Brain takes longer to return after concussion

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Turquiose Brain
A report of athletes who sustained a concussion showed a significant drop in cerebral blood flow more than a week after their injury while athletes who didn’t have a concussion showed no changes in a comparison of MRI results as reported by Mike McCrea, PhD and his colleagues at the Radiological Society of North America meeting. McCrea went on to report that physiological recovery extends beyond the point of clinical recovery and pertains more to readiness to return to activity where they may be exposed to additional head impacts. The study that McCrea reported on at the meeting used Arterial Spin Labeling MRI to evaluate cerebral blood flow immediately after the injury and at eight days post injury. Clinical assessments were made using the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT3) and the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC). The individuals with a concussion showed significant declines in cerebral blood flow at the 8-day MRI assessment. The declines were present even when SCAT3 and SAC scores had returned to normal.

This study highlights the issue between observed clinical recovery versus physiologic measures which may relate to the risk for additional injuries if a second impact occurs.  There is much more work to be done in understanding recovery from concussion and the difference between clinical and physiologic measures. McCrea’s study points researchers in the direction of physical recovery taking a longer time and highlights the need to be cautious about returning an athlete to play and the potential for further risk.

Click here to read the Medpage Today Meeting Coverage story: http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/RSNA/54934?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2015-12-01&eun=g42534d0r

Key Words: cerebral blood flow following concussion, second impact syndrome, SCAT3, SAC, Michael McCrea, concussion, concussion management

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