Links for Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion

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Dave Davies Did Stone Age people conduct brain surgery? Medical historian Ira Rutkow points to evidence that suggests they did. "There have been many instances of skulls that have been found dating back to Neolithic times that have grooves in them where portions of the skull have been removed. And it's evident if you look at these skulls, that this was all done by hand," Rutkow says. There's no written record of Stone Age neurosurgery, but Rutkow theorizes it may have been conducted by a shaman on patients who were comatose or who had been otherwise injured. What's more, he says, physical evidence indicates that some patients likely survived: "With many of these older skulls, new bone growth had already formed, and bone in the skull can only form if the patient is alive," he says. Rutkow is a surgeon himself. His new book, Empire of the Scalpel, traces the history of surgery, from the days when barbers did most operations and patients died in great numbers, to today's high tech operations that use robots with artificial intelligence. He says that when looking back, it's important to keep in mind the body of knowledge that existed at a particular point in history — and to not judge surgeons of yore too harshly. "People write about medical history and they say, 'Oh, it was barbaric,' or 'The doctors were maltreating,'" he says. "We have to remember at all times that whatever I write about in the past was considered state of the art at the time. ... I would hate to think that 200 years from now, somebody is looking at what we are doing today and saying, 'Boy, that treatment that they were doing was just barbaric. How do they do that to people?'" © 2022 npr

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 28257 - Posted: 03.30.2022

By Ken Belson For more than two decades, Paul McCrory has been the world’s foremost doctor shaping the concussion protocols that are used by sports leagues and organizations globally. As the leader of the Concussion in Sport Group, McCrory helped choose the members of the international group and write its quadrennial consensus statement on the latest research on concussions — a veritable bible for leagues, trainers, doctors and academics that an N.F.L. spokesman once called “the foundation of all sports-related research.” But McCrory’s status as a leading gatekeeper for concussion treatment and research is under attack as he faces multiple accusations that he plagiarized other scientists, including in articles for a medical journal that he edited. He has denied intentionally lifting copy without credit, and has called one since-retracted piece an “isolated and unfortunate incident.” The scandal facing the pre-eminent doctor, who has long cast doubt on the legitimacy of C.T.E., or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has raised questions about his relationship to sports leagues and the influence they may have in shaping how the research on brain trauma is interpreted. “It’s concerning because he’s taken the lead on writing a consensus statement that is so influential, and we should have access to his insights,” said Kathleen Bachynski, who teaches public health at Muhlenberg College and has written about head trauma in sports. “McCrory’s research agenda and published statements and work as an expert witness come from a point of view of minimizing C.T.E.” McCrory’s prominence grew as sports leagues looked for consensus on concussions. McCrory’s rise to power in concussion circles is notable partly because he is based in Australia, far from the research centers studying head trauma in Europe and America. A neurologist at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, McCrory worked for 15 years as a team doctor for the Collingwood Football Club, an Australian rules football team in Melbourne, beginning around 1990. He came to advise the Australian Football League, as well as Formula 1 racing, boxing, soccer, rugby and a who’s who of sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and the International Ice Hockey Federation, at the turn of the century. © 2022 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 28249 - Posted: 03.23.2022

By Christa Hillstrom To hear more audio stories from publications like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android. In 2017, when Becky was about to turn 40, she woke up in the middle of the night and was startled by her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Her face, gaunt from weight loss, looked pale. A scar snaked under her chin from when her boyfriend punched her. Her nostrils were now asymmetrical from when he broke her nose. Smaller scars marked her eyebrows and her bottom lip, where a tooth once cut through. She always wore her hair in a bun to mask a bald spot; he had slammed her head against a door frame, and she had needed staples there. She could barely hear from one ear. Her chipped front tooth was harder to hide than the broken molars knocked loose during two decades of beatings. When she went shopping, she would hold items in her hands, assessing how much damage they would do to her body. She had stopped buying leather belts, the braided kind. She remembered getting some of her injuries. With others, the memories hung fuzzy and distant. They met in 1996, when she was a teenager with a new baby. She had already spent years raising her younger siblings when her own mother, who suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of domestic abuse, could not. The first time Becky remembers her boyfriend hurting her, about six months into their relationship, was when he was joking around: a tug on her hair that was surprisingly forceful. Underneath the laughing, something felt mean. And then the meanness got darker. From the beginning of their relationship, Becky’s boyfriend drew the reins tightly around their lives. She could never predict what would set him off. Some days, he attacked her for sleeping too late; others, for waking him up too early. He hit her when the house was too messy or if he wasn’t in the mood for the breakfast she made. Becky, who asked to be identified by a nickname for her safety, often showed up to work with bruises on her face, caked over with foundation, but her co-workers never said anything. © 2022 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 28229 - Posted: 03.02.2022

