When It’s More Than Just A Headache – Concussions

Concussions are a form of mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when a force impacts the head. What happens to the brain when this impact hits is it, quite literally, shakes back and forth inside the skull. This mostly affects the midbrain and diencephalon and causes a cascade of different neurological processes to occur such as hypermetabolism of glucose and disproportionate influxes of ions into neurons. Much of the healing process for concussions centers around getting these disruptions into Despite often being associated with contact sports (especially football), concussions do frequently occur in deployed military personnel and in workforce accidents.

Despite the fact that concussions are a fairly common occurrence, there are currently no known biomarkers that can definitively diagnose when a concussion occurs. CT and MRI scans can be used to detect concussions, but oftentimes are sidestepped for being a costly and time-consuming procedure. In other words, concussions are normally diagnosed purely based on what a person is feeling rather than medical data. Dizziness, nausea, headache, or even blackouts are common symptoms of concussions. But these symptoms can easily be attributed to other things or be minimalized by the concussed person. This is especially concerning for sports as frequent concussions have been linked to a variety of more serious neurological ailments such as Amygloid Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), chronic traumatic encephalopoly (CTE), and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/symptoms-causes/dxc-20273155
  2. https://www.impacttest.com/products/?The-ImPACT-Test-2
  3. The Current Status of Research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. World Neurosurgery.
  4. http://www.alz.org/dementia/traumatic-brain-injury-head-trauma-symptoms.asp