A new study performed by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin brought to light some previously overlooked facts regarding concussions. According to the scientists led by Dr. Yang Wang, concussions symptoms persist after initial hit.
- Concussions can also be caused by violent movements of the head or neck
- The most common cause for a concussion is usually a sports-related injury
- At least 25% of people with concussions do not go to the doctor
- In the United States, athletes suffer around 300,000 concussions every year
- Loss of consciousness occurs in less than 10% of cases
According to the study that consisted of 37 concussed athletes, the recommended period to wait before returning to practice was 15 days. This is the average amount of time it takes for the effects of the concussion to fully go away, be they physical or psychological.
Presented on Monday, the study led by Dr. Wang focused on 18 concussed athletes and 19 non-concussed ones. MRI scans were taken of the participants’ brains, within 24 hours of the injury, and 8 days after it happened. All vital signs and clinical assessments were also measured.
The concussed participants showed signs of recovery within 8 days of the initial injury; however they still presented neurophysiological issues. The neurons affected by the blow remained weakened, and a lot more susceptible to another concussion. This was already known, as people who have suffered from at least one concussion are much more likely to suffer from a second one.
The study is very important in determining the amount of time an athlete has to spend away from the field after a concussion-causing injury. Up until this point, doctors have been relying on the patients to tell them when they are feeling better, but with the new data, more accurate measurements will be possible in the near future.
Unfortunately, the study was merely observational, so the discoveries were not related to anything in particular, nor were they developed upon. However, the scientists behind it are planning to continue their research, and to hopefully find out more about the complex mechanism that is the concussion.
This is yet another in a long line of recent brain-related discoveries, as scientists all over the world are making progress in better understanding the mystery that is the human brain. One thing they all agree on, though, and that is how much there is still left to discover about the literal command center of the human body.
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