It is widely known in the medical community that some damage from traumatic brain injury can last for years, with symptoms for just as long, but a Canadian researcher is now saying that damage can last for decades.
Dr. Maryse Lassonde, neuropsychologist and scientific director of the Quebec Nature and Technologies Granting Agency, has been treating and studying TBI for over 15 years. At a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, she told the crowd, “Even when you are symptom-free, your brain might still not be back to normal.”
Lassonde’s tests involved having athletes perform visual and auditory tasks combined with mapping their brain with electroencephalography, the recording of electrical activity in brains. She also tested brain chemistry.
In her tests, Lassonde found that brain waves remain abnormal for young athletes for up to two years after TBI, and atrophy had occured within the motor pathways of the brain after the injury, according to UPI.com.
Lassonde also tested older athletes who had not suffered a concussion in over 30 years, and compared them to peers with no concussion history. Those with TBI in their past were found to have memory and attention deficits, and motor problems mimicking the early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Lassonde found the older athletes also had a thinning of the cortex in the same areas you would expect to find them in Alzheimer’s patients.
Lassonde’s findings have been published in the journals Brain and Cerebral Cortex.