By Benjamin Mueller It appeared to be an ordinary fall: Bob Saget, the actor and comedian, knocked his head on something and, perhaps thinking nothing of it, went to sleep, his family said on Wednesday. But the chilling consequences — Mr. Saget, 65, died some hours later on Jan. 9 from blunt head trauma, a medical examiner ruled — have underscored the dangers of traumatic brain injuries, even those that do not initially seem to be causes for alarm. Some 61,000 deaths in 2019 were related to traumatic brain injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nearly half of head trauma-related hospitalizations result from falls. Brain injury experts said on Thursday that Mr. Saget’s case was relatively uncommon: People with serious head trauma would be expected to have noticeable symptoms, like a headache, nausea or confusion. And they can generally be saved by surgeons opening up their skull and relieving pressure on the brain from bleeding. But certain situations put people at higher risk for the sort of deterioration that Mr. Saget experienced, doctors said. As serious a risk factor as any, doctors said, is simply being alone. Someone with a head injury can lose touch with their usual decision-making capacities and become confused, agitated or unusually sleepy. Those symptoms, in turn, can stand in the way of getting help. And while there was no indication that Mr. Saget was taking blood thinners, experts said the medications can greatly accelerate the type of bleeding after a head injury that forces the brain downward and compresses the centers that regulate breathing and other vital functions. More Americans are being prescribed these drugs as the population ages. Mr. Saget had been in an Orlando hotel room during a weekend of stand-up comedy acts when he was found unresponsive. The local medical examiner’s office announced on Wednesday that his death resulted from “blunt head trauma,” and said that “his injuries were most likely incurred from an unwitnessed fall.” © 2022 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 28201 - Posted: 02.12.2022

Jeanne Paz Blocking an immune system molecule that accumulates after traumatic brain injury could significantly reduce the injury’s detrimental effects, according to a recent mouse study my neuroscience lab and I published in the journal Science. The cerebral cortex, the part of the brain involved in thinking, memory and language, is often the primary site of head injury because it sits directly beneath the skull. However, we found that another region near the center of the brain that regulates sleep and attention, the thalamus, was even more damaged than the cortex months after the injury. This may be due to increased levels of a molecule called C1q, which triggers a part of the immune system called the classical complement pathway. This pathway plays a key role in rapidly clearing pathogens and dead cells from the body and helps control the inflammatory immune response. C1q plays both helpful and harmful roles in the brain. On the one hand, accumulation of C1q in the brain can trigger abnormal elimination of synapses – the structures that allow neurons to communicate with one another – and contribute to neurodegenerative disease. On the other hand, C1q is also involved in normal brain development and protects the central nervous system from infection. In the case of traumatic brain injury, we found that C1q lingered in the thalamus at abnormally high levels for months after the initial injury and was associated with inflammation, dysfunctional brain circuits and neuronal death. This suggests that higher levels of C1q in the thalamus could contribute to several long-term effects of traumatic brain injury, such as sleep disruption and epilepsy. © 2010–2021, The Conversation US, Inc.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 28112 - Posted: 12.15.2021

