Concussion study?takes look at kids

U.S. children and teens suffer nearly 2 million concussions in sports or play each year and many get no treatment, a new study says.

The estimate is based on 2013 data from emergency-room visits, hospitalizations, doctor-office visits, concussion reports made to high school athletic trainers, and information from previous concussion studies.

But researchers say the numbers are imprecise, showing the need for a concussion surveillance system as recommended by the nonprofit Institute of Medicine.

The researchers said data suggest between 1 million and 2 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in U.S. kids each year, and that half a million or more kids sought treatment from an athletic trainer or received no treatment at all.

Other studies suggest that kids’ concussion rates may be rising, but some experts say that may simply reflect growing awareness.

— Lindsey Tanner

Associated Press

Hints from Heloise:

Toothbrush holder?carries paring knife

Dorian G. writes via email: I usually take a paring knife to work so that I can cut into my fruit at lunch. I carry it in a travel toothbrush holder. It fits well in my lunch bag, and the items in it are protected.

Lisa in Massillon writes: I keep dry-erase markers in my bathroom so that when I think of something I need, I write it on the mirror. It wipes away with a dry washcloth. I write the days of the week on the side of the mirror in one color and write appointments, meetings or errands next to the day.

— King Features

Trick may help cut?fat in chocolate

New research suggests candy companies may be able to make lower fat chocolate with a little electrical trick.

By running liquid chocolate through an electric field, researchers were able to make it flow more easily. And that means it doesn’t need so much fat, they say.

Cutting the fat in chocolate has been a much-studied challenge in the industry. The approach was described by researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia.

During production, chocolate is handled as a liquid, and a certain level of fat is needed to let it flow easily. But the experiment found an electric field can encourage flow, too.

Using that strategy, they were able to reduce the amount of fat by about 10 percent, said researcher Rongjia Tao. In theory, they could reduce it by twice that much, he said.

Tao said he could taste no difference, but some others in his lab said it tasted better.

— Malcolm Ritter

Associated Press