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Single concussion can cause lasting damage to the brain, study finds

By FoxNews HERWriter
 
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Written By Loren Grush for Fox News

A single concussion, one of the most common forms of traumatic brain injury in the United States, may have a lasting impact on the brain, resulting in long-term structural damage.

A study from the New York University Langone School of Medicine found that patients who had suffered from a concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), had significant damage in certain portions of their brains a year after their injury.

“We’ve known that in moderate and severe degrees of brain injury, you can have a long-standing structural effect on the brain,” lead author Dr. Yvonne Lui, neuroradiology section chief and assistant professor of radiology at NYU, told FoxNews.com. “But in concussion, we just don’t see much…. We wanted to know: Is there something happening to the brain, or is there nothing happening? Of course, something is happening because some people get knocked out, and some people have ongoing symptoms.”

Every year, 1.7 million individuals have a traumatic brain injury; 75 percent of which are MTBIs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) defines an MTBI as a traumatically induced physiological disruption of brain functions, manifested by at least a period of loss of consciousness, any loss of memory, an alteration of mental state or focal neurological deficits.

Lasting impact

Most often, concussion occur when the head is severely struck or experiences severe whiplash. Many patients experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, memory problems, and even depression or anxiety. Sometimes, these side effects last for months – and sometimes years.

In order to determine the lasting impact of an MTBI, Lui and her colleagues examined 28 MTBI patients with post-traumatic symptoms, 19 of whom they followed for a full year. A matched control group of 22 individuals were also examined, 12 of whom were followed for a year.

Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Lui was able to map the patients’ brains one to two months after injury, and then a full year after injury.

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