Links for Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion
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It's a scene football fans will see over and over during the bowl and NFL playoff seasons: a player, often the quarterback, being slammed to the ground and hitting the back of his head on the landing. Sure, it hurts, but what happens to the inside of the skull? Researchers and doctors long have relied upon crude approximations made from test dummy crashes or mathematical models that infer – rather loosely – what happens to the brain during traumatic brain injury or concussion. But the truth is that the state of the art in understanding brain deformation after impact is rather crude and uncertain because such methods don't give any true picture of what happens. Now, mechanical engineers at Washington University in St. Louis and collaborators have devised a technique on humans that for the first time shows just what the brain does when the skull accelerates.
Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 8288 - Posted: 06.24.2010
PITTSBURGH, – High school and college athletes with migraine headache characteristics after a concussion may have increased neurocognitive impairment, suggests a University of Pittsburgh Sports Medicine Concussion Program study published in the May issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery. The study results speak to the need for extreme caution in clinical evaluation and return-to-play decisions, say the authors. In the study, athletes who had characteristics of post-traumatic migraine (PTM) headache following a concussion also showed increased neurocognitive function impairment and related symptoms compared to concussed athletes with no post-injury headache or non-migraine headache. "The findings of our study strongly support the need for clinicians to exercise increased vigilance in making decisions about managing a concussed athlete with PTM and extreme caution as to when that athlete should be allowed to return to play," said the study's lead author, Jason Mihalik, CAT(C), A.T.C., who now is a doctoral student working in the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "This research is important because headache is the most common reported symptom after a sports-related head injury. As many as 86 percent of these injuries are accompanied by some type of headache," commented study co-author Joseph Maroon, M.D., professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
NEW ORLEANS – A new study in rats has found that after severe spinal cord injury, molecules intended to help nerves communicate can attack the tissue surrounding the initial injury and cause further damage. Interestingly, this latent, or secondary, injury develops over days and even weeks after the initial injury. It also appears to cause larger, more debilitating lesions in the spinal cord, said Randy Christensen, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at Ohio State University. Receiving the initial brunt of the secondary trauma seem to be the neurons, or the cells in gray matter. As time passes, however, tissue in the white matter is also destroyed by secondary damage. Oligodendrocytes, the main cell type in white matter, begin to self-destruct during the secondary injury.
Penn scientists find that coaster G’s, twists, and speeds are not enough to injure the brain (Philadelphia, PA) – To meet the growing expectations of thrill-seekers, amusement park rides have been built bigger, faster, and more exciting. But do bigger thrills come with added risks of injury? Published medical case studies have proposed a link between roller coaster forces and brain injury. Already the State of New Jersey has enacted legislation limiting G forces, and similar legislation has been proposed by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. According to a pair of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, however, medical science does not support the notion that roller coasters produce forces large enough to harm the brains of riders. Their findings are presented in the October issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma. "We should step back and separate the facts from the hype," said Douglas H. Smith, MD, from the Department of Neurosurgery and the Head Injury Center at the Penn School of Medicine and co-author of the study. "To our knowledge, no peer-reviewed studies have definitively linked brain injury in healthy individuals to riding the latest, and most powerful roller coasters. In fact, G forces really aren't the issue here."
