Tag Archives: test

NFL Commissioner Leaves the Door Open for Concussion Relief

Maybe it was watching all the attention given to players, who suffered concussions and ambled to the sideline in nationally televised football games this winter.

No matter, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in starting to open his mind to a revised policy on the players’ use of Marijuana, at least for medical purposes.pot

This is a big deal as it relates to concussions, since there is a growing body of medical evidence that points to certain ingredients in Marijuana that may help prevent concussions as well as aide in the treatment of them. https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/2013/09/13/study-points-to-marijuanas-potential-benefit-post-concussion/

Goodell was asked on an ESPN radio show recently if there would ever be a time where players would be permitted to use medical marijuana in states where it’s legal?

This has been a non-starter for the league in the past. But this time, Goodell hedged his stance:  “I don’t know what’s going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine.”

This leads us to two thoughts — its about time for the NFL and are you listening NCAA?



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Blood Test Accurately Diagnoses Concussion and Predicts Long Term Cognitive Disability

A new blood biomarker correctly predicted which concussion victims went on to have white matter tract structural damage and persistent cognitive dysfunction following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine, found that the blood levels of a protein called calpain-cleaved αII-spectrin N-terminal fragment (SNTF) were twice as high in a subset of patients following a traumatic injury. If validated in larger studies, this blood test could identify concussion patients at increased risk for persistent cognitive dysfunction or further brain damage and disability if returning to sports or military activities.

More than 1.5 million children and adults suffer concussions each year in the United States, and hundreds of thousands of military personal endure these mild traumatic brain injuries worldwide. Current tests are not capable of determining the extent of the injury or whether the injured person will be among the 15-30 percent who experience significant, persistent cognitive deficits, such as processing speed, working memory and the ability to switch or balance multiple thoughts.

“New tests that are fast, simple, and reliable are badly needed to predict who may experience long-term effects from concussions, and as new treatments are developed in the future, to identify who should be eligible for clinical trials or early interventions,” said lead author Robert Siman, PhD, research professor of Neurosurgery at Penn. “Measuring the blood levels of SNTF on the day of a brain injury may help to identify the subset of concussed patients who are at risk of persistent disability.”

In a study published yesterday in Frontiers in Neurology, Penn and Baylor researchers evaluated blood samples and diffusion tensor images from a subgroup of 38 participants in a larger study of mTBI with ages ranging from 15 to 25 years old. 17 had sustained a head injury caused by blunt trauma, acceleration or deceleration forces, 13 had an orthopaedic injury, and 8 were healthy, uninjured, demographically matched controls.

In taking neuropsychological and cognitive tests over the course of three months, results within the mTBI group varied considerably, with some patients performing as well as the healthy controls throughout, while others showed impairment initially that resolved by three months, and a third group with cognitive dysfunction persisting through three months. The nine patients who had abnormally high levels of SNTF (7 mTBI and 2 orthopaedic patients) also had significant white matter damage apparent in radiological imaging.

“The blood test identified SNTF in some of the orthopaedic injury patients as well, suggesting that these injuries could also lead to abnormalities in the brain, such as a concussion, that may have been overlooked with existing tests,” said Douglas Smith, MD, director of the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of Neurosurgery. “SNTF as a marker is consistent with our earlier research showing that calcium is dumped into neurons following a traumatic brain injury, as SNTF is a marker for neurodegeneration driven by calcium overload.”

The blood test given on the day of the mild traumatic brain injury showed 100 percent sensitivity to predict concussions leading to persisting cognitive problems, and 75 percent specificity to correctly rule out those without functionally harmful concussions. If validated in larger studies, a blood test measuring levels of SNTF could be helpful in diagnosing and predicting risk of long term consequences of concussion. The Penn and Baylor researchers hope to determine the robustness of these findings with a second larger study, and determine the best time after concussion to measure SNTF in the blood in order to predict persistent brain dysfunction. The team also wants to evaluate their blood test for identifying when repetitive concussions begin to cause brain damage and persistent disability.

The team includes, from Penn: Robert Siman, Nicholas Giovannone and Douglas Smith; and from Baylor College of Medicine: Gerri Hanten, Elisabeth Wilde, Steven McCauley, Jill Hunter, Xiaoqi Li and Harvey Levin. Funding was provided by the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (P01 NS056202).

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Athletic Trainers Face Tension with Coaches over Concussion Issue

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported today on the growing tension athletic trainers and coaches over the concussion issue.

“Nearly half of the major-college football trainers who responded to a recent Chronicle survey say they have felt pressure from football coaches to return concussed players to action before they were medically ready,” according to the article. “The respondents included 101 head athletic trainers, head football trainers, and other sports-medicine professionals from the highest rung of college football, the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision.”

The article went on to quote Kevin M. Guskiewicz, a leading concussion researcher from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who said some of the tension has emerged when institution places “a coach in a supervisory role over the athletic trainer or allows a coach to put pressure on medical decisions.”

The article went on to look at how some athletic trainers have had arguments with coaches and found themselves out of a job, days or weeks later.

To read the article, visit http://chronicle.com/article/Trainers-Butt-Heads-With/141333/


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