Links for Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion

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By Daniel Ackerman Repeatedly heading a soccer ball exacts a toll on an athlete’s brain. But this cost—measured by the volume of brain cells damaged—is five times greater for women than for men, new research suggests. The study provides a biological explanation for why women report more severe symptoms and longer recovery times than men following brain injuries in sports. Previously some researchers had dismissed female players’ complaints because there was little physiological evidence for the disparity, says Michael Lipton, a neuroscientist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a co-author of the paper. Lipton’s team used magnetic resonance imaging to peer into the skulls of 98 adult amateur soccer players—half of them female and half male—who headed the ball with varying frequency during the prior year. For women, eight of the brain’s signal-carrying white matter regions showed structural deterioration, compared with just three such regions in men (damage increased with the number of reported headers). Furthermore, female athletes in the study suffered damage to an average of about 2,100 cubic millimeters of brain tissue, compared with an average of just 400 cubic millimeters in the male athletes. Lipton does not yet know the cause of these sex differences, but he notes two possibilities. Women may suffer stronger whiplash from a cranial blow because they generally have less muscle mass than men to stabilize the neck and skull. Alternatively, a dip in progesterone, a hormone that protects against swelling in the brain, could heighten women’s vulnerability to brain injury during certain phases of their menstrual cycle. © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 25556 - Posted: 10.10.2018

By Sarah Mervosh A simple rule change in Ivy League football games has led to a significant drop in concussions, a study released this week found. After the Ivy League changed its kickoff rules in 2016, adjusting the kickoff and touchback lines by just five yards, the rate of concussions per 1,000 kickoff plays fell to two from 11, according to the study, which was published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Kickoffs, during which players sprint down the field and can knock into each other at full speed, had previously represented an outsize number of concussions. The study comes amid a broader push to adjust kickoff rules at all levels of football and offers a strong indication that touchbacks can help reduce the risk of head injury in a sport grappling with the competing priorities of entertaining its audience and keeping its players safe. “We see really compelling evidence that, indeed, introducing the experimental kickoff rule seems to be associated with a large reduction in concussions,” said Douglas Wiebe, the lead author of the study and the director of the Penn Injury Science Center at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015, kickoffs during Ivy League games accounted for 6 percent of all plays, but 21 percent of concussions, the study said. So Ivy League football coaches decided to change the rules to encourage kicks into the end zone. Under the new system, teams kicked off from the 40-yard line, instead of the 35, and touchbacks started from the 20-yard line, rather than the 25. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25519 - Posted: 10.02.2018

By Perri Klass, M.D. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a major new guideline on diagnosing and managing head injuries in children on Sept. 4, the product of years of work and extensive evidence review by a large working group of specialists in fields ranging from emergency medicine and epidemiology to sports injuries to neurology and neurosurgery. The guideline, which is the first from the C.D.C. that is specific to mild brain injury in children, advises against the long recovery period, isolated in a dark, quiet room, that has sometimes been used in treatment. “The brain is a somewhat gelatinous, even trembling organ which houses our consciousness,” said Dr. Angela Lumba-Brown, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist who is the co-director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center, and the first author of the guideline. “It does have resilience, but there are periods in life when it is particularly vulnerable.” Having a truly evidence-based guideline should help clinicians personalize the care that children receive and the ways they gradually reintegrate into activities and sports, she said, rather than applying rigid rules — and should generally encourage an earlier return to non-risky activity. The guideline focuses specifically on what is called mTBI, for “mild traumatic brain injury,” which might otherwise be called concussion. There are studies which show that the way that people think about these head injuries — the kids, the parents, the coaches, the doctors — can actually be affected by which term is used, so that what is called a concussion may not be taken as seriously as what is called a mild traumatic brain injury. Some of these injuries are related to sports, but many involve falls from playground equipment, or in the home, as young children explore their developing physical abilities. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25459 - Posted: 09.17.2018

By Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach A series of attacks with a microwave weapon is the latest theory for what could have sickened or distressed roughly two dozen people associated with the U.S. Embassy in Cuba over the past two years. The alleged attacks dominated a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Cuba policy Thursday afternoon. But a panel of State Department officials said there is still no explanation for the reported injuries. “We’re seeing a unique syndrome. I can’t even call it a syndrome. It’s a unique constellation of symptoms and findings, but with no obvious cause,” testified Charles Rosenfarb, the State Department’s medical director. Despite the buzz over microwaves, advanced in news reports in recent days, experts warn that caution is in order. There’s an old scientific aphorism that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. “And they’re not giving the extraordinary evidence. They’re not giving any evidence,” said physicist Peter Zimmerman, an arms control expert and former scientific adviser to the State Department and Senate Foreign Relations Committee. No microwave weapon that affects the brain is known to exist. The FBI has investigated the Cuba cases and found no evidence of a plot. Searches of the U.S. Embassy and other locations in Havana have turned up no sign of a weapon. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25424 - Posted: 09.08.2018

By William J. Broad During the Cold War, Washington feared that Moscow was seeking to turn microwave radiation into covert weapons of mind control. More recently, the American military itself sought to develop microwave arms that could invisibly beam painfully loud booms and even spoken words into people’s heads. The aims were to disable attackers and wage psychological warfare. Now, doctors and scientists say such unconventional weapons may have caused the baffling symptoms and ailments that, starting in late 2016, hit more than three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China. The Cuban incidents resulted in a diplomatic rupture between Havana and Washington. The medical team that examined 21 affected diplomats from Cuba made no mention of microwaves in its detailed report published in JAMA in March. But Douglas H. Smith, the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a recent interview that microwaves were now considered a main suspect and that the team was increasingly sure the diplomats had suffered brain injury. “Everybody was relatively skeptical at first,” he said, “and everyone now agrees there’s something there.” Dr. Smith remarked that the diplomats and doctors jokingly refer to the trauma as the immaculate concussion. Strikes with microwaves, some experts now argue, more plausibly explain reports of painful sounds, ills and traumas than do other possible culprits — sonic attacks, viral infections and contagious anxiety. In particular, a growing number of analysts cite an eerie phenomenon known as the Frey effect, named after Allan H. Frey, an American scientist. Long ago, he found that microwaves can trick the brain into perceiving what seem to be ordinary sounds. The false sensations, the experts say, may account for a defining symptom of the diplomatic incidents — the perception of loud noises, including ringing, buzzing and grinding. Initially, experts cited those symptoms as evidence of stealthy attacks with sonic weapons. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 9: Hearing, Vestibular Perception, Taste, and Smell
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 6: Hearing, Balance, Taste, and Smell
Link ID: 25410 - Posted: 09.01.2018

Ian Sample Science editor Claims that US diplomats suffered mysterious brain injuries after being targeted with a secret weapon in Cuba have been challenged by neurologists and other brain specialists. A medical report commissioned by the US government, published in March, found that staff at the US embassy in Havana suffered concussion-like brain damage after hearing strange noises in homes and hotels, but doctors from the US, the UK and Germany have contested the conclusions. In four separate letters to the Journal of the American Medical Association, which published the original medical study, groups of doctors specialising in neurology, neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology described what they believed were major flaws in the study. Among the criticisms, published on Tuesday, are that the University of Pennsylvania team which assessed the diplomats misinterpreted test results, overlooked common disorders that might have made the workers feel sick, or dismissed psychological explanations for their symptoms. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania defended their report in a formal response in the journal, but the specialists told the Guardian they stood by their criticisms. The US withdrew more than half of its Havana diplomats last year and expelled 15 Cubans after 24 embassy staff and family reported a bizarre list of symptoms, ranging from headaches, dizziness and difficulties in sleeping, to problems with concentration, balance, vision and hearing. Many said their symptoms developed after they heard strange noises, described as cicada-like chirps, grinding, or the buffeting caused by an open window in the car. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 9: Hearing, Vestibular Perception, Taste, and Smell; Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 6: Hearing, Balance, Taste, and Smell; Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25334 - Posted: 08.15.2018

by Amy Ellis Nutt Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in young adults in the developed world. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Though the reasons for any particular suicide are often inscrutable, research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that at least a fraction of the blame could be placed on traumatic brain injuries. Researchers found that of the nearly 7.5 million people who make up the population of Denmark, more than 34,500 deaths between 1980 and 2014 were by suicide. Approximately 10 percent of those who took their own lives had also suffered a medically documented traumatic brain injury. The statistical analysis was conducted using the Danish Cause of Death registry. “Individuals with mild TBI, with concussion, had an elevated suicide risk by 81 percent,” said Trine Madsen of the Danish Research Institute of Suicide Prevention, one of the authors of the study. “But individuals with severe TBI had a higher suicide risk that was more than double [the risk of someone with no TBI].” Three factors most strongly predicted the risk of suicide: the severity of the traumatic brain injury, a first incidence occurring in young adulthood and discharge from a hospital for a TBI in the previous six months. Seena Fazel, a forensic psychiatrist at the University of Oxford, has studied TBIs and health risks, including mental health issues, in large Scandinavian populations as well. “What is important in this study,” Fazel said, “is that we can say that these risks are also found when TBIs are sustained in childhood.” © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25330 - Posted: 08.15.2018