A now deceased NHL player had a brain condition linked to concussions — the first time a professional hockey player has been diagnosed with the disease. Reggie Fleming played 13 crushing seasons as a defenceman and forward during the 1960s and 1970s. Fleming was one of the National Hockey League's hardest hitters in the days before helmets. After Fleming died on July 11 at the age of 73, he became the first NHL player to have his brain examined by the Sports Legacy Institute, which is studying the long-term impact of concussions. "We discovered that Mr. Fleming was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he died," said Chris Nowinski, co-director of the institute in Boston. "It's a progressive degenerative disease." Chronic traumatic encephalopathy CTE is characterized by a build-up of a toxic protein called tau — the same abnormal protein found in Alzheimer's disease. At first, the abnormal protein impairs normal brain function and eventually kills brain cells. The symptoms — memory impairment, emotional instability, erratic behaviour, depression and problems with impulse control and eventually dementia — are similar to Alzheimer's, which is why athletes may be misdiagnosed. But the proteins are distributed in different parts of the brain. © CBC 2009
Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 13588 - Posted: 06.24.2010
By ALAN SCHWARZ No direct impact caused Paul McQuigg’s brain injury in Iraq three years ago. And no wound from the incident visibly explains why Mr. McQuigg, now an office manager at a California Marine base, can get lost in his own neighborhood or arrive at the grocery store having forgotten why he left home. But his blast injury — concussive brain trauma caused by an explosion’s invisible force waves — is no less real to him than a missing limb is to other veterans. Just how real could become clearer after he dies, when doctors slice up his brain to examine any damage. Mr. McQuigg, 32, is one of 20 active and retired members of the military who recently agreed to donate their brain tissue upon death so that the effects of blast injuries — which, unlike most concussions, do not involve any direct contact with the head — can be better understood and treated. The research will be conducted by the Sports Legacy Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Waltham, Mass., and by the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, whose recent examination of the brains of deceased football players has found damage linked to cognitive decline and depression. Whether single, non-impact blasts in battle can cause the same damage as the years of repetitive head bashing seen in football is of particular interest to researchers. The damage, primarily toxic protein deposits and tangled brain fibers, cannot be detected through noninvasive procedures like M.R.I.’s and CT scans. Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
By BENEDICT CAREY A long-awaited government report is calling on the military to test all new recruits for cognitive skills and then do large-scale studies of returning combat veterans to better evaluate and respond to traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the Iraq war. For years, veterans’ advocates and researchers have called for more careful investigation of head injuries — not just severe wounds but also “closed head” injuries, which do not produce visible damage and do not show up on CT scans. Some doctors and veterans say the high blast impact of I.E.D.’s, the roadside explosives that have accounted for most head injuries to troops in Iraq, may be creating symptoms that differ from the sort of concussions suffered in sports or car accidents. Many veterans have complained of persistent, sometimes disabling symptoms like sleeplessness, dizziness and confusion that can resemble disorders like post-traumatic stress and can complicate disability assessments. The report, released Thursday by the Institute of Medicine, a government advisory group that studies health and medical issues, recommends that the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs conduct careful studies “to confirm reports of long-term or latent effects of exposure to blasts.” Some 5,500 military personnel have suffered brain injuries from mild to severe. The wounds account for an estimated 22 percent of all casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq — about twice the rate in Vietnam. Experts attribute this increase in part to better on-site medical care and body armor that allows ground troops to survive blasts that would otherwise be deadly. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
By DANIEL BERGNER “You want to wear this or this for therapy tomorrow?” Sgt. Shurvon Phillip’s mother asked, holding two shirts in front of him. On one wall of his bedroom hung a poster of a marine staring fiercely, assault rifle in hand and black paint beneath his narrow eyes. Shurvon’s eyes, meanwhile, are wide and soft brown. He sat upright, supported by the tilt of a hospital bed. He cannot speak and can barely emit sound or move any part of his body, and sometimes it’s as if the striking size of his eyes is a desperate attempt to let others understand who he is, to let them see inside his mind, because his brain can carry out so little in the way of communication. Keeping Hope Alive Shurvon’s mother has been his greatest advocate and believer. He gazed at the two shirts and, with excruciating effort and several seconds’ delay, managed to jab his gnarled right hand a few inches toward his choice, a black pullover with writing on the front. White letters declared the man, and a white arrow pointed upward to his head; red letters proclaimed the legend, and a red arrow pointed downward to his groin. Gail Ulerie, Shurvon’s mother, had already received his O.K. — a painstaking raising of his eyebrows — on a pair of jeans. Mostly, Shurvon can answer only yes-or-no questions. The slightly lifted brows, a gesture that stretches his eyes yet wider, signify yes. A slow lowering of his lids indicates no. Now, with tomorrow’s clothes decided, Gail, a Trinidadian-American, reclined Shurvon’s bed for the night. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Heidi Ledford US soldiers who became concussed during deployment in Iraq are more likely to report poor general health than are veterans with other injuries, a study has found. But questions remain about what causes those lingering health problems: the physical blow to the head, or the emotional trauma associated with violent experiences. A study released today, in the New England Journal of Medicine, notes that the link between concussion and poor health might have resulted from higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder in those with head injuries1. "The possibility that symptoms could be accounted for by emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder is very important for us to know," says Roger Pitman, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. "We have to be very careful about who we call 'brain-damaged', because of the possible adverse effects of labelling people in this way." Traumatic brain injuries are the most common physical injury seen in troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan — largely thanks to improvised explosive devices. They have been designated a 'signature' of the two conflicts. © 2008 Nature Publishing Group
Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 11263 - Posted: 06.24.2010
By JAN HOFFMAN WEST ORANGE, N.J. — In the therapy gym for the minimally functional, Jodi Levin props a patient between cushions, kneels behind him and then braces him with her arms. She directs his mother to select photos of his brother and his father. At the coaxing of Ms. Levin, an occupational therapist on the brain injury unit of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, the mother holds one photo to the left side of the patient’s head, the other to the right. “Look at Dad’s picture,” Ms. Levin urges. “Dad’s on the left. Find Dad. You can do it!” The patient, wobbly and glazed, tries mightily to understand her command and then heed it by compelling his neck to turn. He almost makes it. Gently letting him go, catching him as he flops, Ms. Levin explains to his mother, “Now I’m working on trunk control.” The man flinches. “It’s the basis of everything,” she continues. “For getting in and out of bed, brushing teeth, getting dressed.” Eight weeks earlier, the patient, 18, wearing a helmet and protective leather gear, had been riding his motorcycle to community college. As he came over a hill, the car in front slowed abruptly; to avoid hitting it, the teenager swerved and was hit by an oncoming car. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
By ALAN SCHWARZ Vin Ferrara, a former Harvard quarterback, was looking for an aspirin in his medicine cabinet when his eyes fixed upon a ribbed plastic bottle used to squirt saline into sinuses. Ferrara squeezed the bottle, then pounded on it — finding that it cushioned soft and hard blows with equal aplomb, almost intelligence. “This is it,” Ferrara declared. Three years later, Ferrara’s squirt bottle has led to a promising new technology to protect football players from concussions. Football helmets have evolved over more than a century from crude leather bonnets to face-masked, polycarbonate battering rams. But they still often fail to protect brains from the sudden forces that cause concussions. Studies have found that 10 to 50 percent of high school players each season sustain concussions, whose effects can range from persistent memory problems and depression to coma and death. Contemporary helmet manufacturers have made a point of improving protection against concussions. But experts suspect that Ferrara, who sustained several concussions as a player himself, has developed a radically effective design. Rather than being lined with rows of traditional foam or urethane, Ferrara’s helmet features 18 black, thermoplastic shock absorbers filled with air that — not unlike his squirt bottle — can accept a wide range of forces and still moderate the sudden jarring of the head that causes concussion. Moreover, laboratory tests have shown that the disks can withstand hundreds of impacts without any notable degradation in performance, a longtime drawback of helmets’ traditional foam. Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
By ALAN SCHWARZ WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Hannah Stohler sat beside the piano she could no longer play, in the living room that spun like a carousel, in the chair in which she tried to read but could not remember a word. Ten months after her third concussion while playing high school soccer knocked her into a winter-long haze of headaches and dizziness and depression that few around her could comprehend, Stohler recalled how she once viewed concussions. “I thought they were a football injury — a boy thing,” said Stohler, a junior at Conard High School in West Hartford, Conn. “Those guys are taught to hit hard and knock people to the ground. But anyone can get a concussion, and I don’t think a lot of girls recognize that. They have no idea how awful the effects can be — it changes your life.” Stohler, 16, has more company than most people know. While football does have the most concussions (and controversy over their treatment) in high school athletics, girls competing in sports like soccer and basketball are more susceptible to concussions than boys are in the same sports, studies show. According to a study to be published in the Journal of Athletic Training, in high school soccer, girls sustained concussions 68 percent more often than boys did. Female concussion rates in high school basketball were almost three times higher than among boys. Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
