A new imaging study claims to have found another potential new biomarker for predicting outcomes of individuals after brain injuries. According to the findings published in JAMA Neurology, cerebral blood flow recovery in the brain may be a useful sign indicating the likelihood for positive outcomes.
Animal studies have shown reduced cerebral blood flow (CBF) can act as a marker of concussion severity, which lead researchers led by Timothy B. Meier of the Mind Research Network/Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute, Albuquerque, N.M., to compare the course of CBF recovery in a group of 44 college football players.
The study occurred between March 2012 and December 2013.
Of the participating football players, 17 were diagnosed with a concussion during the course of the study. This left the other 27 players to act as healthy control participants. The players who experienced concussions underwent imaging one day after injury, and then again one week and one month post-concussion.
The findings showed that both cognitive (simple reaction time) and neuropsychiatric symptoms reported at one day following a concussion were resolved by either one week or one month post-injury. The imaging tests indicated CBF recovery in part of the brain which correlated with symptom recovery. Particularly, decreased recovery of CBF in the dorsal midinsular cortex of the brain was linked to slow recovery and increased initial psychiatric symptoms.
“To our knowledge, this study provides the first prospective evidence of reduced CBF and subsequent recovery following concussion in a homogenous sample of collegiate football athletes and also demonstrates the potential of quantified CBF as an objective biomarker for concussion,” the study concludes.