include:
"The most convincing hypothesis is that head guards give a false sense of safety and so boxers partake in more high-risk behaviors than they would have done were they not wearing a head guard."

But they don't provide any evidence for that risk compensation, and the study they cite (Hagel et al 2004) doesn't include boxing in the activities considered. (It does include cycling.)

This needs more research.


It does need more research, but there is no particular reason to expect that risk compensation would affect sports on a selective basis: it seems to be a basic psychological behaviour pattern.

More recent work by Walker removed the physical danger (and even the sense that equipment in use was for protection) and found that the presence of PPE still resulted in an increase in (virtual) risk taking behaviour, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4767144/ and if it even affects virtual risk in this way it seems highly improbable that it's not a fairly general effect.

While it's fair to say what we know doesn't allow us to fully extrapolate how much it affects the population as a whole, and that we can't make any useful projections for degree of effect in individuals, suggesting we need a particular study on boxing to confirm that risk compensation occurs in boxers is probably overdoing due caution. I think you can assume there is some effect anywhere humans are using equipment that affects risk management.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Jdsk » 10 Aug 2020, 11:41am

As always: risk compensation should be looked for whenever it might be important.

But assuming its presence in advance of evidence isn't consistent with current knowledge.

For bike helmets there's now a systematic review which includes Walker (2007) and Gamble and Walker (2016). They're the only two papers out of the 23 which met the inclusion criteria which showed evidence of risk compensation.

"Bicycle helmets and risky behaviour: A systematic review"
Esmaeilikia et al (2019)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 7818305941

Their abstract concludes, in their words:
"Twenty-three articles met inclusion criteria and their findings were summarised. Eighteen studies found no supportive evidence helmet use was positively associated with risky behaviour, while three studies provided mixed findings, i.e., results for and against the hypothesis. For many of these studies, bicycle helmet wearing was associated with safer cycling behaviour. Only two studies conducted from the same research lab provided evidence to support the risk compensation hypothesis. In sum, this systematic review found little to no support for the hypothesis bicycle helmet use is associated with engaging in risky behaviour."

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 10 Aug 2020, 11:55am

http://www.ta.org.br/site/Banco/7manuai ... helmet.pdf

It includes some calculation on lines of impact. Boxing may be similar with helmet use resulting in more impacts and assuming most impacts are in the 50 - 60 degree direction the figures suggest helmet use may increase the total loads, prior to any cushioning effect.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby The utility cyclist » 10 Aug 2020, 8:46pm

Jdsk wrote:That's an important study, and the authors include:
"The most convincing hypothesis is that head guards give a false sense of safety and so boxers partake in more high-risk behaviors than they would have done were they not wearing a head guard."

But they don't provide any evidence for that risk compensation, and the study they cite (Hagel et al 2004) doesn't include boxing in the activities considered. (It does include cycling.)

This needs more research.

Jonathan

https://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/fulltext/2017/01000/Use_of_Head_Guards_in_AIBA_Boxing_Tournaments_A.13.aspx#R8-13
https://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/Fulltext/2004/07000/Risk_Compensation__A__Side_Effect__of_Sport_Injury.1.aspx

My brother was a a decent level amateur boxer in the era before head guards, we discussed why boxers got more head injuries/concussions wearing the guards, taking greater risks, aiming for the bigger target and also punches that glance the side of the head and rotate the head around - instead of slipping past harmlessly. More cuts yup, same in ice hockey but Ice hockey also showed over lng term studies to show that helmet wearing produced greater risk taking and more overall head injuries despite en-mass wearing before compulsion and then compulsion.

There doesn't need to be more research when the number of concussions in boxing massively outstrip that pre guard wearing era, the research done by Dr. Bennet Omalu within Gridiron proves categorically that helmets don't prevent brain injuries in any meaningful fashion but do induce riskier behaviour by people wearing them. Gridiron is the extreme end but when you have millions of males from the US suffering CTE problems because they thought the helmets would prevent the very thing that helmets don't, then you've best part of a century of evidence regards risk taking and helmets.

As a former rugby league player in the lower ranks and even playing masters in my 50s who once dabbled with gridirn in the 80s I know first hand how wearing PPE effects behaviour, I've also seen the effects of PPE in the workplace, too often people breaking procedures/getting sloppy because they thought the PPE was the be all and end all of safety and then worse case end up with worse outcomes than if the PPE wasn't there.
As I said before, when RIDDOR was brought in and hi-vis, hard hats wearing etc massively increased, incidents in the workplace rocketed, that was even taking into account the working populace in such areas which had dropped a bit at the time.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 11 Aug 2020, 9:52am

Jdsk wrote:As always: risk compensation should be looked for whenever it might be important.