By ALAN SCHWARZ To Kelby Jasmon, there was only one answer. The question: If he received yet another concussion this football season, while playing offensive and defensive line for his high school in Springfield, Ill., would he tell a coach or trainer? Jasmon, with his battering-ram, freshly buzz-cut head and eyes that danced with impending glory, immediately answered: “No chance. It’s not dangerous to play with a concussion. You’ve got to sacrifice for the sake of the team. The only way I come out is on a stretcher.” Jasmon, a senior with three concussions on his résumé, looked at two teammates for support and unity. They said the same thing with the same certainty: They did not quite know what a concussion was, and would never tell their coaches if they believed they had sustained one. Matt Selvaggio, who plays with Jasmon on both lines, said: “Our coaches would take us out in a second. So why would we tell them?” Many of the 1.2 million teenagers who play high school football are chanting similar war whoops as they strap on their helmets. They either do not know what a concussion is or they simply do not care. Their code of silence, bred by football’s gladiator culture, allows them to play on and sometimes be hurt much worse — sometimes fatally. Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
By LIBBY SANDER CHICAGO, — Frustrated with the federal government’s response to the mental health needs of soldiers, Illinois officials announced on Tuesday that members of the state’s National Guard would be routinely screened for traumatic brain injuries after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The mandatory program, which appears to be the first in the nation, will also offer the screening to other veterans in the state and will include a 24-hour hot line providing psychological counseling to veterans of all military branches. The program is expected to cost $10.5 million a year. “It’s been shown that the federal government simply was not prepared to deal with the number of war injured coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Tammy Duckworth, the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot who lost both legs on active duty in Iraq. “This is a way that we in Illinois can react much more quickly,” Ms. Duckworth said at a news conference with Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat. There are currently 1,100 members of the Illinois Army National Guard serving, or preparing to serve, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Traumatic brain injuries afflict 14 percent to 20 percent of military service members, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, a federally financed program. Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 10461 - Posted: 06.24.2010
By Barry Yeoman Some 20 years ago, in front of a frenzied and antagonistic crowd, Harry Carson hurled his entire bulk—240 pounds—into an equally massive human body racing toward him across the field at Washington’s RFK Stadium. A middle linebacker with the New York Giants, Carson was a celebrated defensive football player, smart and agile, selected for the Pro Bowl even during years his team couldn’t eke out a winning season. Above all, he was known for aggression. Once, walking off the field after a game, Carson felt a tug on his jersey, turned around, and found himself eye to eye with O. J. Simpson. “Man, I’ve been hit by some of the best,” the running back told him. “But I’ve never been hit as hard as you hit me today.” That day at RFK Stadium, Carson’s quarry was John Riggins, a Washington Redskins fullback with a similar reputation. Helmet against helmet, shoulder against shoulder, the players crashed with a concussion-producing impact that Carson would remember for decades. “It was like two trains colliding,” he would later say. Dazed, Carson dusted himself off and walked back into the Giants’ huddle—and as he stood holding his teammates’ hands, everything went black. He didn’t faint. He didn’t stop playing. For a few minutes, though, he found himself unable to interpret his coach’s signals from the sidelines. He couldn’t call the next play, as the middle linebacker is expected to do. He just remained in the game, doing the best he could until he regained his wits. © 2004 The Walt Disney Company
During a football game early last season, Virginia Tech Hokie linebacker Brandon Manning took a hard hit that shook him up a little bit. But he shook it off and stayed in the game. "It wasn't necessarily a matter of me not wanting to tell them," says Manning. "I just maybe didn't realize it. I'm worked up, I'm in the game, and I'm maybe able to put some things behind me and continue to play like I hope I can. It wasn't really till the next day when I came in to watch film that I found I didn't really remember half the plays that I was in [in] the game. I started to see myself but I didn't really remember what I was doing, and that's when I really sort of realized that I had had a concussion." Micky Collins, a concussion specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, says Manning's continued play put him in great danger, especially if he had gotten hit again. "The worst that can happen is second impact syndrome, when you have two concussions in relatively short duration," says Collins. "That can cause death in an athlete." Now the Hokies are participating in a study that might help team trainers spot these dangerous collisions right away. The team's helmets are rigged with tiny sensors—like the ones that deploy airbags in cars—called accelerometers, which measure the impacts to the helmets. During play, a transmitter immediately sends real-time information about the force of a collision to a laptop computer on the sideline. The system is called HITS—Head Impact Telemetry System—and is manufactured by Simbex. © ScienCentral, 2000- 2004.
Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 6369 - Posted: 06.24.2010
As a child, Beth Livermore, mother of two from Bedminster, New Jersey, just wanted to have fun on her bicycle. "When I was a child I borrowed my mom's bike," she recalls. "We set up jumps and I routinely went over the handlebars. Didn't think a lot about it—of course we didn't wear helmets." But as a parent she wants her kids to be safe. "With the kids we're really careful, they wear helmets, always." Helmets are a good idea because the brain can be easily injured and treatment options are very limited. Millions of Americans suffer serious non-penetrating head injuries every year, commonly from activities such as cycling, sports and car accidents, which can result in localized brain damage, memory loss and death. Brain researchers have long known what happens in the injured brain during the first hour after a head trauma. Initially there is a large outflow of glutamate, a chemical neurotransmitter by which nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other and other cells. When this excess of glutamate binds to certain receptors on the surface of other nerve cells, the receptors become so overactive, or excited, that the cells die. These receptors are an essential part of forming memories, which could explain the memory loss that commonly results from head trauma. © ScienCentral, 2000- 2004. All
Associated Press Burton, England — Former England World Cup striker Jeff Astle was renowned as a great header of a soccer ball. He never knew it would kill him. In what could be a groundbreaking decision, a coroner ruled yesterday that Astle died at 59 from a degenerative brain disease caused by the constant heading of a heavy and often wet soccer ball. The former West Bromwich Albion striker, famed for a memorable FA Cup final goal in 1968 and missing an easy chance in a World Cup game against Brazil two years later, died suddenly last January after collapsing at his daughter's home. © 2002 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc.
BY TIM DAHLBERG Associated Press LAS VEGAS (AP) — Pedro Alcazar spent much of his last day alive like any other tourist. He watched pirates do battle on the Strip, had lunch atop the tallest building in town and fed some quarters into slot machines. The night before, he had taken a beating before being stopped in the sixth round of the biggest fight of his career. Yet now he was in remarkably good spirits, joking and laughing, posing for pictures and signing autographs for the occasional tourist. "I know I lost the title, but I didn't lose everything," he said. "I'm going to try to win a world championship for Panama and my family." © 2002 FOX Interactive Television, LLC. All rights reserved.
By John Yang [ABCNEWS.com] — For people in cardiac arrest — sudden, abrupt heart failure — time counts. New research indicates temperature counts, too. About 300,000 Americans suffer cardiac arrest each year, and about half of them are able to be resuscitated. For survivors, a major problem is permanent brain damage, the result of interrupted blood flow. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors in Europe and Australia report that lowering body temperature significantly reduces the risk of that damage. What's more, cooling the patients for the first 12 to 24 hours increased their chances of survival by more than 25 percent. Copyright © 2002 ABCNEWS Internet Ventures.
Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 1563 - Posted: 06.24.2010