Jon Hamilton Headaches, nausea, dizziness, and confusion are among the most common symptoms of a concussion. But researchers say a blow to the head can also make it hard to understand speech in a noisy room. "Making sense of sound is one of the hardest jobs that we ask our brains to do," says Nina Kraus, a professor of neurobiology at Northwestern University. "So you can imagine that a concussion, getting hit in the head, really does disrupt sound processing." About 15% to 20% of concussions cause persistent sound-processing difficulties, Kraus says, which suggests that hundreds of thousands of people are affected each year in the U.S. The problem is even more common in the military, where many of the troops who saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan sustained concussions from roadside bombs. From ear to brain Our perception of sound starts with nerve cells in the inner ear that transform pressure waves into electrical signals, Kraus says. But it takes a lot of brain power to transform those signals into the auditory world we perceive. Article continues after sponsor message The brain needs to compare the signals from two ears to determine the source of a sound. Then it needs to keep track of changes in volume, pitch, timing and other characteristics. Kraus's lab, called Brainvolts, is conducting a five-year study of 500 elite college athletes to learn how a concussion can affect the brain's ability to process the huge amount of auditory information it receives. And she devotes an entire chapter to concussion in her 2021 book, Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World. © 2021 npr

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 9: Hearing, Balance, Taste, and Smell
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 6: Hearing, Balance, Taste, and Smell
Link ID: 28064 - Posted: 11.06.2021

By Jackie Rocheleau Elevated blood levels of a specific protein may help scientists predict who has a better chance of bouncing back from a traumatic brain injury. The protein, called neurofilament light or NfL for short, lends structural support to axons, the tendrils that send messages between brain cells. Levels of NfL peak on average at 10 times the typical level 20 days after injury and stay above normal a year later, researchers report September 29 in Science Translational Medicine. The higher the peak NfL blood concentrations after injury, the tougher the recovery for people with TBI six and 12 months later, shows the study of 197 people treated at eight trauma centers across Europe for moderate to severe TBI. Brain scans of 146 participants revealed that their peak NfL concentrations predicted the extent of brain shrinkage after six months, and axon damage at six and 12 months after injury, neurologist Neil Graham of Imperial College London and his colleagues found. These researchers also had a unique opportunity to check that the blood biomarker, which gives indirect clues about the brain injury, actually measured what was happening in the brain. In 18 of the participants that needed brain surgery, researchers sampled the fluid surrounding injured neurons. NfL concentrations there correlated with NfL concentrations in the blood. “The work shows that a new ultrasensitive blood test can be used to accurately diagnose traumatic brain injury,” says Graham. “This blood test can predict quite precisely who’s going to make a good recovery and who’s going to have more difficulties.” © Society for Science & the Public 2000–2021.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 28017 - Posted: 10.02.2021

Katharine Sanderson Liz Williams was standing pitchside at a women’s rugby match, and she did not like what she was seeing. Williams, who researches forensic biomechanics at Swansea University, UK, had equipped some of the players with a mouthguard that contained a sensor to measure the speed of head movement. She wanted to understand more about head injuries in the brutal sport. “There were a few instances when my blood went cold,” Williams said. When the women fell in a tackle, their heads would often whiplash into the ground. The sensors showed that the skull was accelerating — indicating an increased risk of brain injury. But medical staff at the match, not trained to look out for this type of head movement as a cause of injury, deemed the women fine to play on. Such whiplash injuries are much rarer when males play. Williams’ observations highlight an increasingly apparent problem. A growing body of data suggests that female athletes are at significantly greater risk of a traumatic brain injury event than male athletes. They also fare worse after a concussion and take longer to recover. As researchers gather more data, the picture becomes steadily more alarming. Female athletes are speaking out about their own experiences, including Sue Lopez, the United Kingdom’s first semi-professional female football player in the 1970s, who now has dementia — a diagnosis she has linked to concussions from heading the ball. Researchers have offered some explanations for the greater risk to women, although the science is at an early stage. Their ideas range from differences in the microstructure of the brain to the influence of hormones, coaching regimes, players’ level of experience and the management of injuries. © 2021 Springer Nature Limited

