A new study has found that concussions can have long-term effects on the structure of the brain. Even after clinical symptoms dissipate, structural changes can still be found according to the study out of the Medical College of Wisconsin. This study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Concussion Conference earlier this month. While the structural effects on the brain after suffering a concussion were known previously, this study’s focus is on giving a clearer time frame for the duration of those effects. Researchers found that six months after the initial injury, an individual’s’ white matter still shows signs of microstructural brain damage.
Seventeen football players, both from high school and college, were studied after suffering an impact to the head. An additional eighteen athletes who did not suffer from a brain injury were also studied for comparison. All of the athletes were tested for clinical symptoms of concussions. In addition, researchers examined the athletes’ brains with advanced neuroimaging techniques–– magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and diffusion kurtosis tensor imaging (DKTI). The athletes were scanned at certain points after the initial injury: twenty-four hours, eight days, and six months.
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