More from my newest article for Karate Magazine

What is a concussion? Not too long ago, you were considered to have a concussion only if you lost consciousness from a head injury. In fact, not only do you not have to lose consciousness (research suggests only 10% of people do), but you don’t even have to hit your head. Many of the concussions in military personnel have occurred from the force of an explosion, not from a direct blow to the head. We also know that many concussions happen during whiplash injuries, like a car accident or in an infant that is violently shaken.
Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury and are often referred to as mTBI. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are upwards of 50-60 million head injuries per year worldwide. Concussions or mild TBI’s (mTBI’s) make up 75-80% of head injuries. Concussions cause a variety of physical, mental, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, which may not be recognized if subtle. People who have had one concussion are more prone to another, often with less severe trauma. This is especially true if the new injury occurs before the previous concussion has resolved. Multiple concussions may increase the risk for dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and/or depression later in life, and are associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE (currently CTE can only be diagnosed after death by autopsy). CTE has been the big news for a few years in the NFL. CTE is basically serious brain damage and explains the massive mental problems many athletes have after years of head traumas in their chosen careers
Head injuries have a primary and secondary component. The primary component is the immediate damage the brain sustains from the trauma. This includes bruising of the brain and some possible bleeding, shearing and tearing of nerves, other brain cells and blood vessels. A substantial amount of nerve cell death begins within hours of the primary injury. The secondary injury component starts within minutes of the trauma and may go on for years. This secondary component involves chemical reactions and abnormal brain cell functioning and this is where the nutritional approach works.

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