But assuming its presence in advance of evidence isn't consistent with current knowledge.

For bike helmets there's now a systematic review which includes Walker (2007) and Gamble and Walker (2016). They're the only two papers out of the 23 which met the inclusion criteria which showed evidence of risk compensation.


For Some Values Of Evidence.
Cycle helmet use "in the wild" is self-selecting (even in the likes of Oz, where those that don't want to wear them have either given up cycling or break the law) so you've already blown a huge hole in any objective assessment of whether they affect risk taking.

You cannot assume that a cohort who've chosen to wear a notional safety aid will be the same as a cohort who choose not to, except for the presence of the aid. You can shout "systematic review!" all you want, but collating lots of stuff that basically won't work properly because the presence of the thing you're trying to measure changes what you're measuring still isn't much use.

Just look anywhere around you for evidence of risk compensation. It's everywhere.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Cyril Haearn » 11 Aug 2020, 10:20am

Right again pjc, risk compensation is ubiquitous
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Steady rider » 11 Aug 2020, 11:13am

With the lockdown I used short sections of A roads that otherwise I would have avoided, risk compensation, fewer cars and lower risk.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 11 Aug 2020, 11:44am

Steady rider wrote:With the lockdown I used short sections of A roads that otherwise I would have avoided, risk compensation, fewer cars and lower risk.


It's easy to see it in one's own behaviour. For example, I normally attack our local graded MTB trails in a helmet and nothing on my body, when I was marshalling there for an event I went down the trail without a lid and a load of paraphernalia so I slowed right down. I go down them quicker on my more recent hardtail than I was ever happy too on my old rigid (better brakes too).

If I go down twisty road descents I go much quicker on the 'bent (suspension, hydraulic brakes, no real worries about going over the bars) than on the upwrongs, if I'm on an upright I'm happier pulling out the stops on the Moulton than the Brompton (bigger wheels, stiffer frame, full suspension)

Ever come across who won't cycle without a helmet because they think it's too dangerous? I've come across plenty. Think about that and it's pretty clear risk compensation behaviour.

General everyday behaviour there are plenty of examples at the moment linked to Covid. As soon as everyone had to wear a mask the local supermarkets took out their one way systems, and shoppers got less good at keeping their distance.

And so on...
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Cyril Haearn » 11 Aug 2020, 11:57am

Steady rider wrote:With the lockdown I used short sections of A roads that otherwise I would have avoided, risk compensation, fewer cars and lower risk.

I should not do that
Less traffic > more speeding crime
Risk homeostasis?
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby Cyril Haearn » 11 Aug 2020, 12:00pm

pjclinch wrote:..
Ever come across who won't cycle without a helmet because they think it's too dangerous? I've come across plenty. Think about that and it's pretty clear risk compensation behaviour
..

Don't quite understand, please explain
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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 11 Aug 2020, 1:09pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:
pjclinch wrote:..
Ever come across who won't cycle without a helmet because they think it's too dangerous? I've come across plenty. Think about that and it's pretty clear risk compensation behaviour
..

Don't quite understand, please explain


Poor proof-reading on my part, sorry. I omitted the "but will ride on the roads with one".

Doing something you wouldn't otherwise do at all thanks to the presence of some bit of equipment is another aspect of risk compensation in action.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby The utility cyclist » 11 Aug 2020, 6:56pm

A friend whom I met through work almost 30 years ago got into cycling about 10 years or so back, he's had two big offs, one in Spain (or one of the Islands), he was going downhill at speed, too fast for his abilities and hit a wall off the bend smashing his knee. I said to him if you'd not being wearing a helmet would you have been going slower, he said yeah, but the helmet might have saved me hitting my head ... except he didn't hit his head at all, ruined his holiday and couldn't work for some period afterwards.

