MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amishav Bresler MD
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: This study was inspired by a personal experience with the rental scooters.
The most recent American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery annual conference was in Atlanta this year. At the time of the conference, the scooter rental industry had recently entered the region. A friend of mine, another ENT resident, was encouraging others to use these scooters for transportation for both the novelty and convenience. However, he didn’t even have a helmet!
Here was a well-educated doctor who takes call for craniofacial injuries, who was about to get on a scooter without a helmet. This experience made me wonder if scooters were dangerous scooters and their overall impact on public health.
In terms of the backgroud, the personal transportation industry is undergoing a revolution. The search for efficient and environmentally-friendly urban transportation ignited an ongoing debate in the United States regarding the role of motorized scooters. Although known to be a popular method of transportation in Europe and Asia, motorized scooters have only recently begun to make inroads in the United States. The gradual rise in popularity has been attributed to their convenience, affordability, and status as a “green” alternative to vehicles with combustion engines. These advantages combined with the fact electric scooters enable users to travel longer distances than conventional scooters present an attractive method of transportation to school, work, and leisure.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
The main points from the study are as follows:
(1) Craniofacial injuries associated with scooter use has increased by almost 300% in the last few years.
(2) Helmet use, when recorded, is uncommon.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
(1) Scooter related craniofacial injuries are rising.
(2) Scooter laws are state-controlled creating a large amount of heterogeneity regarding their regulation.
(3) Please consider using personal protective equipment (i.e. a helmet) when using these scooters.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
(1) Future directions would include designing trials to assess the impact of personal protective equipment on craniofacial injuries
(2) Our study was limited to craniofacial injuries. It would be expected that orthopedics is seeing a similar rise in scooter-related limb injuries.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Although scooters may have significant public health risks in the current transportation environment, I do think they could be a promising solution for public transport. They are quick, easy to use, electronic and highly portable. However, we need to ensure that convenience does not come at the cost of public health.
We have no disclosures or conflicts of interest.
Amishav Y. Bresler, Curtis Hanba, Peter Svider, Michael A. Carron, Wayne D. Hsueh, Boris Paskhover. Craniofacial injuries related to motorized scooter use: A rising epidemic. American Journal of Otolaryngology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2019.05.023
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