Laura Sanders A career of hard hits to the head doesn’t inevitably lead to brain decline, a small study of former football and hockey pros suggests. The results counter a specter raised by other studies on pro football players’ brains after death. The new findings come from extensive brain scans and behavioral tests of 21 retired athletes — football players from New York’s Buffalo Bills and hockey players from the Buffalo Sabres. In a series of papers published August 7 in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, researchers report finding no signs among the athletes of early dementia or mental slipping. Those symptoms are early hallmarks of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which can be diagnosed by a brain examination only after death. Such studies involving living subjects “are exactly what we really need,” says cognitive neuroscientist and psychologist Carrie Esopenko of Rutgers University in Newark, N.J. “They are really going to help us understand what’s going on in these lives, rather than what’s happening when they’re dead.” Using a battery of clinical tests, researchers at the University at Buffalo measured brain function and mental health, while also investigating other aspects of the ex-players’ health, such as diet, body mass index and history of drug and alcohol use. The team then compared the results with the same measures taken for 21 noncontact athletes, including runners and cyclists. Participating football players and hockey players expected bad news. They “were pretty much their own worst critics,” believing themselves to be impaired, says coauthor and psychiatrist Barry Willer. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25308 - Posted: 08.08.2018

Laura Sanders Among amateur players who headed a similar number of balls, women had more signs of microscopic damage in their brains’ white matter than men, scientists report July 31 in Radiology. Female athletes are known to have worse symptoms after brain injuries than male athletes, but a clear head-to-head comparison of post-heading brains hadn’t been done until now. From 2013 to 2016, study coauthor Michael Lipton of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues recruited 98 soccer players from amateur teams, including from colleges. The researchers then compared male and female players who headed the ball a similar number of times over the past year. For men, that median estimate was 487 headers. Women had an estimated median of 469 headers. Despite those similar numbers of head knocks, women’s brains had more spots that showed signs of microscopic damage. A type of magnetic resonance imaging scan called diffusion tensor imaging identified brain regions with changes in white matter, bundles of message-sending fibers. In some cases, those altered spots indicated possible damage to nerve cell axons and myelin, a protective coating that speeds neural signals along. In men, only three brain regions showed potential damage associated with heading frequency. In women, eight regions showed signs of damage with frequent heading. These brain changes weren’t enough to cause symptoms in the amateur soccer players. But repeated blows to the brain can contribute to memory loss and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disorder found in professional football players, soldiers and others whose brains suffer repetitive trauma (SN: 7/13/13, p. 18). |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 25281 - Posted: 08.01.2018

Jon Hamilton Daniel, a Marine Corps veteran, used to fire a rocket launcher called the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon. Two decades later, he still experiences dizzy spells and disorientation. But the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't have a category for vets like him, who may have sustained traumatic brain injuries from training rather than combat. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: We heard yesterday from a Marine named Daniel. He spent years firing rocket launchers. Now he thinks that experience may have injured his brain. DANIEL: I lose my spatial orientation. I don't know where I am. Vision gets blurrier, even sound is kind of muffled. CORNISH: But when Daniel went to the Veterans Affairs Department for help, he discovered that the VA doesn't have a category for people like him. NPR's Jon Hamilton reports on how the VA is dealing with veterans who may have a new kind of brain injury, one caused by the weapons they fired. JON HAMILTON, BYLINE: Daniel, who asked us not to use his last name, used to fire a rocket launcher called the Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon or SMAW. UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Left. Right. Back left stay all clear. Rocket. (SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION) HAMILTON: That meant his head was just inches from the explosion used to launch each rocket. And during his training in the late 1990s, Daniel began to have episodes where he'd feel dizzy and disoriented. Now, 20 years later, those symptoms can still return when he turns his head quickly or stumbles. DANIEL: It's disturbing to me. And it is terrifying to me. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25258 - Posted: 07.27.2018