The difference between rugby and gridiron, albeit it's smaller between union than league, is that you temper/control your aggression, the rules do not allow for head high tackles etc. Of course concussions/head injuries occur, I got a head injury last year putting in a big hit on a large guy who shouldn't have stuck his nut down to protect himself as I went to tackle him and my first ever head injury playing rugby! :roll: , however the prevalence of reported concussions (many are not) within gridiron are massive, and the millions suffering CTE even if they didn't turn pro has a profound effect on so many, mostly males and has led to suicide.
The helmets simply did not prevent the micro TBIs despite the helmets being improved significantly and frequently over time.

The single biggest safety occurrences within the sport re head injuries was the change in the rules for 2018, lesser contact to the head in many aspects, both toward the QB but importantly receivers who were often the target of some shocking hits to the head using the helmet. This meant more care by the would be assailant ... sorry tackler :lol: this ended up with a 45% reduction in (reported) concussions, it had abslutely zero to do with the helmet.
Changing the rules aka laws, for motorists, changing their behaviour and that of the person atop the bike regards risk taking and endangering others would be the two biggest things regards cycling safety. it's no coincidence that one of the biggest youtube cycling video makers commented that the modern pro rides much closer together than they ever did back in the 90s, the number of crashes/injuries and indeed deaths have gone up since helmet rules were enforced, despite all the other advantages of better brakes, better/grippier tyres,(arguably) better handling bikes, more on course protocols, more marshalls/signage/warnings etc.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby pjclinch » 12 Aug 2020, 8:38am

The utility cyclist wrote:Changing the rules aka laws, for motorists, changing their behaviour and that of the person atop the bike regards risk taking and endangering others would be the two biggest things regards cycling safety. it's no coincidence that one of the biggest youtube cycling video makers commented that the modern pro rides much closer together than they ever did back in the 90s, the number of crashes/injuries and indeed deaths have gone up since helmet rules were enforced, despite all the other advantages of better brakes, better/grippier tyres,(arguably) better handling bikes, more on course protocols, more marshalls/signage/warnings etc.


Not that I'm particularly disagreeing with ability for helmets to influence here, but better brakes, better handling and grippier tyres are exactly the sorts of things that will encourage closer riding, probably far more than helmets because you get clear, positive feedback that you have more actual control, and can thus go nearer the Red Lines.

Why do I go down technical descents much faster on my 'bent than my Brompton? Because I have better handling, grippier tyres, better brakes...

You really need to get past the idea that helmets are the only things having a significant effect on rider behaviour.

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Re: How to protect your brain by not wearing a helmet

Postby The utility cyclist » 12 Aug 2020, 8:14pm

pjclinch wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Changing the rules aka laws, for motorists, changing their behaviour and that of the person atop the bike regards risk taking and endangering others would be the two biggest things regards cycling safety. it's no coincidence that one of the biggest youtube cycling video makers commented that the modern pro rides much closer together than they ever did back in the 90s, the number of crashes/injuries and indeed deaths have gone up since helmet rules were enforced, despite all the other advantages of better brakes, better/grippier tyres,(arguably) better handling bikes, more on course protocols, more marshalls/signage/warnings etc.


Not that I'm particularly disagreeing with ability for helmets to influence here, but better brakes, better handling and grippier tyres are exactly the sorts of things that will encourage closer riding, probably far more than helmets because you get clear, positive feedback that you have more actual control, and can thus go nearer the Red Lines.

Why do I go down technical descents much faster on my 'bent than my Brompton? Because I have better handling, grippier tyres, better brakes...

You really need to get past the idea that helmets are the only things having a significant effect on rider behaviour.

Pete.

So you describe risk compensation again (from machinery) which I've acknowledged, but you also employ those advantages because you feel safer to do so, even if you have the best brakes in the world and the grippiest tyres, you won't do so unless you feel safer from going at the faster speeds, not wearing/wearing a helmet has a significant influence on that decisin making, riding to the max and in fact beyond.

Even still the grip of the tyres is not enough for the modern brakes/rider on the edge, only today in the Dauphine a rider went too fast into a corner and slid out, this was moments after David Miller had spouted a loud of nonsense regards how many lives helmets had saved in the pro ranks which clearly he has no idea about since the number of deaths and injuries post helmet wearing has increased.
people like Sean Kelly were descending in pro races at 70mph BITD, controlled speeds, these days riders are literally knocking each other off, sliding out at simply bends, going on too fast, sprints that too often end in mass crashes - the shocker we had last week with a very wide finish.

Take the helmets off and watch pro racing and indeed amateur/enthusiast riding become safer, address the issue of people operating killing machines and that improves a huge chunk more.