Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rochester Researchers Delve Into Concussions; Better Tests Needed For Fuller View Of Head Injuries, Study Says

Date:
March 1, 2006
Source:
University of Rochester Medical Center
Summary:
Concussion patients with a normal head CT scan may believe they are free of brain injury, but CT scans often miss damage at the molecular level, warns a new study. In fact, when doctors examine the nerve cells of concussion patients the pattern of brain injury is identical for mild and severe concussions, said lead author Jeffrey J. Bazarian, MD, a brain injury expert.

Concussion patients with a normal head CT scan may believe they are free of brain injury, but CT scans often miss damage at the molecular level, warns a University of Rochester Medical Center study.

In fact, when doctors examine the nerve cells of concussion patients the pattern of brain injury is identical for mild and severe concussions, said lead author Jeffrey J. Bazarian, M.D., a brain injury expert and an attending physician in the Emergency Department at Strong Memorial Hospital, of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

In an article in the February Academic Emergency Medicine journal, Bazarian and colleagues said that a more accurate and rapid diagnostic test for concussion could lead to better treatment in the short term and might also prevent long-term neurological problems.

"Unfortunately, the widespread use of the CT scan as the primary tool for diagnosing head injuries has biased the way we think about concussions," Bazarian said. "For many people, a more significant axonal injury has occurred, and this underlies the problems they have with motor skills and memory, and may also be a risk factor for later development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases."

More than 1.2 million Americans seek emergency room care annually for mild head injuries. Doctors routinely use a Computed Tomography (CT) scan of the head to rule out bleeding on the brain or other symptoms of a brain injury. Many patients with a normal CT test go home. But an estimated 320,000 individuals, or one-quarter of those patients, continue to suffer from symptoms such as forgetfulness, headaches and other cognitive defects that persist beyond one year.

Bazarian and colleagues reviewed the medical literature to look for ways to improve the care of brain-injured patients. Their findings show:

n Although the CT scan is used most often in the United States to diagnose head injuries, other tests such as the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Functional MRI, Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scans or Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans are more precise tools.

n Testing a patient's verbal skills, memory and coordination after a head injury is useful. The literature shows that athletes with head injuries consistently perform worse on tests for memory, listening skills, and reaction time, even when the concussion was mild and the CT scan was normal.

n After a blow to the head, doctors can sometimes diagnose a brain injury by detecting brain-specific proteins in the blood. Yet currently available brain biomarkers are poor predictors of patient outcome after concussion. Better blood tests are needed for use on athletic fields, in clinics, or at the scene of a mass casualty incident, the authors said.

"Among coalition forces in Iraq, where brain injury has been called the signature wound of the war, undiagnosed brain injury in combat leaders may expose them and their troops to increased risk on the battlefield," Bazarian added. "This has given the development of an accurate and portable means of diagnosing brain injury a new sense of urgency."

###

Co-authors on the study were Brian Blyth, M.D., and Lynn Cimpello, M.D., both Emergency Department physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center, The National Institutes of Health and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine funded the research.

(Note: Concussion is defined as loss of consciousness of less than 30 minutes, or as amnesia lasting less than 24 hours, or any period of altered mental status at the time of injury. Most concussions are the result of either a direct blow to the head, or rapid deceleration from a motor vehicle collision or fall.)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Rochester Medical Center. "Rochester Researchers Delve Into Concussions; Better Tests Needed For Fuller View Of Head Injuries, Study Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060301095342.htm>.
University of Rochester Medical Center. (2006, March 1). Rochester Researchers Delve Into Concussions; Better Tests Needed For Fuller View Of Head Injuries, Study Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060301095342.htm
University of Rochester Medical Center. "Rochester Researchers Delve Into Concussions; Better Tests Needed For Fuller View Of Head Injuries, Study Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060301095342.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins