A few years ago, before "CTE" was as much a part of football conversations as "quarterback rating" or "wild card spot," I had a conversation with some friends about unsettling news stories that linked the sport to brain injury.

As we spoke, an avowed hater of sports piped up. "Football, as it's currently played, is completely indefensible," she said.

Super Bowl XLVII will kick off Sunday with its typical bombastic fanfare: Beyonce will wow us with her live halftime show, and "space baby" commercials will overload us with cuteness.

But this year, there's a gray cloud hanging over the Super Bowl: the mounting anger about devastating injuries to players' brains and bodies.

Several San Francisco 49ers say they would have no problem if their sons played football, even though President Obama has questioned the safety of the game.

During an interview Monday at the Super Bowl, All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith responded to a question about the president's comments by saying anyone involved in the sport knows the requirements. Smith says, "It's not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis."

Guard Alex Boone says football has to be "physical," and that if his children want to play, they can.

Chastising the NFL Players Association for "remarkable recalcitrance" on testing for human growth hormone, two members of Congress have pledged "to take a more active role" on the issue and say they could ask players to testify before their committee.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland tell NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith in a letter sent Monday that the union "has prevented meaningful progress on this issue."

A University of New Orleans faculty member has been awarded a state grant to develop a device to test testosterone levels in real time.

Elizabeth Shirtcliff was awarded the grant by the Louisiana Board of Regents. She is an early research professor of psychology at UNO ad the principal investigator on the project. Shirtcliff is partnering with researchers from at Oasis Diagnostic Corp. in Canada.

Monitoring testosterone levels is important, Shirtclif said, because rapid imbalances can signal changes in behavior.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees joined former teammate Steve Gleason in accepting a donation for technology that can help people living with ALS and multiple sclerosis. Gleason showed off the technology that he says will help other patients live richer lives.

Gleason says when he was diagnosed two years ago with ALS, he didn’t know how to cope with the condition that’s left him in a wheelchair and unable to speak. But his wheelchair now has equipment that allows him to talk, as directed by his eyes.

In a December article for The New Republic, "The Grayest Generation: How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society," the magazine's science editor Judith Shulevitz points out how the growing trend toward later parenthood since 1970 coincides with a rise in neurocognitive and developmental disorders among children.

Loyola Biology Lab Regenerates Limb Joints

Dec 18, 2012
Loyola University

In a biology lab at Loyola University New Orleans, something miraculous happened — something no scientist had seen before. Biology professor Rosalie Anderson and her undergraduate students cut a tiny hole to remove just the elbow joint of a chicken embryo’s wing. Eighteen hours later, a new joint amazingly grew back.

For the first time, the nation's pediatricians are wading into the controversy over whether organic food is better for you – and they're coming down on the side of parents who say it is, at least in part.

To Know Is to Love

Oct 19, 2012

Men, did you know that we hurt people when we chose not to learn? Aldous Huxley said, “We can only love what we know, and we can never know completely what we do not love.”

That Huxley quote always reminds me of the never-ending responsibility to learn about the people I claim to love. Intimacy comes out of the scrutiny of our desires, shames and delights. Therefore, loving is not just learning how to be vulnerable; it’s being vulnerable enough to learn.