Links for Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our mailing list, to receive news updates. Learn more.


Links 1 - 20 of 344

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 BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
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 BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
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 BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
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 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: 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 BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
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 BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
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 BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26969 - Posted: 01.17.2020

/ By Nechama Moring The first time my then-partner threw me against a wall, I blamed myself. I was late coming home from work, and I hadn’t even greeted him when I walked through our door. I immediately started complaining about the unwashed dishes and food scraps littering our kitchen. He was angry, shouting at me, and then I felt his arms around me, lifting me slightly. I blacked out when the back of my head hit the kitchen wall. The nature of abuse is that it escalates, and soon my partner was routinely injuring my head, having learned that my hair would effectively hide any bruises or evidence. Over the course of the last year of our relationship, I probably sustained at least three concussions, though none were formally diagnosed. My previously infrequent migraines became almost daily realities, and my work performance tanked, along with my concentration. Simple tasks became overwhelming. Thoughts slipped from my head before I was able to act on them. I lost my ability to form coherent sentences, and I struggled to find words for even mundane items: train, telephone, exit. Exit. I couldn’t plan for shit. I am part of what Eve Valera calls an “invisible public health epidemic” of untreated traumatic brain injuries among survivors of intimate partner violence. Valera, an assistant professor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who runs a brain-imaging research lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, estimates that millions of women and people of marginalized genders have suffered from both intimate partner violence and untreated concussions. Yet concussions — a form of traumatic brain injury — are generally viewed as a sports-related problem. Concussion research has focused primarily on the relatively tiny population of men who play professional football. Copyright 2019 Undark

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26720 - Posted: 10.18.2019

Using advanced imaging, researchers have uncovered new information regarding traumatic microbleeds, which appear as small, dark lesions on MRI scans after head injury but are typically too small to be detected on CT scans. The findings published in Brain suggest that traumatic microbleeds are a form of injury to brain blood vessels and may predict worse outcomes. The study was conducted in part by scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health. “Traumatic microbleeds may represent injury to blood vessels that occur following even minor head injury,” said Lawrence Latour, Ph.D., NINDS researcher and senior author of the study. “While we know that damage to brain cells can be devastating, the exact impact of this vascular injury following head trauma is uncertain and requires further study.” This study, which involved researchers from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, included 439 adults who experienced head injury and were treated in the emergency department. The subjects underwent MRI scans within 48 hours of injury, and again during four subsequent visits. Participants also completed behavioral and outcome questionnaires. The results showed that 31% of all study participants had evidence of microbleeds on their brain scans. More than half (58%) of participants with severe head injury showed microbleeds as did 27% of mild cases. The microbleeds appeared as either linear streaks or dotted, also referred to as punctate, lesions. The majority of patients who exhibited microbleeds had both types. The findings also revealed that the frontal lobes were the brain region most likely to show microbleeds.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26705 - Posted: 10.16.2019

Nicola Davis A cheap and widely available drug could reduce the risk of death from common head injuries and save tens of thousands of lives each year, researchers say. Tranexamic acid slows down the breakdown of blood clots, and is already used to control heavy bleeding in people who have experienced trauma elsewhere in the body – for example from being shot or stabbed. While some of these patients might also have head injuries, it has remained unclear whether tranexamic acid would help people with head injuries alone. Now scientists say it can – at least in those with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries – suggesting the drug should be rapidly administered to such patients. “Previous to this research, patients with isolated head injuries were an exception in the policy of giving tranexamic acid to trauma patients as soon as possible,” said Prof Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-led the study. “Now that exception can be removed.” Roberts says the study could have a dramatic impact. “Worldwide it has got the potential to save tens of thousands of lives – this is such a mass problem,” he said. It is estimated that there are about 70m new traumatic brain injuries worldwide every year – a situation commonly caused by motor vehicle crashes, assault or falls. The vast majority are mild or moderate injuries – but these can still prove deadly. The study, which was published in the Lancet medical journal, spanned 29 countries, with the analysis focusing on more than 9,000 patients who were treated within three hours of injury and were randomly allocated to receiving the drug, or a placebo, intravenously. The cost of the total dose of tranexamic acid used in the trial was about £6.20 per person. © 2019 Guardian News & 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: 26704 - Posted: 10.15.2019