Jon Hamilton Chris Ferrari was just 18 the first time he balanced a rocket launcher on his right shoulder and aimed it at a practice target. "Your adrenaline's going and you're trying to focus on getting that round to hit, and then you go to squeeze that trigger and, you know." Boom! The report is loud enough to burst the eardrums of anyone not wearing military-grade hearing protection. And the blast wave from the weapon is so powerful it feels like a whole-body punch. "It's exhilarating," says Chris's buddy Daniel, a former gunner in the Marine Corps who asked that we not use his last name. "When you feel a concussive wave, it's an awesome thing. It fills you with awe." It also may do bad things to your brain. Studies show that troops who repeatedly fire powerful, shoulder-launched weapons can experience short-term problems with memory and thinking. They may also feel nauseated, fatigued and dizzy. In short, they have symptoms like those of a concussion. It's still not clear whether firing these weapons can lead to long-term brain damage. But Chris and Daniel suspect that, for them, it may have. While in the Marines, Daniel and Chris spent two years in the late 1990s firing a rocket launcher called the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon, or SMAW. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25251 - Posted: 07.26.2018

By Perri Klass, M.D. You probably remember the before and after of learning to ride a bicycle — and perhaps the joy of helping your children learn how. Riding together is a wonderful family activity — good exercise, outdoor time, and it even gets you places. But safety is a vital part of what parents should be teaching. A recent study looked at bicycle-related injuries in children treated in emergency departments in the United States over a 10-year period from the beginning of 2006 through the end of 2017. Over that time, there were more than two million such injuries in children from 5 to 17, which the researchers calculated meant more than 600 a day, or 25 an hour. “That’s a lot,” said Lara McKenzie, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Given the age of the most-injured group, 10 to 14, she said, “I feel this is a group where the parents might view the child as an experienced rider, but perhaps they’re riding in places they shouldn’t ride.” The study did not include fatalities, since it was looking only at children in the emergency room and excluded the 12 who actually died there. Of the injuries, 36 percent were to the upper extremities, 25 percent to the lower extremities, 15 percent to the face, and 15 percent to the head and neck. Many were related to falling off bikes, or crashing into something, Dr. McKenzie said, and when cars were involved, whether stationary or moving, the risk of traumatic brain injury (11 percent) and hospitalization (4 percent) increased. So safety first and foremost: wear helmets. In the new study, “helmet use at the time of injury was associated with lower risk of head and neck injury, and of hospitalization — that’s protective, we know,” Dr. McKenzie said. And it isn’t just about making your children wear helmets; when parents wear helmets, they are not only protecting themselves, but research has shown that when parents model the safe behavior, it’s more likely that children will be putting those helmets on themselves. Make sure the child is riding a bike the right size, and make sure the helmet fits correctly. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 25235 - Posted: 07.23.2018

Tom Goldman CTE has been part of the national lexicon in the U.S. since the 2015 movie Concussion dramatized the discovery of this degenerative brain disease among football players. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is found among people who've had head injuries. Though not everyone with head trauma develops CTE, the group that's come to be most associated with it is football players, whose brains can be routinely jarred by hard hits. The disease has been linked to depression, dementia and even suicide among those who play the game. But the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease published a study Tuesday that helps broaden the understanding of who is potentially affected by CTE to include military personnel. And, perhaps more significantly, the study represents a step forward in developing a test for the disease in the living. Right now, accurately diagnosing CTE requires the close study of brain tissue during autopsy, to identify the telltale abnormal proteins that kill brain cells. And this is a key reason why knowledge about CTE — who gets it, how widespread it is and the development of treatments — has lagged. "You've really got to have a living diagnosis scan in order to make much headway on understanding the disease," says Dr. Julian Bailes, a neurosurgeon at the Chicago area's NorthShore University HealthSystem, and one of the study's authors. That diagnostic scan is what researchers have gotten close to in this case. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 25227 - Posted: 07.19.2018