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 27932 - Posted: 08.04.2021

By Alistair Magowan BBC Sport Defenders are more likely to have dementia in later life compared with other playing positions in football, says new research. In 2019, a study by Professor Willie Stewart found that former footballers were about three and a half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative brain disease than the general population. But his new research says the risk is highest among defenders, who are five times more likely to have dementia than non-footballers. That compared with three times the risk for forwards, and almost no extra risk for goalkeepers compared with the population. Outfield players were four times more likely to have brain disease such as dementia. The research by the University of Glasgow, which was funded by the Football Association and players' union the Professional Footballers' Association, also found that risk increased the longer a player's football career was. And despite changes in football technology and head-injury management in recent years, there was no evidence that neurodegenerative disease risk changed for footballers in this study, whose careers spanned from about 1930 to the late 1990s. 'Footballs should be sold with a health warning about heading' Study author and consultant neuropathologist Dr Stewart said that it was time for football to eliminate the risk of heading, which he said could also cause short-term impairment of brain function. "I think footballs should be sold with a health warning saying repeated heading in football may lead to increased risks of dementia," he said. "Unlike other dementias and degenerative diseases, where we have no idea what causes them, we know the risk factor [with football] and it's entirely preventable. © 2021 BBC.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27931 - Posted: 08.04.2021

Bob McDonald Scientists used raw eggs to simulate the damaging effects on the brain from strikes to the head, with surprising results. If someone calls you an egghead, they are not too far off. Think about it: an egg has a hard outer shell; a liquid interior, which is the white of the egg; and liquid yolk surrounded by a membrane suspended in the centre. Your head also has a hard outer skull and liquid, called the cerebrospinal fluid, inside of it — which, among other things, acts as a shock absorber around the squishy brain. In a research paper in the journal Physics of Fluids, scientists from Villanova University in Pennsylvania conducted rather simple kitchen style experiments on raw eggs to simulate strikes to the head that could lead to concussion. They wanted to determine how much shock absorbing protection the egg white would provide the yolk and how much the yolk would be distorted out of shape during an impact. The results were not what they expected. Applying force to monitor yolk deformation In order to see the yolks in action, the egg material was placed in a clear plastic container that was mounted on springs and filmed with high speed cameras. First, they hit it in a straight line by dropping a 1.77 kg weight on it from a height of one metre. representing a direct blow to the head. To their surprise, the yolk remained suspended in the egg white and did not change shape or break as the container suddenly accelerated downwards. This could be because liquids cannot be compressed, and since the two liquids are almost the same density, both of them moved together as one unit. ©2021 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27658 - Posted: 01.23.2021

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have discovered Jekyll and Hyde immune cells in the brain that ultimately help with brain repair but early after injury can lead to fatal swelling, suggesting that timing may be critical when administering treatment. These dual-purpose cells, which are called myelomonocytic cells and which are carried to the brain by the blood, are just one type of brain immune cell that NIH researchers tracked, watching in real-time as the brain repaired itself after injury. The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Intramural Research Program at NIH. “Fixing the brain after injury is a highly orchestrated, coordinated process, and giving a treatment at the wrong time could end up doing more harm than good,” said Dorian McGavern, Ph.D., NINDS scientist and senior author of the study. Cerebrovascular injury, or damage to brain blood vessels, can occur following several conditions including traumatic brain injury or stroke. Dr. McGavern, along with Larry Latour, M.D., NINDS scientist, and their colleagues, observed that a subset of stroke patients developed bleeding and swelling in the brain after surgical removal of the blood vessel clot responsible for the stroke. The swelling, also known as edema, results in poor outcomes and can even be fatal as brain structures become compressed and further damaged. To understand how vessel injury can lead to swelling and to identify potential treatment strategies, Dr. McGavern and his team developed an animal model of cerebrovascular injury and used state-of-the-art microscopic imaging to watch how the brain responded to the damage in real-time.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27653 - Posted: 01.20.2021

