THE FUTURE DIDN’T WARN US ABOUT HOVERBOARD INJURIES. They were supposed to be everywhere by now and easy to use, at least that’s how it seemed in Back to the Future. Today’s hoverboards (which don’t really hover; they have wheels) are instead causing emergency department visits. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission noted 70 reports of ED visits due to hoverboards as of this past Christmas, according to a CNN article– and that number has likely grown.  One Houston-area hospital reportedly treated 14 hoverboard injuries between Christmas and New Year’s Eve according to an article published on The Item. The article pointed to a simple solution. “They get on these hoverboards without any protective gear whatsoever,” said David Wong of Memorial Sugar Land Hospital, an ED doctor who also owns a hoverboard.

BACK FROM THE FUTURE. Many troops have trouble using their medic experience to get civilian jobs. That’s why the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill worked with officials at Fort Bragg to launch a physician assistant training program. The program is targeted toward non-traditional students, specifically veterans, and seeks to provide the necessary training to translate prior medical experience to that of a primary care provider. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it closely resembles the roots of the original physician assistant training program at North Carolina’s Duke University in the 1960s. In the Fort Bragg program, veteran Dave Manning, who served two combat deployments in Iraq and singlehandedly provided medical service to more than 100 people on a Navy ship, is part of the first class, which includes 20 students, including nine veterans. “As I was coming out of the military in my early 40s, I didn’t want to spend a decade training and being in school,” Manning said in a Kaiser Health News story. “I just wanted to get in and get out, and physician assistant is perfect for that.” As the country looks to improve health care by increasing the amount of primary care providers, those with military training are a good place to look.

CAN $550 MOTIVATE WORKERS TO SHED WEIGHT? Not according to a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. At the end of a year, obese workers offered the money lost less than 1.5 pounds on average; workers offered nothing to lose weight gained a mere a tenth of a pound on average. “The study shows that how incentive programs are designed can make a big difference in how effective they are at changing behavior,” said Mitesh Patel, M.D., assistant professor at the University’s Perelman School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. No one in the four study groups met the 5 percent weight-loss target. The study was reported on by, Medpage Today.

FEELING SICK? CUDDLE YOUR PET. A Vanderbilt infectious disease expert says that if you have a cold or flu and want to cozy up with your pet for comfort, go right ahead. “The pet is a comfort, not a hazard, said William Schaffner, M.D., professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “You can’t get a cold or flu from your dog or cat.” However, when it comes to those who walk upright, it’s best to keep your distance. Colds and flu are harder to avoid than to catch, and they can be transmitted simply by handshaking or breathing in the influenza virus after someone exhales. Pets and people can best avoid getting sick by getting annual vaccinations and flu shots.

THE NFL TAKES ON CONCUSSIONS WITH SOME HELP from the Emergency Medicine Foundation to provide an online continuing medical education course on the assessment and management of concussions. It’s no secret the NFL has come under fire for it’s handling of player concussions. The recent movie, Concussion, which follows the story of forensic pathologist and physician Bennet Omalu and his mission to raise awareness about football-related head trauma, has brought concussions into the public eye. “This is an important and timely project, given a recent study that reports that emergency department visits for traumatic rain injury increased by 29 percent over just four years,” said Joseph Waeckerle, M.D., who is managing the education course, in a Physician News Digest report. Physicians nationwide can take the free online course that covers topics related to concussion, including: epidemiology, prevention and mitigation, recognition, management and recovery and return to play.