Tag Archives: brain

Athletes May Have White Matter Brain Changes Six Months After a Concussion

New research finds white matter changes in the brains of athletes six months after a concussion. The study will be presented at the Sports Concussion Conference in Chicago, July 8-10, hosted by the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s leading authority on the diagnosis and management of sports-related concussion. The conference brings together leading experts in the field to present and discuss the latest scientific advances in diagnosing and treating sports-related concussion.

The study involved 17 high school and college football players who experienced a sports-related concussion. The participants underwent MRI brain scans and were assessed for concussion symptoms, balance problems, and cognitive impairment, or memory and thinking problems, at 24 hours, eight days and six months following the concussion. Researchers also assessed 18 carefully matched athletes who had not experienced a concussion.

At all time points, all participants had advanced brain scans called diffusion tensor imaging and diffusion kurtosis tensor imaging to look for acute and chronic changes to the brain’s white matter. The scans are based on the movement of water molecules in brain tissue and measure microstructural changes in white matter, which connects different brain regions. Those who had concussions had less water movement, or diffusion, in the acute stages following concussion (24 hours, six days) compared to those who did not have concussions. These microstructural changes still persisted six months after the injury. Also, those who had more severe symptoms at the time of the concussion were more likely to have alterations in the brain’s white matter six months later.

Despite those findings, there was no difference between the group of athletes with and without concussion with regard to self-reported concussion symptoms, cognition, or balance at six months post-injury.

“In other words, athletes may still experience long-term brain changes even after they feel they have recovered from the injury. These findings have important implications for managing concussions and determining recovery in athletes who have experienced a sports-related concussion,” said study author Melissa Lancaster, PhD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “Additional research is needed to determine how these changes relate to long-term outcomes.”

The study was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and the NFL-GE Head Health Challenge I.

 

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Latest Issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter is Packed with Ten Articles

June 2016, Vol. 4, No. 12

Timely reporting on developments and legal strategies at the intersection of sports and concussions—articles that benefit practicing attorneys who may be pursuing a claim or defending a client.

Table of Contents

  • Family of High School Lacrosse Player Sues over Concussion
  • Federal Judge Denies NHL’s Motion to Dismiss in Concussion Case
  • Attorneys Debate California’s Worker Compensation Laws and the Role They Play with Concussions
  • Appeals Court Overturns Earlier Ruling, Holding School in Washington State May Be Liable in Concussion Case
  • Ex High School Football Player Sues School District, Alleging Failure to Follow Concussion Protocol
  • Attorney Shares Insights about How the Insurance Industry Is Dealing with the Concussion Crisis
  • Use of Ultrasound Technology to Monitor Sports Concussions Comes to Texas High Schools
  • Judge Favors WWE in Concussion, Citing ‘Inherent Risk’ in Sports as Factor
  • Riddell Files Patent Infringement Actions against Schutt Sports and Xenith, Could Impact Concussion-related Products
  • Bowling Green Reaches Settlement with Former Player Who Suffered Concussions
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Dietary Supplement May Prevent and Reverse Severe Damage to Aging Brain, Research Suggests

A dietary supplement containing a blend of thirty vitamins and minerals—all natural ingredients widely available in health food stores—has shown remarkable anti-aging properties that can prevent and even reverse massive brain cell loss, according to new research from McMaster University.

It’s a mixture scientists believe could someday slow the progress of catastrophic neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s.

“The findings are dramatic,” says Jennifer Lemon, research associate in the Department of Biology and a lead author of the study. “Our hope is that this supplement could offset some very serious illnesses and ultimately improve quality of life.”

The formula, which contains common ingredients such as vitamins B, C and D, folic acid, green tea extract, cod liver oil and other nutraceuticals, was first designed by scientists in McMaster’s Department of Biology in 2000.

A series of studies published over the last decade and a half have shown its benefits in mice, in both normal mice and those specifically bred for such research because they age rapidly, experiencing dramatic declines in cognitive and motor function in a matter of months.

The mice used in this study had widespread loss of more than half of their brain cells, severely impacting multiple regions of the brain by one year of age, the human equivalent of severe Alzheimer’s disease.

The mice were fed the supplement on small pieces of bagel each day over the course of several months. Over time, researchers found that it completely eliminated the severe brain cell loss and abolished cognitive decline.

“The research suggests that there is tremendous potential with this supplement to help people who are suffering from some catastrophic neurological diseases,” says Lemon, who conducted the work with co-author Vadim Aksenov, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at McMaster.

“We know this because mice experience the same basic cell mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration that humans do. All species, in fact. There is a commonality among us all.”

In addition to looking at the major markers of aging, they also discovered that the mice on the supplements experienced enhancement in vision and most remarkably in the sense of smell—the loss of which is often associated with neurological disease—improved balance and motor activity.

The next step in the research is to test the supplement on humans, likely within the next two years, and target those who are dealing with neurodegenerative diseases.

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