By Elizabeth Pennisi Hammer a nail into a tree, and it will get stuck. So why doesn’t the same thing happen to the sharp beaks of woodpeckers? Scientists say they finally have the answer. In a new study, researchers took high-speed videos of two black woodpeckers (Dryocopus martius) pecking away at hardwood trunks in zoos and analyzed them frame by frame to see how the head and beak moved throughout each peck. The bird’s secret: an ability to move its upper and lower beaks independently, the team reports this week at the virtual annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Once the tip of the woodpecker’s bill hits the wood, the bird’s head rotates to the side ever so slightly, lifting the top part of the beak and twisting it a bit in the other direction, the videos reveal. This pull opens the bill a tiny amount and creates free space between the beak tip and the wood at the bottom of the punctured hole, so the bird can then easily retract its beak. Until now, scientists have thought woodpecker bills would need to be rigidly attached to the skull to successfully drill into the wood to find insect prey. But actually, the bill’s flexibility in these joints ensures that the bird’s signature “rat-a-tat-tat” doesn’t stop at “rat.” © 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27640 - Posted: 01.09.2021

A collaborative study conducted by scientists from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense (DOD), and multiple academic institutions has identified blood biomarkers that could help to predict which athletes need additional time to recover from a sports related concussion. This collaboration, known as the Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education (CARE) consortium, is supported, in part, by DOD and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In this study, conducted at several sites across the U.S., 127 male and female collegiate athletes who had sustained a sports-related concussion were tested at several time points: shortly after injury, when their symptoms resolved, and one week after returning to play. Each athlete had also undergone preseason, baseline testing. Using an ultrasensitive assay that can detect minute amounts of protein, the researchers tested blood serum from these athletes and identified two blood proteins that were associated with the length of time needed by the athletes to return to play. Amounts of these two proteins, tau protein and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were found to be significantly different in athletes who needed less or more than 14 days to return. While further research is needed, the results of this study are an important step towards the development of a test that could help predict which athletes need more time to recover from a concussion and resume activity. This study was published in JAMA Network Open.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27438 - Posted: 08.29.2020

Christina Marvin This story originally appeared on Massive Science, an editorial partner site that publishes science stories by scientists. Subscribe to their newsletter to get even more science sent straight to you. As a spectator, it's easy to forget the long term consequences of 300 pound humans crashing into each other at over 20 miles per hour. But this is the reality of American football. During play, the brain is one of the most susceptible parts of the body and the long-term danger may remain hidden until years after retirement. New safety rules and improved helmets prevent injuries such as skull fractures. But no amount of training or equipment is yet known to prevent concussions, internal brain injuries caused when the brain shakes back and forth, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the neurodegenerative disease that results from accumulated hits to the head. The best thing we can do is stop playing these types of sports. The second best option is to mitigate the risks. The NFL is plagued with controversy over the league's relationship with head injuries. Traditional helmets are designed to prevent skull fractures. However, concussions are not just blunt force trauma, but results of rotational forces exerted when the head snaps back and forth. If the NFL wants to get serious about concussion prevention, as many believe they morally have a responsibility to do, independent neuroscience has to have a leading role in how helmets are designed. While the NFL denies bias in how they use science, it is impossible to deny that they have a large financial interest in the results, and this has led to questionable measures on head protection. From 1994 to 2009, the NFL actually employed their own research committee. But the committee was overhauled in 2009 after criticism from Congress for their continued denial of the link between football and brain disease. © 2019 Salon.com, LLC.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27109 - Posted: 03.10.2020

