Headbanging Carries Risk of Rare Brain Injury

It’s official: metal could be bad for your brain.

Scientists in Germany took a look at a 50 year-old man who complained of bad headaches that were getting worse.  With no obvious health issues, drug use or previous injuries, doctors were stumped until they gave the guy a brain scan.

They found bleeding in his skull—a chronic subdural hematoma–which required drilling a hole to drain the blood and relieve the pressure.  Once done, the headaches subsided.  But on a follow-up scan, doctors noticed that the patient had a benign cyst that didn’t seem to belong there–until they heard that the man was a diehard fan of Motorhead.  In fact, he had been at a show just four weeks earlier.

The patient confessed to headbanging at metal shows for years.  His doctors theorized that enthusiastic headbanging causes the brain to bump up against the skull, which in this case may have led to the cyst, which in turn cause the brain bleed. The whole case was recently published in the medical journal, The Lancet.

Doctors aren’t saying that metal fans shouldn’t bang their heads at shows–but they should be careful.

And hey, even pros are susceptible to these sorts of hurts.  Slayer’s Tom Araya was informed four years ago that his headbanging days were over–or else.

Full details at CBC and CTV.  (Thanks to Tom for one of the links.)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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