This is not new news, but it is good that it is being reported on. In a lecture I give there was a good study from 2009 highlighting this.
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
A single concussion experienced by a child or teenager may have lasting repercussions on mental health and intellectual and physical functioning throughout adulthood, and multiple head injuries increase the risks of later problems, according to one of the largest, most elaborate studies to date of the impacts of head trauma on the young.
AUTHORS: LAUREN PULLING
In a proof-of-concept study, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (NY, USA) have demonstrated the use of an experimental PET tracer in the diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the living brain. At present, diagnosis is only possible after death, but this new study could pave the way for the development of an effective diagnostic tool for living patients.
In the study, published in Translational Psychiatry, the research team investigated the use of an experimental PET imaging ligand, [18F]T807/AV1451, which they hoped would provide antemorten detection of tauopathies that are characteristic of CTE.
The team investigated the use of T807 in a 39-year old retired NFL player who had experienced 22 previous concussions and exhibited some of the behavioral characteristics of CTE, including emotional lability and irritability. Following administration of T807 and PET scanning, the player was demonstrated to exhibit the pathognomonic tau pathology of CTE.
“Our study participant’s scan is the first to reveal during life a pattern of tau imaging that outlines the wrinkles and folds of the living brain, just like the ‘pathognomonic pattern’ described by the NINDS panel as diagnostic of a brain with CTE,” commented Sam Gandy, Director of the Center for Cognitive Health and NFL Neurological Care Program at the Icahn School of Medicine and senior study author. “When fully validated, this new ligand has the potential to be used as a diagnostic biomarker and represents an exciting development in the detection and tracking of CTE.”
“This research is in its infancy,” added Dara Dickstein (Icahn School of Medicine), first author on the study. “Whether or not the pathology can be reversed or halted is something we have yet to determine and these new tauopathy PET scans may be able to help in this endeavor.”
Looking ahead, a research team led by Drs Gandy and Dickstein at Mount Sinai is now studying a further 24 patients. They aim to establish a clinical trial in early 2017 to investigate further the use of T807 in the diagnosis of CTE patients who may respond to an anti-tauopathy treatment currently being studied for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
“These findings demonstrate that we may now have the first biomarker for the detection of CTE through tau imaging,” concluded Howard Fillit, Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. “This may prove significant as an early diagnostic tool for those who suffer repeated traumatic brain injuries. It may also help us better understand the similarities in disease processes between CTE, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and determine whether repeated head injuries may lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s.”
From The New York Times:
Synchronized Swimmers Find Danger Lurking Below Surface: Concussions
Concussions, usually the concern of contact sports such as football and hockey, have become a worry in the pool, as synchronized swimmers perform more moves in tighter formations.
Craig S. Rubenstein DC. CCN DACBN
Contributing Editor: Official Karate Magazine
If the blood test discussed in the following article turns out to really work, and I feel the concept seems like it should, this would be great.
The next major question is; can it be used for tracking recovery or validating post concussion syndrome that may be months to decades old?
I will try to contact Dr. Papa to find out her thoughts on this.
Of course, preventing concussions is key and using preemptive nutritional protocols in high risk individuals to limit the damage of a head trauma needs to studied in large human trials (I hope to be involved in this in the near future) and used now since these nutrients are not dangerous to take.
Blood Test May Detect Concussion in Kids
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Steven Reinberg
TUESDAY, Nov. 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A simple blood test may one day be able to detect concussions in children, a new study suggests.
The test, which has already been used in adults, detected traumatic brain injuries in kids 94 percent of the time. More important, a negative result means a CT scan, and the radiation exposure it brings, may not be needed the researchers said.
“When a child comes in with a head injury, we have to decide whether they have a concussion,” said study author Dr. Linda Papa, an emergency medicine physician with Orlando Health in Florida.
“We also have to decide whether the child needs a CT scan,” Papa added. “CT scans are not harmless.”
A CT scan exposes the child’s brain to radiation that can cause damage, Papa explained. “The more we avoid CT scans, the better it is for the patient,” she said.
About 250,000 kids are treated each year for brain injuries such as concussions, according to Papa. A simple test that could take the guesswork out of diagnosing these kids could change the way concessions are identified, she said.
Papa developed the test, but has no financial interest in it. “For my patients, I think it’s going to make a huge difference. I didn’t do this for financial benefit, I did it because I wanted to have a blood test that we could use to help people,” she said.
The study, which was published in the November issue of the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, was funded in part by the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
The blood test measures levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). This protein is found in cells that surround neurons in the brain. When the brain is injured, GFAP is released into the bloodstream, making it easy to detect, Papa said.
To read the rest of the article:
Concussion (Trailer 1)
By COLUMBIA PICTURES
Neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu makes the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, and fights for the truth to be known. His emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful – and beloved – institutions in the world. Based on a true story.
The following report on some new research confirms a few things for me. The first is that previous research showing that younger athletes recover slower than older athletes is confirmed here.
Secondarily, and more important to this particular blog is that someone getting a concussion needs significant interventions to speed recovery and reduce the potential long term effects of brain injury.
The three best interventions that I am aware of to date are:
2-Functional Neurology (developed by Dr Carrick a chiropractic neurologist in Atlanta)
By:Laird Harrison (excerpt)
June 09, 2015
SAN DIEGO — Recovery from a concussion might take much longer than the previously established 7 to 14 days, a new study shows.
“More and more people are starting to realize that you need to take a comprehensive approach so that you don’t send a kid back who might be recovered on one measure but not another,” said Anthony Kontos, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh.
In fact, in the study conducted by Dr Kontos and his colleagues, athletes took 3 to 4 weeks to recover, and women took longer than men.
The established 7- to 14-day recovery period — reported in peer-reviewed journals and a consensus statement (Br J Sports Med. 2013;47:250-258) — was estimated from studies of male American football players that looked only at neurocognitive tests and symptoms, he explained.
To test the accuracy of this, Dr Kontos’s team followed 24 female and 42 male high-school and college athletes after a diagnosis of concussion in accordance with established medical guidelines. Mean age of the athletes was 16.5 years.
Dr Kontos presented the findings here at the American College of Sports Medicine 62nd Annual Meeting.
The athletes were tested every week for 4 weeks after the diagnosis. Measures of symptoms, verbal memory, visual memory, visual motor processing speed, reaction time, dizziness, and vestibular and oculomotor symptoms were self-reported.
The biggest improvements in self-reported symptoms occurred in the first 2 weeks, but they continued to improve up to 4 weeks.
Vestibular and oculomotor symptoms lasted 1 to 3 weeks, and verbal memory impairment continued up to 4 weeks.
The male athletes were 2.5 times more likely than the female athletes to have recovered by week 4, which was statistically significant (P < .006).
In addition, females reported more dizziness and more vestibular and oculomotor symptoms than males.
The study ran out of funding after 4 weeks, but some imaging studies have suggested abnormalities beyond that time period, said Dr Kontos.
On the basis of these findings, clinicians should use more than one measure to assess whether an athlete has recovered from a concussion, he said. “It’s not a homogenous injury. You need to do a thorough, comprehensive exam.”
After the presentation, some audience members pointed out that the results confirm their experiences as team physicians. “We’ve always known that 2 weeks was not reasonable,” said one.