By Laura Sanders Injecting a swarm of nanoparticles into the blood of someone who has suffered a brain injury may one day help to limit the damage — if experimental results in mice can be translated to humans. In mice, these nanoparticles seemed to reduce dangerous swelling by distracting immune cells from rushing to an injured brain. The results, described online January 10 in the Annals of Neurology, hint that the inflammation-fighting nanoparticles might someday make powerful medicine, says John Kessler, a neurologist at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. “All the data we have now suggest that they’re going to be safe, and they’re likely to work” for people, Kessler says. “But we don’t know that yet.” After an injury, tissue often swells as immune cells flock to the damage. Swelling of the brain can be dangerous because the brain is contained within the skull and “there’s no place to go,” Kessler says. The resulting pressure can be deadly. But nanoparticles might serve as an immune-cell distraction, the results in mice suggest. Two to three hours after a head injury, mice received injections of tiny biodegradable particles made of an FDA-approved polymer — the same sort that’s used in some dissolving sutures. Instead of rushing toward the brain, a certain type of immune cell called monocytes began turning their sights on these invaders. These monocytes engulfed the nanoparticles, and the cells and their cargo got packed off to the spleen for elimination, the researchers found. Because these nanoparticles are quickly taken out of circulation, the researchers injected the mice again one and two days later, in an effort to ease inflammation that might crop back up in the days after the injury. © Society for Science & the Public 2000–2020

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27022 - Posted: 02.05.2020

Joanna McKittrick, Jae-Young Jung Slamming a beak against the trunk of a tree would seem like an activity that would cause headaches, jaw aches and serious neck and brain injuries. Yet woodpeckers can do this 20 times per second and suffer no ill effects. Woodpeckers are found in forested areas worldwide, except in Australia. These birds have the unusual ability to use their beaks to hammer into the trunks of trees to make holes to extract insects and sap. Even more impressive they do this without hurting themselves. We are materials scientists who study biological substances like bones, skins, feathers and shells found in nature. We are interested in the skull and tongue bone structure of woodpeckers, because we think their unusual anatomy could yield insights that could help researchers develop better protective head gear for humans. Concussions in people Woodpeckers endure many high impact shocks to their heads as they peck. They have strong tail feathers and claws that help them keep their balance as their head moves toward the tree trunk at 7 meters – 23 feet – per second. Then, when their beak strikes, their heads slow down at about 1,200 times the force of gravity (g). All of this occurs without the woodpecker sustaining concussions or brain damage. A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury caused by repeated blows to the head. It is a common occurrence and happens frequently during contact sports like football or hockey. Repeated traumatic brain injury eventually causes a progressive brain disorder, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is irreversible and results in symptoms such as memory loss, depression, impulsivity, aggressiveness and suicidal behavior. The National Football League says concussions in football players occur at 80 g. So how do woodpeckers survive repeated 1,200 g impacts without harming their brain? © 2010–2020, The Conversation US, Inc.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 27014 - Posted: 02.01.2020

By Leah Shaffer Football’s concussion crisis has been part of the NFL for almost two decades. But the pros aren’t the only ones reevaluating their relationship with the game. Now, studies are finding that parents of younger children are increasingly concerned about the long-term impacts of playing football. A national survey from 2015 found that 25 percent of parents do not let their kids play contact sports due to fear of concussions, while an Aspen Institute report recently found that participation in tackle football declined by 12 percent among children ages 6 to 12 between 2016 and 2017. The research into the risks of youth football is still coming into shape, and there’s disagreement about just how universal and severe the risks are. Some researchers think football is dangerous for everybody; others are finding evidence that some kids might be more predisposed to health consequences than others. In the last two years, some researchers have shown that head hits in youth sports increase the risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, an untreatable degenerative brain disease with symptoms ranging from memory loss to progressive dementia. Other studies have shown that the longer a person plays football, the higher the risk they have for developing symptoms associated with CTE. So, case closed, right? No — football is not the only risk factor in developing symptoms of CTE. The same study that found an association between repetitive head impact and dementia in CTE also found that cardiovascular disease and dementia in CTE were correlated. And a separate study of some 10,000 people found no association between participation in contact sports and later cognitive decline or increase in symptoms of depression. © 2020 ABC News Internet Ventures

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 4: Development of the Brain
Link ID: 27010 - Posted: 01.31.2020

