Headbanging to brain injury
A German Motorhead fan suffered brain bleeding after headbanging at a concert, The Lancet has revealed. Intensive Care researcher Manoj Saxena tells of the dangers of headbanging.PT1M41S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3bdne 620 349 July 4, 2014
A heavy metal fan has been found to have bleeding in the brain a month after a night of headbanging at a Motorhead concert in Paris.
German doctors who diagnosed the 50-year-old man's bleed say the case is "evidence of Motorhead's reputation as one of the most hardcore rock'n'roll acts on earth" - but also serves as a health warning against headbanging.
After the concert, in January 2013, the fan had constantly worsening headaches.
Lemmy, lead singer of Motorhead, delights the faithful in Melbourne in 2007. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
Neurosurgeons at Hanover Medical School found a small area of bleeding on the right side of his brain, called a chronic subdural haematoma, where blood gathers under the outer membrane of the brain.
Emerging from heavy metal's 1970s heyday, headbanging has from time to time been associated with health scares such as whiplash and fractures of a cervical bone called the odontoid.
But the Hanover doctors suggest the risk could be greater.
They trawled through science publications and found three other cases of subdural haematoma caused by headbanging, one of which caused sudden death.
"Even though there are only a few documented cases of subdural haematomas, the incidence may be higher because the symptoms of this type of brain injury are often clinically silent or cause only mild headache that resolves spontaneously," said Dr Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian.
The Lancet, which reported the January 2013 case, said the patient was otherwise healthy, had no history of head injuries and denied any drug abuse.
The assumption is that headbanging caused high acceleration and deceleration of brain tissue, leading tiny blood vessels in the brain to burst.
The patient underwent keyhole surgery to drain the bleeding and was discharged after eight days. His headaches subsided.
"This case serves as evidence in support of Motorhead's reputation as one of the most hardcore rock'n'roll acts on Earth, if nothing else because of their music's contagious speed drive and the hazardous potential for headbanging fans to suffer brain injury," the doctor said.