Ruth Williams Tau is a structural protein of brain cells that, in various neurodegenerative conditions and as a result of brain injury, can accumulate as tangled toxic deposits. Using a recently developed in vivo imaging technique, researchers have now examined such tau pathology in the brains of patients who, decades earlier, suffered a single head trauma. The results, presented in Science Translational Medicine last week (September 4), reveal not only that tau accumulation can remain unusually high in such patients, but also that tau abundance correlates with neuronal damage. “It’s an important paper that links a single traumatic brain injury that occurred many years ago to long-term neurodegeneration,” says neuropathologist Thor Stein of Boston University who was not involved in the research. It also “looks at important biomarkers that can be detected in life and that will hopefully, down the road, be useful in a clinical setting for earlier diagnosis.” “It’s a very good and scope-broadening research piece. No one has done a study like this,” adds neurologist Steven DeKosky of the University of Florida who also didn’t take part in the study. “It speaks to the longevity of the pathological changes that can occur to people [after an injury].” Tau tangles, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and neurodegeneration, have been found in the brains of some people who have suffered repeated head traumas, such as boxers and NFL football players, as well as in some people who have suffered a single severe traumatic brain injury. © 1986–2019 The Scientist

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: 26600 - Posted: 09.11.2019

By Gregg Easterbrook Sunday marks the opening weekend of the 100th season of the National Football League. Many can’t get enough professional football. During the 2018-19 prime-time TV schedule, three of the four top-rated shows among adults ages 18 to 49 were pro football games. Only “Game of Thrones” bested pigskin in the ratings, and that series concluded, while the N.F.L. goes on. Still, many people presume the sport is in an irreversible tailspin. They think that mounting evidence of brain trauma from concussions, along with the sort of routine brutality that led to last month’s surprise retirement of the 29-year-old quarterback Andrew Luck, will result in football losing its mass appeal. It is also assumed that parents of young athletes will refuse to allow their children to play football at the youth and high school levels, depleting the talent pool. But the future of football looks much brighter than that. It’s true that the game faces multiple challenges involving player safety, especially at the youth and high school levels. But recent reforms in pro, college and high school football appear to be reducing the harm caused by the sport. With a handful of additional reforms at all levels of play, none of which would threaten the fundamental character of the game, the N.F.L.’s second century could look as good as its first. Andrew Luck’s retirement should not be taken as an omen. Generally, N.F.L. longevity is improving. Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl in 2016 at age 39; in February, Tom Brady hoisted the trophy at age 41. The 40-year-old quarterback Drew Brees is likely to be in the Super Bowl mix again this season. Football brought Mr. Luck wealth and celebrity, then he quit while he was ahead. Good for him! Mr. Luck’s injuries were similar in severity to those suffered by the cyclist Alessandro de Marchi during the Tour de France, which often has bicycle crashes, and by the skiing star Lindsey Vonn in many incidents. Athletics cannot be made free of danger of bodily harm. A more significant omen is that N.F.L. neurological damage is not getting worse but rather is in decline. Concussions are down. Numerous rules changes led to the N.F.L. reporting 214 concussions last season, versus 281 the season before. Over the five prior seasons, the average was 243 concussions. © 2019 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: 26588 - Posted: 09.09.2019

By: Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.R. I n December 1960, President-elect John F. Kennedy (JFK) penned The Soft American for Sports Illustrated, in which he described the importance of physical fitness to brain health: “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” As with many of JFK’s public statements, these prescient words remain spot-on today. Neuroscientists continue to uncover the remarkable connection between physical well-being and brain health on many levels: cognitive, behavioral, social, emotional, and more. Boxing, JFK noted, was one of the sports the ancient Greek states pursued to enhance national fitness. But the idea that boxing could promote “dynamic and creative intellectual activity” certainly runs counter to current sensibilities, much like the advertisement for Marlboro cigarettes that graced the back cover of Sports Illustrated at the time. While JFK did not name other collision sports, it seems reasonable to assume that American football would have also qualified as a rung on his ladder to physical fitness and mental well-being. From a 2019 vantage point, it seems shocking that JFK was touting the benefits of sport for brain health while ignoring risks of sport-related brain injury. In 1960, however, when he proposed a comprehensive national program to improve physical fitness, the adverse impact of sport-related head trauma on brain development and function was not on anyone’s radar. Even forty-five years later, when “ Iron Mike ” Webster ’s chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was reported in the journal Neurosurgery, adverse effects of sport-related head trauma were largely unknown to the general public and, at best, widely under-recognized among the medical community. It is worth noting that Mike Webster himself had never been diagnosed with a concussion or other form of brain injury during his time on the gridiron. Attitudes have changed dramatically since, but in what way has our understanding of head trauma and its adverse effects actually evolved? And most importantly, how can our expanding knowledge inform a viable path forward? © 2019 The Dana Foundation.

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: 26585 - Posted: 09.07.2019

By Ken Belson COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — On a steamy afternoon in June, Jim Poynter, the coach of the 7-on-7 touch football team at Lamar High School in Arlington, Tex., escorted one of his former players around the state tournament. In a game last spring, the player, Brett Green Jr., was knocked out after his head collided with a teammate’s shoulder as they jumped to intercept a pass. Green was airlifted to a hospital, where bleeding in his brain was discovered. He spent weeks in the hospital recovering from dizziness, headaches and blurred vision, and had eye surgery and physical therapy. He will never play football again. Poynter wanted Green to know that some good came of his misfortune. Spread across the fields, about 4,000 players on 128 teams from across Texas ran pass routes, defended receivers and celebrated with high fives. What mattered most to Poynter, though, was that every player wore a soft-shell helmet. For years, 7-on-7 touch football has been billed as a safe way for players to stay in shape until tackle football starts up in the late summer. Most injuries involve twisted ankles, sprained knees and pulled muscles. But Green’s injury prompted the Texas State 7on7 Organization, aware that parents are more concerned than ever about safety, to become the first statewide group in the country to require that all of its players wear soft-shell helmets, starting at this year’s state tournament. “I don’t want that to happen to anyone else,” Green said. “It felt good to see in person because you know for sure they are wearing protection. I wish the decision had been made earlier, but I try to look for the good in everything.” © 2019 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: 26521 - Posted: 08.21.2019

By Robert C. Cantu and Mark Hyman If U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked for our advice (he hasn’t), we’d recommend that he issue the following statement: SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Tackle football is dangerous for children. Children who play tackle football absorb repeated hits to the head. As adults, they’re at higher risk of suffering cognitive deficits as well as behavioral and mood problems. We’d suggest that, as the nation’s top doctor, the surgeon general put this warning on every youth football helmet and place it in bold type on all youth tackle football registration forms. A parent or guardian wouldn’t be able to sign up their child without seeing it. It’s hard to overstate the importance of these steps. It’s fair to say that millions of sports-playing kids would enter adulthood with healthier brains and better futures. Forty million children participate in organized sport each year. Protecting them from head injury is a big task. Youth sports organizations generally do an admirable job. In the past decade, the U.S. Soccer Federation has banned heading for players 10 years old and younger and limited heading for players 11 to 13. USA Hockey no longer allows body checking until players are 13. Even tackle football is safer — marginally. Pop Warner, the largest national youth football league, has eliminated kickoffs for the youngest players — 5- to 10-years-old — and limited full-contact practice time. Of late, we’re learning more about brain injury among youth players in rougher “collision” sports such as football. These young athletes are at greater risk than we knew and than many parents and coaches would find acceptable. Recent studies of youth football are particularly alarming. Since 2015, Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center (which Robert C. Cantu co-founded) has published three studies all leading to a disquieting conclusion: Adults who played tackle football as children were more likely to deal with emotional and cognitive challenges in later life. © 1996-2019 The Washington Post

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: 26518 - Posted: 08.20.2019

By Joseph D. Stern, M.D. My patient had arrived from another hospital in the middle of the night. He was a wiry older man, restless but alert. He had a blood clot compressing the dominant hemisphere of his brain. He did not speak or move the right side of his body but fidgeted with his left hand and leg: pulling at his IV; removing his oxygen tubing and the ECG contacts pasted to his chest. He did not seem to understand what was happening and could neither assent to nor refuse the surgery I was recommending. Yet just hours earlier, he had been his normal self. His wife, whom I later learned was developing dementia, accompanied him in the ambulance. She was frail, thin and appeared disheveled and confused. She knew little about his medications and medical problems and didn’t know if he was on blood thinners. Still, given his rapid decline over a few hours, I took him to surgery. The craniotomy went well and he seemed to recover smoothly. But my patient made little improvement over the next two days. A repeat CT scan showed that the blood I had removed had re-accumulated. This is a known complication of a craniotomy for subdural hematoma. Still, it felt like a personal failure. The easiest thing to do would have been to take my patient back to surgery. But was it the right thing to do? Two weeks earlier I had attended a conference on palliative care held by the Archdiocese of Boston. Dr. Mary Buss, a hematologist/oncologist and chief of palliative care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, related some recent research on moral distress in neurosurgery she had conducted with Dr. Stephen Miranda. Dr. Miranda, who was then a medical student and is now a neurosurgical resident at the University of Pennsylvania, interviewed neurosurgery residents about the decision to operate on an elderly patient with early dementia and on blood thinners with a subdural hematoma and a poor neurological exam. © 2019 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: 26499 - Posted: 08.15.2019

