More people bike to work or play due to record-high gasoline prices, the slowdown in the economy, and increasing environmental sensitivity. But an adequate infrastructure may not be in place to protect cyclists from serious injury according to surgeons who presented a new study on the issue during a scientific paper session at the 2009 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons. The researchers found that the severity of injury and hospital length-of-stay for bicycle injuries at one trauma center has increased significantly over the past 11 years. Despite the wide-spread attention paid to the importance of wearing helmets, helmet use did not change during the time period of the study, and more than 33 percent of 329 bicycle injury victims had a significant head injury. Even more alarming, the number of chest injuries increased by 15 percent and abdominal injuries rose three-fold over the last five years. "We were astounded by that data," said Jeffry Kashuk, MD, FACS, associate professor of surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and senior attending surgeon at the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center at Denver Health Medical Center, Denver. "We''re talking about injured spleens and livers, internal bleeding, rib fractures, and hemothorax [blood in the chest]. Those kinds of injuries are reflected by an increase in injury severity score," he added. The study was conducted in Denver, which has one of the most well-developed bicycle path networks in the country. "Denver is very much a bicycle community. If we are seeing an increase in injuries in a metropolitan area that has fairly mature bike infrastructure from the standpoint of bike pathways, there''s reason for concern about what''s happening in metropolitan areas that don''t have that level of maturity. There seems to be a significant increase nationally in the use of the bicycle for urban transportation. If our data is a microcosm of what is going on nationally, we may be on the cusp of an injury epidemic," Dr. Kashuk said. Researchers at the University of Colorado hope to obtain funding so they can expand the study nationally and generate data that will support better safety standards and raise community awareness about the lack of cycling infrastructure. "On a local and national level, people need to be aware of the fact that a push for bike transportation for the sake of health, the environment, and lower transportation costs has real potential to raise medical costs because our infrastructure may not be ready for it," Dr. Kashuk said. "Look at all the safety factors that have been incor-porated in automobiles and streets and highways. If even a percentage of that kind of investment went into safety vis-a-vis bike paths and community infrastructure, we would protect people from major injury." Zachary Hartman, BA; Ernest E. Moore, Jr., MD, FACS; Walter L. Biffl, MD, FACS; Catherine C. Cothren, MD, FACS; Jeffrey L. Johnson, MD, FACS; Carlton C. Barnett, Jr., MD, FACS; and Angela Sauaia, MD, participated in the study.Source: NewswiseRAS << Molecular Pathway That May Help Target Future Therapies Agai... Treatment of Patients With Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors ... >> Recommended Reading Head Injury Head injury or traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of disability among children and young adults that leads to varying degrees of physical and mental stability. Fortunately, it is also one of the preventable brain disorder. READ MORE Glomerulonephritis Types Glomerulonephritis is a group of diseases that infect the part of the kidney that filters the blood. It can be of various types based on its mechanism. READ MORE Neuropathic Pain After Spinal Cord Injury may be Relieved by Electrical Nerve Stimulation Electrical nerve stimulation can effectively reduce neuropathic pain following a spinal cord injury, a new study has said. READ MORE Exercise and Fitness Exercise is about revamping your lifestyle, not just weight loss. Exercise to get healthy – that way, you’ll last longer at it and get better results. READ MORE Exercise Bikes or Elliptical Trainers: Which is Better? Cycling on an elliptical machine or exercise bike are excellent home based workouts, providing aerobic exercise and help increase heart rate and burn calories. READ MORE Exercises to Grow Taller An article that highlights on the list of exercises that aids to grow taller. READ MORE Health Benefits of Cycling For Women Cycling is a physical activity that is fun and time-efficient and is one of the best ways to reduce health problems specially in women. Read more to know the major health benefits of cycling on women. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Accident and Trauma Care Find a Doctor Diaphragmatic Hernia More News on: Exercise and FitnessExercises to Grow TallerHealth Benefits of Cycling For WomenExercise bikes or Elliptical trainers: Which is Better?