Saliva Test May Detect Biomarker for Prolonged Concussion

Ricki Lewis, PhD

November 21, 2017

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) may serve as biomarkers of concussion with prolonged symptoms, according to results of a prospective cohort study published online November 20 in JAMA Pediatrics.

More than 80% of concussions follow mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs). For one-third of children, symptoms of concussion persist beyond 2 weeks. A tool to predict children at elevated risk for prolonged concussion symptoms (PCS), other than questionnaires to identify clinical risk scores, would be valuable in referring appropriate patients to specialists.

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/888983?nlid=119206_4503&src=wnl_dne_171122_mscpedit&uac=178388PR&impID=1490067&faf=1

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Brain Imaging Identifies CTE in a Living Person

New research appears to confirm that positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using the [F-18] FDDNP tracer can identify the distinctive brain tau pathology of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a living person.

The neuropathological findings during a brain autopsy of a retired National Football League (NFL) player confirmed the “fingerprint” signature of CTE uncovered by a previous in vivo [F-18] FDDNP-PET scan

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/888817

Concussions in Teenagers Tied to Multiple Sclerosis Risk

From the New York Times:

Here’s yet another reason to protect young athletes from head trauma: A large-scale new study found that concussions in adolescents can increase the risk of later developing multiple sclerosis. The risk of multiple sclerosis, or M.S., an autoimmune nervous system disorder with an unknown cause, was especially high if there were more than one head injury.

The overall chances that a young athlete who has had one or more head injuries will develop multiple sclerosis still remain low, the study’s authors point out. But the risk is significantly higher than if a young person never experiences a serious blow to the head.
The drumbeat of worrying news about concussions and their consequences has been rising in recent years, as most of us know, especially if we have children who play contact sports. Much of this concern has centered on possible links between repeated concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a serious, degenerative brain disease that affects the ability to think.
But there have been hints that head trauma might also be linked to the development of other conditions, including multiple sclerosis. Past studies with animals have shown that trauma to the central nervous system, including the brain, may jump-start the kind of autoimmune reactions that underlie multiple sclerosis. (In the disease, the body’s immune system begins to attack the fatty sheaths that enwrap and protect nerve fibers, leaving them vulnerable to damage and scarring.)
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/well/move/concussions-in-teenagers-tied-to-multiple-sclerosis-risk.html?#_=_

CTE in American Football Players more than Expected

Researchers at Boston University (MA, USA), reported a high prevalence of CTE in American football players.

Post-mortem exams were performed on 202 brain samples, including ex-NFL players, finding CTE pathology in 177 of the 202 samples and more severe pathology was linked with longer playing careers.

https://www.neuro-central.com/2017/07/25/high-prevalence-cte-observed-deceased-american-football-players/

First Claims Are Approved in N.F.L. Concussion Settlement

JUNE 16, 2017
The first two claims in the N.F.L.’s billion-dollar concussion settlement were announced Thursday, a total of $9 million in benefits.
The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which is overseeing the process, was notified Thursday that the claims were approved. The names of the former players were not disclosed as part of the filings.
The payouts were for $5 million for a qualifying diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and $4 million for a qualifying diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Those amounts mean that each individual played a minimum of five N.F.L. seasons and received a diagnosis before his 45th birthday.
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/sports/football/nfl-concussion-settlement.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170616&nlid=72841338&tntemail0=y&_r=0&referer=

The Earliest Signs of Brain Damage in Athletes? Listen for Them

Researchers tracked the words that a group of players, coaches and executives spoke spontaneously in 10,000 interviews and news conferences from 2007 to 2015.
BRENDAN MCDERMID / REUTERS

By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D.

MAY 29, 2017

Evidence continues to mount that professional athletes in a number of contact sports are suffering brain damage as a result of head impacts. But there is no reliable test to detect the injury, called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, in its earliest stages.
Even if a doctor strongly suspects that an athlete’s confusion or memory loss is related to C.T.E., proof can only be obtained on autopsy.
Now a small study of National Football League players suggests another possibility: that the signs of C.T.E. may be found with a low-cost, noninvasive test that tracks changes in conversational language years before symptoms appear.
If it works, the linguistic test also would be valuable in assessing the effectiveness of treatments to prevent cognitive damage because of C.T.E. or to slow its progression.

Read the whole article:

Women sustain more Sports related concussions than men

According to  new research, investigators at Columbia University found that women were 50% more likely to sustain sports-related concussions than their male counterparts  when competing in sports such as soccer and basketball.

“It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussion than men. The findings from this study highlight the need for more research on the gender differences in concussion,” according to study investigator James Noble, MD, MS, a neurologist at The Neurological Institute of New York Taubs Institute, New York City.

 

Fortunately, investigators found no significant difference between  men and women in postconcussion neuropsychological test performance, suggesting that recovery time for  is very  similar to men.  The average return-to-play time was 10 days for both men and women.