Layal Liverpool A treatment given to thousands of people who suffer cardiac arrest in Britain every year nearly doubles the risk of permanent brain damage and only marginally improves the chances of survival, a landmark study has found. More than 30,000 people have cardiac arrests – where the heart stops beating – annually in the UK. More than half receive shots of adrenaline alongside other interventions that are designed to restart the heart. In most cases the attacks are still fatal, with fewer than 10% of patients surviving to be discharged from hospital. In a study of more than 8,000 people across Britain, doctors found that adrenaline shots increased the survival rate of patients by less than 1%, but nearly doubled the risk of serious brain damage. Nearly a third of survivors who received adrenaline ended up in a vegetative state or were unable to walk and look after themselves, compared with 18% of survivors who had a placebo instead. “What we’ve shown is that adrenaline can restart the heart but it is no good for the brain,” said study leader Gavin Perkins, a professor of critical care medicine at the University of Warwick and a consultant physician at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The practice of giving adrenaline to people who suffer cardiac arrest has been the standard of care in the UK for more than half a century. Under guidelines set by the Resuscitation Council UK, adrenaline is given to people who fail to respond to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or defibrillation immediately following cardiac arrest. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25226 - Posted: 07.19.2018

Ashley Yeager Exosomes in the blood that originated from brain cells carry biomarkers that indicate the severity of traumatic brain injuries, researchers reported in Brain Injury in June. The authors say certain proteins in these vesicles could help predict the progression and long-term effects of the brain damage. “Developing a peripheral blood test to track TBIs [traumatic brain injuries] is a holy grail,” says John Lukens, a neuroscientist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine who was not involved in the study. Showing that blood-derived biomarkers can be predictive of the issues individuals with TBIs might experience, he says, is a big advance toward achieving that goal. Past studies have shown that elevated levels of tau and amyloid-β in blood plasma are associated with post-concussive symptoms after a TBI, and postmortem studies of the brains of athletes that have had repeated head injuries also have shown increased levels of tau. The detection of amyloid-β in postmortem brain tissue has been tied to repeated hits to the head that didn’t cause concussions but hinted at brain injury. Other research has also suggested links between brain inflammation, TBIs, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but such connections have been hard to identify using blood biomarkers. In the new study, Jessica Gill, who studies the neurobiology of trauma at the National Institute of Nursing Research, and colleagues collected blood from 60 men and 4 women who served in the military. Some of the individuals had suffered mild TBIs, while others had not. The team then used recently developed nanoparticle sorting technology to isolate individual exosomes—extracellular vesicles that carry contents from their cells of origin—from the soldiers’ blood. © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25215 - Posted: 07.17.2018

By Gretchen Reynolds The question of whether young children should use their heads on the soccer field has been a contentious one in recent years. In 2015, U.S. Youth Soccer, the organization that oversees most of the country’s leagues for children and teenagers, announced a ban on heading in games and practices by participants younger than 11, citing concerns that the play might contribute to concussions. In response, some soccer authorities pointed out that young players would be late to learn an essential soccer skill and that concussions from heading are rare in that age group regardless. Now a study presented last month at the annual convention of the American College of Sports Medicine may help quell doubts about the current regulations, which went into effect in 2016. According to studies of experienced adult soccer players, heading can generate impact forces almost equivalent to those of a helmet-to-helmet football tackle. But less attention has been directed at heading by young players and the attendant cognitive effects, if any. Last year, however, researchers in Puerto Rico gained permission to work with 30 boys and girls there, ages 9 to 11, who played in a local youth league. (Children this age are allowed to head in Puerto Rico.) The youngsters took a series of cognitive tests and were then outfitted with a specialized headband that recorded head movements and related impacts while they played. Most of the children wound up heading the ball at least once over the course of three games. Data from the headbands indicates their brains were subjected to acceleration forces ranging from 16 to 60 Gs. In adult players, 60 Gs during heading would be considered forceful enough to cause a concussion, although none of the children in the study received a concussion diagnosis. Most of the impacts were what researchers call “subconcussive,” or below the 60 G threshold. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25135 - Posted: 06.25.2018

Will Stone Hundreds of survivors of domestic violence have come through the doors of neurologist Glynnis Zieman's Phoenix clinic in the past three years. "The domestic violence patients are the next chapter of brain injury," she says. Zieman begins every new patient visit with a simple question: "What are the symptoms you hope I can help you with?" For most, it's the first time anyone has ever asked even how they may have been injured in the first place. "I actually heard one patient tell me the only person who ever asked her if someone did this to her was a paramedic, as she was being wheeled into an ambulance," Zieman says. "And the husband was at the foot of her stretcher." While many patients initially seek out the clinic because of physical symptoms, such as headaches, exhaustion, dizziness or problems sleeping, Zieman says her research shows anxiety, depression and PTSD usually end up being the most severe problems. Studies of traumatic brain injury have revealed links to dementia and memory loss in veterans and athletes. And TBI has also been linked to PTSD in current or former service members. Another group may be suffering, still largely in silence — survivors of domestic violence. About 70 percent of people seen in the ER for such abuse are never actually identified as survivors of domestic violence. It's a health crisis cloaked in secrecy and shame, one that Zieman is uncovering through her work at the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25051 - Posted: 06.02.2018