Laura Sanders A season of head hits left its mark on college football players’ brains, even when those hits didn’t cause concussions. Routine head bumps over the course of a season were linked to abnormal brain tissue in part of players’ brain stems, researchers report August 7 in Science Advances. It’s unclear if these brain stem changes affect mental performance, or whether the changes are permanent. But the study suggests that in addition to the big hits that cause concussions, these smaller knocks could cause trouble. During the 2011, 2012 and 2013 football seasons, a team led by researchers at the University of Rochester in New York recruited players from the university to participate in a study looking at head impacts and brain health. Each player wore an accelerometer in his helmet to capture the forces at play during all practices and games during a single season. The players also underwent pre- and post-season brain scans. A measure called fractional anisotropy let researchers estimate how well stretches of white matter brain tissue can carry neural signals, a key job of healthy brain tissue. The 38 players included in the study collectively took 19,128 hits. And by the end of their season, the players on average had lower measures of fractional anisotropy in their right midbrains — a part of the brain stem. These declines were more tightly linked to the number of hits that twisted heads, as opposed to direct head-on hits. Those rotational forces might be particularly damaging to brain tissue, a finding that fits with results from earlier studies, the researchers write. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2019.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26491 - Posted: 08.13.2019

Dr. Brian Goldman A 2018 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that brain injuries — which are caused by a blow to the head — send just over a million children and adolescents per year to emergency departments. A study published Monday in the journal Brain Injury reveals some disturbing reasons for these potentially serious injuries. Researchers led by Bina Ali from the U.S.-based Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation reviewed injury surveillance data over a four-year period ending in 2013. They looked for specific causes of brain injuries in children and adolescents in five age groups from infancy to 19 years of age. Overall, 72 per cent of brain injuries that did not result in death but did result in a visit to the emergency department were caused by consumer products that are regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the independent U.S. government agency that develops uniform standards while promoting the safety of consumer products. The study found that the type of consumer product depended on the age of the child. Infants under one year of age got traumatic brain injuries because they fell. According to the researchers, 25 per cent of all emergency visits for traumatic brain injuries in that age group were caused by a fall from the crib or bed. At 14 per cent, the second leading cause was uneven flooring that caused the infant to trip and fall. Bunk beds were especially risky in children one to four years of age. But stairs and floors were equally hazardous in that age group. Between five and nine years of age, flooring was still the leading cause of brain injuries, and falling off a bicycle placed second. ©2019 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26463 - Posted: 07.30.2019

By Sabine Galvis Scientists looking for a link between repeated brain trauma and lasting neurological damage typically study the brains of soldiers or football players. But it’s unclear whether this damage—known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—is prevalent in the general population. Now, a new study reports those rates for the first time. To conduct the research, neuropathologist Kevin Bieniek, then at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues sorted through nearly 3000 brains donated to the clinic's tissue registry between 2005 and 2016. Then, by scanning obituaries and old yearbooks, the researchers narrowed the group to 300 athletes who played contact sports and 450 nonathletes. The scientists removed all infants under age 1, brain samples with insufficient tissue, and brain donors without biographical data attached to their samples. Finally, they collected medical records and looked under a microscope at tissue from up to three sections of each brain for signs of CTE. Those signs include lesions and buildup of tau, a protein associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Six percent of the brains showed some or all signs of CTE, Bieniek and his colleagues report in Brain Pathology. Not all the people experienced symptoms associated with CTE, at least according to their medical records. Those symptoms include anxiety, depression, and drug use. However, people with CTE were about 31% more likely to develop dementia and 27% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those without CTE. © 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26388 - Posted: 07.04.2019

By Benedict Carey More than 3 million Americans live with disabling brain injuries. The vast majority of these individuals are lost to the medical system soon after their initial treatment, to be cared for by family or to fend for themselves, managing fatigue, attention and concentration problems with little hope of improvement. On Saturday, a team of scientists reported a glimmer of hope. Using an implant that stimulates activity in key areas of the brain, they restored near-normal levels of brain function to a middle-aged woman who was severely injured in a car accident 18 years ago. Experts said the woman was a test case, and that it was far from clear whether the procedure would prompt improvements for others like her. That group includes an estimated 3 million to 5 million people, many of them veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with disabilities related to traumatic brain injuries. “This is a pilot study,” said Dr. Steven R. Flanagan, the chairman of the department of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Langone Health, who was not part of the research team. “And we certainly cannot generalize from it. But I think it’s a very promising start, and there is certainly more to come in this work.” The woman, now in her early 40s, was a student when the accident occurred. She soon recovered sufficiently to live independently. But she suffered from persistent fatigue and could not read or concentrate for long, leaving her unable to hold a competitive job, socialize much, or resume her studies. “Her life has changed,” said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, a professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine and a member of the study team. “She is much less fatigued, and she’s now reading novels. The next patient might not do as well. But we want keep going to see what happens.” © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 26142 - Posted: 04.15.2019