By Aimee Cunningham A concussion diagnosis depends upon a careful assessment of symptoms. Now the largest study to date of sports-related concussion points to a potential medical assist when evaluating a college athlete for this injury. Certain proteins in the blood are elevated after a concussion, researchers report online January 24 in JAMA Network Open. That discovery may one day help with distinguishing athletes who have suffered this brain injury from those who haven’t. Researchers took blood samples pre- and post-injury from 264 college athletes who had concussions while playing football, rugby and other contact sports from 2015 to mid-2018. Blood levels for three proteins were higher than they were before the injury occurred, the researchers found. Each of the three proteins can serve as a sign that damage has occurred to a different type of brain cell, says Michael McCrea, a neuropsychologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Glial fibrillary acidic protein is released in response to injury to glial cells, which provide support to nerve cells in the brain. Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 signals that nerve cells have been injured, and tau is a sign of damage to axons, which transmit nerve impulses. These proteins have been evaluated in past research as potential makers of more severe traumatic brain injury. McCrea’s team also measured these proteins in 138 athletes who played contact sports but were not concussed, and in 102 athletes who did not have the injury and played noncontact sports. The protein levels for these two groups remained steady throughout the study. If there had been large variability in the protein levels in non-concussed athletes, McCrea says, that would have undermined the association between the proteins and concussion. © Society for Science & the Public 2000–2020

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 26997 - Posted: 01.27.2020

By Will Hobson In 2017, Bennet Omalu traveled the globe to accept a series of honors and promote his autobiography, “Truth Doesn’t Have A Side.” In a visit to an Irish medical school, he told students he was a “nobody” who “discovered a disease in America’s most popular sport.” In an appearance on a religious cable TV show, he said he named the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, because “it sounded intellectually sophisticated, with a very good acronym.” And since his discovery, Omalu told Sports Illustrated, researchers have uncovered evidence that shows adolescents who participate in football, hockey, wrestling and mixed martial arts are more likely to drop out of school, become addicted to drugs, struggle with mental illness, commit violent crimes and kill themselves. A Ni­ger­ian American pathologist portrayed by Will Smith in the 2015 film, “Concussion,” Omalu is partly responsible for the most important sports story of the 21st century. Since 2005, when Omalu first reported finding widespread brain damage in a former NFL player, concerns about CTE have inspired a global revolution in concussion safety and fueled an ongoing existential crisis for America’s most popular sport. Omalu’s discovery — initially ignored and then attacked by NFL-allied doctors — inspired an avalanche of scientific research that forced the league to acknowledge a link between football and brain disease. Nearly 15 years later, Omalu has withdrawn from the CTE research community and remade himself as an evangelist, traveling the world selling his frightening version of what scientists know about CTE and contact sports. In paid speaking engagements, expert witness testimony and in several books he has authored, Omalu portrays CTE as an epidemic and himself as a crusader, fighting against not just the NFL but also the medical science community, which he claims is too corrupted to acknowledge clear-cut evidence that contact sports destroy lives.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 26986 - Posted: 01.23.2020

Hannah Devlin Science correspondent The death in 2002 of the former England and West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle from degenerative brain disease placed the spotlight firmly on the possibility of a link between heading footballs and the risk of dementia. The coroner at the inquest ruled that Astle, 59, died from an “industrial disease” brought on by the repeated trauma of headers, and a later examination of Astle’s brain appeared to bear out this conclusion. At that time there was sparse scientific data on the issue, but since then the balance of evidence has steadily tipped further in favour of a link. It has been shown that even single episodes of concussion can have lifelong consequences. Children in Scotland could be banned from heading footballs over dementia link Read more A 2016 study based on health records of more than 100,000 people in Sweden found that after a single diagnosed concussion people were more likely to have mental health problems and less likely to graduate from high school and college. Other research has shown that people in prison or homeless are more likely to have had a past experience of concussion. In 2017, researchers from University College London examined postmortem the brains of six former footballers who had developed dementia. They found signs of brain injury called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in four cases. Last year a study by a team at Glasgow University found that former professional footballers were three and a half times more likely to die from dementia and other serious neurological diseases. The study was the largest ever, based on the health records of 7,676 ex-players and 23,000 members of the public, and was possibly the trigger for the Scottish FA’s plan to follow US soccer in banning heading the ball for young players. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Lateralization
Link ID: 26969 - Posted: 01.17.2020