Study: Effects of a concussion linger for months

13 Dec

Moi wrote in Don’t ignore concussions:

Kids Health has some great information about concussions at their site:

What Is a Concussion and What Causes It?

The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by spinal fluid. It is encased in the hard, protective skull. When a person gets a head injury, the brain can move around inside the skull and even bang against it. This can lead to bruising of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. When this happens, a person can get a concussion — a temporary loss of normal brain function.

Most people with concussions recover just fine with appropriate treatment. But it’s important to take proper steps if you suspect a concussion because it can be serious.

Concussions and other brain injuries are fairly common. About every 21 seconds, someone in the United States has a serious brain injury. One of the most common reasons people get concussions is through a sports injury. High-contact sports such as football, boxing, and hockey pose a higher risk of head injury, even with the use of protective headgear.

People can also get concussions from falls, car accidents, bike and blading mishaps, and physical violence, such as fighting. Guys are more likely to get concussions than girls. However, in certain sports, like soccer, girls have a higher potential for concussion.

See, Update: Don’t ignore concussions

A concussion is a serious injury.

Bryan Toporek reports about concussions in the Education Week article, Concussions Alter Children’s Brains for Months, Study Finds:

Months after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) such as a concussion, the changes in a child’s brain still persist even if the child is symptom-free, according to a study published online today in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Researchers from the Albuquerque-based Mind Research Network and the University of New Mexico studied 15 children between the ages of 10 and 17 who had sustained a concussion to examine the lasting effects of the injury, comparing the results to 15 healthy controls between the ages of 11 and 17.

Previous research has suggested that concussions affect the brain’s white matter, which contains nerve fibers that transmit signals from one area of the brain to another, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Thus, both the healthy and concussed children underwent “diffusion tensor imaging” (DTI), which specifically images white matter in the brain, and neuropsychological testing two separate times. The concussed children were tested and imaged within 21 days of sustaining their injury, and then once more in a follow-up visit roughly three to five months after their initial screening….

On a brief related note: I just went through yesterday and updated our youth-concussion law map.

Of note: Both Michigan and Hawaii have passed youth-concussion laws since July, making 43 states (including the District of Columbia) that now have such laws. Not far behind is Ohio, whose youth-concussion bill just passed through the state Senate last week after being approved by the state House in June. It’s waiting to be sent to Gov. John Kasich for a signature.


Neurobiology of Disease

Diffusion Abnormalities in Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

  1. Andrew R. Mayer1,2,3,
  2. Josef M. Ling1,
  3. Zhen Yang1,2,
  4. Amanda Pena1,
  5. Ronald A. Yeo1,2, and
  6. Stefan Klimaj1


Pediatric mild traumatic brain injury (pmTBI) is the most prevalent neurological insult in children and is associated with both acute and chronic neurobehavioral sequelae. However, little is known about underlying pathophysiology and how injuries change as a function of recovery. Fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity were examined in 15 semi-acute pmTBI patients and 15 well-matched controls, with a subset of participants returning for a second visit. A novel analytic strategy was applied to capture spatially heterogeneous white matter injuries (lesions) in addition to standard analyses. Evidence of cognitive dysfunction after pmTBI was observed in the domains of attention (p = 0.02, d = −0.92) and processing speed (p = 0.05, d = −0.73) semi-acutely. Region of interest (ROI) and voxelwise analyses indicated increased anisotropic diffusion for pmTBI patients, with an elevated number of clusters with high anisotropy. Metrics of increased anisotropy were able to objectively classify pmTBI from healthy controls at 90% accuracy but were not associated with neuropsychological deficits. Little evidence of recovery in white matter abnormalities was observed over a 4-month interval in returning patients, indicating that physiological recovery may lag behind subjective reports of normality. Increased anisotropic diffusion has been previously linked with cytotoxic edema after TBI, and the magnitude and duration of these abnormalities appear to be greater in pediatric patients. Current findings suggest that developing white matter may be more susceptible to initial mechanical injury forces and that anisotropic diffusion provides an objective biomarker of pmTBI.

  • Received July 13, 2012.
  • Revision received October 12, 2012.
  • Accepted October 16, 2012.

This Article

  1. The Journal of Neuroscience, 12 December 2012, 32(50): 17961-17969; doi: 10.1523/​JNEUROSCI.3379-12.2012
  1. » Abstract

  2. Full Text

  3. Full Text (PDF)

The Sports Concussion Institute has some great information about concussions:


People must take concussions very seriously.




Concussion – Overview                                         

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