Being discharged from a hospital trauma center after receiving treatment for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) does not necessarily mean that a patient has fully recovered. TBI can lead to long-lasting physical and cognitive symptoms, but a new study in JAMA Network Open suggests that many patients may not be receiving follow-up care. Patients in the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI (link is external)) initiative, a large, long-term, NIH-funded study of patients who are treated at the emergency room for mild TBI or concussion, were surveyed about their care after hospital discharge. Follow-up care in this study referred to receiving TBI-related educational materials at discharge, a call from the hospital within two weeks after release, seeing a healthcare provider within two weeks, or seeing a healthcare provider within three months. According to the findings, 44 percent of the 831 patients who completed questionnaires 2 weeks and 3 months after sustaining TBI reported seeing a doctor or other provider within three months. Of those patients, 15 percent visited a clinic that specialized in head injury. Approximately half of the patients saw a general practitioner and close to a third reported seeing more than one type of doctor. Additionally, among the 279 patients with three or more moderate-to-severe post-concussive symptoms, 41 percent had not had a follow-up visit at three months after discharge. Approximately half of the patients were discharged without TBI educational materials.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 25024 - Posted: 05.26.2018

By Chris Buckley and Gardiner Harris BEIJING — An American government employee posted in southern China has signs of possible brain injury after reporting disturbing sounds and sensations, the State Department said on Wednesday, in events that seemed to draw parallels with mysterious ailments that struck American diplomats in Cuba. The State Department warning, issued through the United States Consulate in Guangzhou, a city in southern China, advised American citizens in China to seek medical help if they felt similar symptoms. But it said that no other cases had been reported. “A U.S. government employee in China recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure,” the health alert said. “We do not currently know what caused the reported symptoms and we are not aware of any similar situations in China, either inside or outside of the diplomatic community.” The employee was working in Guangzhou, and “reported experiencing a variety of physical symptoms” from late 2017 until April, Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the United States Embassy in Beijing, said in an emailed response to questions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday that medical teams were heading to Guangzhou to address the issue. “The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba,” he said. The embassy was told on Friday “that the clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury,” according to Ms. Lee, who said she could not reveal any more details to protect the employee’s privacy. Mild traumatic brain injury can show up as headache, dizziness, nausea, poor memory and a general foggy sensation. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately answer faxed questions about the ill American, but Mr. Pompeo said the Trump administration had asked the Chinese government for assistance in an investigation, “and they have committed to honoring their commitments under the Vienna convention.” The Vienna convention requires that countries protect diplomats stationed in their nations. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 9: Hearing, Vestibular Perception, Taste, and Smell
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 6: Hearing, Balance, Taste, and Smell
Link ID: 25017 - Posted: 05.24.2018

Jon Hamilton For the first time, the U.S. military is speaking publicly about what it's doing to address potential health risks to troops who operate certain powerful shoulder-mounted weapons. These bazooka-like weapons produce forceful explosions just inches from the operator's head. Though several scientific reports over the past year have noted the possible risk, until now military officials have been reluctant to speak publicly about whether repeated exposure to these blasts might result in injury to a shooter's brain. Tracie Lattimore, who directs the Army's traumatic brain injury program, agreed to an interview with NPR to talk about steps the military is taking. "We are leaning in and trying to do everything in our power to protect soldiers and service members while they continue to get their job done," says Lattimore, who works in the Office of the Army Surgeon General. She describes a wide-ranging effort that's already begun and includes scientific research on troops' exposure to blast during weapons training, enforcing limits on the firing of certain weapons, and even looking into whether special helmets could help stop blast waves. The Army also has plans to monitor service members' total blast exposure during their military careers, Lattimore says. And even as the Army starts to take preventive measures, some basic questions still need answers. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 24998 - Posted: 05.19.2018